For the record
Every fan who entered Angel Stadium on Tuesday night was handed a red wrestling mask with a white Angels logo across the front. By the first pitch, the stands looked like a holding area for wannabe contestants on a new reality show: "America's Next Top Luchador."
In the top of the fifth inning, nearly all of the 40,128 attendees put on their masks for 10 consecutive minutes to set the Guinness World Record for "the largest gathering of people wearing costume masks."
The stunt was appropriate enough, as Anaheim is just a few hours from Mexico, where Lucha Libre wrestling began. (Can't say the same for last year's promo, in which Snuggie-clad Angels fans set the mark for "the largest gathering of people wearing fleece blankets" ... on a 65-degree SoCal night.)
The somehow simultaneously awesome and idiotic stunts organized at Angel Stadium had me thinking about a few records that might be set in other ballparks across the country. (Warning: No team shall be spared, no stereotype ignored.)
Citizens Bank Park: Phillies fans get a bad rap, but they're perfect when you need a record set. They've got the highest average attendance in the league and a flair for battery-throwing and Santa-heckling, so setting the world record for "the largest gathering of fans hated by other fans" would be a cinch.
Busch Stadium: Seems as if any weekend day at Busch would qualify as "the largest gathering of people wearing jorts," so why not send a Guinness rep out there to make it official? The people of St. Louis should be recognized for their complete and utter disregard for the styles of the times.
Tropicana Field: A 2010 ESPN "Outside the Lines" investigation revealed that every one of Tropicana Field's 47 food and drink outlets had incurred a health violation at some point during the previous year. The Rays have struggled to get bodies into the seats, but they might actually be front-runners for the world record for "the highest combined attendance of humans and rodents at a baseball game." Hey, it's somethin'.
Dodger Stadium: They come late, they leave early. It's tough to keep those California guys and gals in their seats for long when the beach and the Sunset Strip are calling. Without any organizing or promoting, Dodger Stadium easily could set the season record for "the smallest number of people to witness a game start to finish."
Yankee Stadium: Yankees and Red Sox fans rarely work together, but they might be willing to put their differences aside in the name of a Guinness World Record. The new Yankee Stadium can hold more than 50,000 fans, so it's the perfect place to set the record for "the largest gathering of people with grating accents." Between the hometown New Yoykahs and the visiting Sawx fans, the previous record, set at a 1997 Twins-White Sox game, doesn't stand a chance.
Wrigley Field: No need for fan participation here, as the Cubs -- all on their own -- continue to set and reset the World Record for "the longest championship drought in professional sports history." If the fans do want to get involved, they would be wise to invite a Guinness official to the ballpark some October when the Cubs make the playoffs; the record for "the largest gathering of grown men crying" is sure to be set when they come up short again.