Editor's column

"Teenagers aren't the only human beings susceptible to peer pressure. Many of us at Safeco Field during one of the playoff games were shocked to find ourselves going, Woof . . . Woof . . . . Woof Woof, just because 48,000 other people were doing it.It happened to be a Mariners game, and the rampant woofing was instigated by team owners who had Woof! posters handed out to everyone who entered the stadium, as if fans couldn't be trusted to remember their lines. Did they think this was a presidential debate, where the participants needed extensive coaching before emitting a sound? I wondered how Al Gore would Woof! at a Mariners game. He'd probably claim he and Tipper invented woofing, and then they'd woof loudly in unison, in front of a vast TV audience. George W. Bush, on the other hand, would straighten the knot on his tie and emit a feeble woof, hoping it would make people think he's just one of the gang. Media woofmeisters would give the woofing edge to the Gores, who at least did it with enthusiasm.Having listened to baseball announcer Dave Niehaus all summer, I knew where the woofing originated. A band called the Baja Boys produced a song called Who Let the Dogs Out, which included the woofing refrain, and M's shortstop Alex Rodriguez took a liking to it. It became a locker room staple, and then background music for the broadcast whenever something good happened on the field. During the playoffs, woofing was virtually required. The M's were supporting A-Rod in every way possible because he's not signed for next year. Fans are just lucky he's not partial to Brittney Spears or we'd have to remove most of our clothing and sing off-key.At the baseball game the people who had arrived two hours early to drink beer began the woofing in the early innings. By the seventh inning stretch, 90 percent of the people were holding their woof posters in the air and woofing like dogs violating the county noise ordinance on a clear Whidbey Island night.Those of us more inhibited held out, but by the bottom on the ninth with a Mariner on third and pinch hitter Carlos Guillen at the plate, Safeco was a madhouse of woofing fans. Anyone not woofing risked being attacked by a pack of 48,000 mad pit bulls. So we all woofed, and the Mariners won.The Safeco experience was a good lesson in peer pressure. Next time one of the teenagers comes home woofing, I won't be so judgmental. "

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