It’s Time to Wave Farewell to this Nightly Absurdity

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Folks, it’s time to address a stain on society that has been the elephant in the room for far too long.

The Wally Wave needs to go.

What the %$#@ is this? One would assume it was a NESN innovation in search for another in-game sponsor, except no company wants to risk the embarrassment of attaching its name to this disaster. It’s like watching a baseball game at your favorite bar, only to have the place invaded by Chuck E. Cheese and friends – germs and all – accompanied by that ubiquitous “Happy” song.

In case you have been somehow fortunate to avoid this blight all season, the Wally Wave consists of esteemed Red Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster leading a half-assed dance party with fans atop the Monster seats during the early stages of Red Sox games. NESN presents the dance as a 30-second clip each night, played to a generic beat that sounds like it was stripped from a cheap video game and it might as well be the Wally Wave from 1972 for all we know, based on the bit’s nightly originality. Put the thing on a tortuous loop and the government will get whatever answers they’re looking for at Guantanamo.

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Meanwhile, Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy narrate the ordeal with all the awkwardness of Edward R. Murrow being told to recap what happened on last night’s “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta.” If there were subtitles to translate what they’re really thinking, the FCC would have to get involved.

I know, I know. Why does some random 30-second bit grate on you so much? Just ignore it and don’t let it ruin the enjoyment (Ha!) of watching the game. If only this wreck were the only “innovation” that NESN has chosen to inflict on viewers this season, from pop-up facts to player bios that the network seems to treat as avant-garde extensions to the game. “Don’t show them the line score going to commercial. Let them know that ‘Don’s View’ is coming up next!”

What are we watching here?

I get it, NESN needs to attract a broader audience than just the baseball fan, which frankly used to be enough, but alas. It now seems though that the network is content with playing to the lowest common denominator, assuming that its viewership is so dumb that it looks forward to idiotic bits like the Wally Wave. Or that we are all 6 years old.

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Not that this is anything new from NESN, which has slowly become the Caillou of regional sports networks, just that Red Sox fans have come to expect the nonsense that comes along with the pleasure (Ha!!) of watching nine. Even on their own, there’s nothing wrong with pop-up facts or giving Orsillo a camera to run rampant with across the American League. Just don’t endlessly try to convey how important these items are to the broadcast, because that makes them suck worse than they should. Though it felt at times as if there were too many voices on Tuesday night’s broadcast, with Steve Lyons also chiming in from the sidelines, I found the debate between Remy and Lyons about the pros and cons of sending Xander Bogaerts to Pawtucket pretty compelling. It was refreshing to have even the slightest bit of dissention injected into the game, aside from Remy not liking Orsillo’s boat shoes, which somehow led to talking about Lyons’ socks for some period of time. It’s that kind of season.

Clearly, there’s a shelf life for enjoying that sort of wrinkle. After all, the next Wally Wave is just around the corner.

The perceived intelligence of Red Sox fans has been slaughtered by both the franchise and NESN marketing itself to the common fan, who both must assume must know as much about baseball as I do a heart transplant procedure. The one I am most aware of has taken place over the past 10 years, when Red Sox fans went from a hardened bunch complaining about “alternative hats” to one that shrugs its shoulders and just sort of expects moronic moments like the Wally Wave to go hand-in-hand with being a fan of the team. “Wait ‘til next year” may be a cry of the past, but it’s perhaps been replaced by a mantra of apathy rather than hope: “Whatever.”

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There’s little we need to know about the Wally Wave other than whose idea it was and when he or she goes to trial for crimes against humanity. Let’s just call a mulligan, OK? End it, starting tonight, then let it go away with no mention whatsoever, ever again. Just like Craig Grebeck.

The stupidity needs to end now. It is representative of all peripheral nonsense that is only magnified when the team in question can muster as many hits as Johnny Hates Jazz.

By God, the Wally Wave must be stopped. This is important.

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