The Loggionisti and the Belfry Buffo



Any Italian opera devotee, which clearly you are if you’re here at the BBB, knows the loggionisti, sitting high in the galleries of Italian opera houses, will voice their displeasure by loudly booing any performance they deem unworthy. They are fanatical, listening to recorded operas three or four times before arriving at the opera house so as to more fully appreciate every note during the live performance. They are demanding of the performers and they spare no one. Both Luciano Pavarotti and Maria Callas have felt their wrath. Sometimes the loggionisti throw bouquets, not of roses, but of radishes and turnips.


Contrast that lofty group with the rattle-and-clang clan of partisan supporters perched within Tropicana Field’s upper-deck sections 300 and 302, also known as The Belfry:



Any visiting batsman who strikes out will be escorted back to the dugout by the chorus of the Belfry:  “Left, right, left, right, left, right … Sit down!”  The man’s sign reads “LEFT”, the woman’s sign reads “RIGHT”, and the boy’s sign reads “SIT DOWN”.  He is struggling to open it before the batter finishes walking back to the dugout.  Much like the loggionisti, Belfry denizens obviously care deeply about the event they attend, perhaps too deeply.  The video just above, taken by the official BBB videographer, is set in the ninth inning with the score 12 to 1 in favor of the Rays.  There is no dimmer on the Belfry’s passion switch.


Although the loggionisti vocalize their displeasure at performers who fail to meet their expectations of excellence, the inhabitants of the Belfry appear to shout for an altogether different reason. They seem motivated to shame or humiliate the men striking out. They are not cheering for their team as much as they are cheering against the opponent. The loggionisti protest failure, but the Belfry highlights it with glee.


You’re probably wondering, “Who are these people and why do they behave this way?”  The answer is clear, patrons.  These are the Defenders of Excellence we were promised.  These are the heroic heldentenors come to bath us in the salubrious blood of dragons.  Failure has a new foe and he wears durable cotton cargo khakis.

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