Saturday, May 23, 2009

Everything You Didn't Want to Know About the Wave

The Wave. I find it annoying. SoSG Alex Cora finds it annoying. Hungarian scientists? Not so much. From a 2002 article at CNN.com:

Tamas Vicsek of the University of Hungary, along with colleagues, analyzed videos of 14 waves at large Mexican soccer stadiums. Using mathematical models initially developed to study the spread of forest fires and the propagation of electrical impulses in heart tissue, Vicsek's team claims to have scientifically figured out the dynamics of the wave.

Their analysis indicates that it takes only a few dozen fans leaping to their feet with their arms up to trigger a wave. Once started, it usually rolls in a clockwise direction at a rate of about 40 feet per second, or about 20 seats per second. They say at any given time, it is about 15 seats wide.

Still with us? Good. Here's the best part:

The wave is a global phenomenon. Some call it the Mexican Wave, or "La Ola," since soccer fans initially got into it during the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. Its exact origin is unclear, but it gained popularity in the United States in the early 1980s. The Oakland Athletics baseball team says the first appearance of the wave at a Major League Baseball game was in Oakland on October 15, 1981.

(Emphasis mine.) Is that good news or what? Even as Dodger Stadium continues to be associated with easily distracted fans who will break out into The Wave at the drop of a beach ball, the A's are on the record as claiming credit for its introduction into American baseball. So blame Oakland. It's their fault.

12 comments:

Mr. LA Sports Fan said...

Talk about dumb. John Mayberry Jr. hit his first career homer, and FOX kept cutting to an image of his father, fomer big-leaguer John Mayberry Sr. Only thing is it's not his father. It's just some guy wearing a Team Panama jersey.

fanerman said...

Haha Mr. LA Sports Fan. I think I saw the dude labeled as his father. Are you sure it's not?

Steve Sax said...

At least they didn't cut to a clip of the Andy Griffith Show.

So the A's start the wave, and the baseball gods deny them playoff wins. Seems fair to me.

fanerman said...

HAH. Now they show another picture of a dude with a caption "The Real John Mayberry." A Ken Rosenthal look-alike with a microphone is sitting next to him.

gabriel said...

Is that chick doing the wave, or is she asking for a hug? Or maybe she loves the Dodgers "this much."

Eric Karros said...

Good to see the University of Hungary using their grant money wisely.

Eric Karros said...

Despite lacking any scientific training, I will go ahead and assert that 14 waves does not a sufficient sample size make. Particularly all from the same country.

I wonder if there is a statistically significant difference in wave dynamics between different countries. Or different sports.

How 'bout it, University of Hungary?

Chappy said...

I'm wondering, if the wave is able to move at 40 feet per second, can it consistently beat the throw to 1st base?

Steve Sax said...

EK, you should have read the Univeristy of Hungary's recent paper on stadium beachball perpetuation strategies. Gripping stuff; a must-read for any usher.

Eric Karros said...

Sounds like UH's Stadium Spectators Sciences Program is starting to rival Hungary State's.

Please don't encourage me by replying to this comment.

rbnlaw said...

Figures. Stinkin' A's. Steroids, bad uniform colors, now the wave.

I blame Charlie Finley.

StolenMonkey86 said...

I could live with that if Ken Arneson and co. would somehow revive Catfish Stew.

Although at the Coldplay concert I went to a couple nights ago, Chris Martin got everyone to do the wave with their cell phones. That, combined with the big yellow balls they had for people to bounce around during "Yellow" made me feel like I had gone to Dodger Stadium.