The Florida Marlins apparently didn’t catch wind of the headaches the vuvuzela revolution is causing.
Despite all of the grief that the deafening vuvuzelas used by fans at the World Cup are getting these days, the Florida Marlins decided to hand out their own version of the annoying plastic horn prior to Saturday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Good marketing? Yes. Smart decision? Well, that’s debatable.
Not only did the simple yet menacing toys cause a lot of headaches, but they annoyed the players and may have even cost the Marlins the game.
With the game tied in the ninth inning, Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez and home plate umpire Lance Barksdale were involved in a mix-up that made it appear to Barksdale that the Marlins were batting out of order. A leadoff walk was thus erased and Gonzalez was subsequently ejected for arguing. The Marlins lost 9-8 in 11 innings.
Perhaps the deafening resonance of the horns is to blame for the confusion that transpired. After all, if the players, coaches and officials can barely hear themselves think, how are they supposed to hear each other on the field?
After the game, it was apparent that the vuvuzela promotion was far from a hit in the Marlins' clubhouse, where players were suffering the ill effects of the raucous noise.
"I had a headache in like the third inning. I couldn't hear anybody when I was sitting on the bench," outfielder Cody Ross told MLB.com. "I know the fans enjoyed it, because they were blowing them all the way until the 11th hour. But for the players, it was awful."
Even Rays manager Joe Maddon deemed the promotion a failure.
"They're annoying," Maddon told ESPN.com. "There's cool things and there's very non-cool things. That's a non-cool thing."
Vuvuzelas have made headlines at the World Cup as well, where players have already complained about the constant buzzing of the horns, insisting that it has become difficult to communicate on the field.
But where exactly do the vuvuzelas ranks on the "non-cool" scale?
Thunder sticks, air horns, cowbells and plastic clappers represent the quintessential annoying sports fan noise-making objects. The vuvuzela outbreak not only belongs on the horrific list, but it may even jump to the top.
The consistently loud, mind-numbing monotonous horns are not only as irritating as it gets, but they go a long way toward sucking all the joy out of what should be an otherwise pleasurable experience — whether it be watching a game live or on television.
The rest of the maddening noise-making objects also make you want to pull your hair out, but the vuvuzelas have proven to not only be annoying for spectators and fans, but they've also created communication breakdowns that can lead to mistakes on the field.
And because of that, vuvuzelas have the unique ability to not only annoy fans but affect quality of play.