Thom Loverro: Choppy waves divide Nationals fans in crowd battle

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Sports,MLB,Nationals,Thom Loverro

The waves are choppy these days at Nationals Park.

The most docile crowd in baseball is riled up about something as simple as standing up and sitting down in your seat at the game -- choreographed in unison with your neighbors, a seemingly fun and innocuous expression.

For some, you would think that "the wave" was a hate crime.

There are anti-wave T-shirts declaring, "Kill the wave." Several Nationals fans websites are recruiting others to join the anti-wave movement.

But some Nationals players have taken to Twitter to defend the wave.

"Nats fans, keep doing the wave, it's a beautiful thing! Keep the wave in Nats park!" Bryce Harper tweeted.

"Wave on, DC, wave on," Ian Desmond tweeted.

It's getting ugly, though. There is no more well-behaved crowd in baseball than Nationals fans. Fights are rare and you never see anyone jumping on the field. Yet in the last home stand, a fight between wavers and anti-wavers took place, according to the Washington Post, and a waver was ejected.

The issue is the wavers in Washington are amateurs -- so I went to a professional for answers, the father of the wave, "Krazy George," who is generally credited for creating the wave in Oakland on Oct. 15, 1981, during an ALCS game between the A's and Yankees.

Krazy George is not simply a fan who decided to stand up and sit down to create a social phenomenon. He is a "professional" cheerleader, having made a living at it for 40 years. He started doing it as a student at San Jose State in 1968, and after word spread about how he got the crowds involved, Krazy George got more calls for appearances until Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt hired him full-time as a crowd favorite. He left behind his job as a wood shop teacher. He has his own web site -- krazygeorge.com.

"I've been making a living ever since," said Krazy George, 68, who lives in Maryland now and limits his appearances to about 15 or 20 events a year, such as minor league baseball games.

He has heard about the wave controversy at Nationals Park and offers this advice. "You have to do it at the right time," he said. "I watch fans try to do it when the other team just scored four or five runs, you don't want to do it when your team is down. It has to be done at the right time.

"The wave doesn't work unless 95 percent of the people want to do it," he said. "If it doesn't start, you've done it at the wrong time."

Amateurs. I would say a wave seminar by Krazy George is in order at Nationals Park.

Examiner

columnist Thom Loverro is the co-host of "The Sports Fix" from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on ESPN980 and espn980.com. Contact him at tloverro@washingtonexaminer.com.

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