The Fightins'

Posts Tagged ‘Fan behavior’

Jul
12
2010
Posted by Dash Treyhorn at 8:30 pm ET 102 Comments

If you watched any of the games against the Cincinnati Reds, then you were treated to some awfully fun baseball, starting with Kyle Kendrick’s masterful start, which was followed by the Phils’ best come-from-behind victory of the season, which was somehow topped by the Halladay-Wood (yes, you read that right) pitching duel, and finally, capped off by a brilliant start from Cole Hamels to complete the four-game sweep against the best offense in the National League.

But lost in all that was several instances of fans behaving badly, none of which included tazing, green lasers, or vomit. I’m as shocked as you all are.

The first instance occurred during Thursday night’s game, when Jayson Werth was potentially robbed of catching a foul ball in the right field stands, due to a Phillie fan snagging it out of the air before Werth could get leather on it. It’s possible that Werth would not have caught the ball, and to be fair to the fan, he didn’t reach over the rail, but given the situation of the game (tie game, two outs), his interference could have been disastrous, especially if that possible third out turned into a run and, even worse, a loss. Fortunately for the fan – no harm, no foul.

The second and third instances both occurred during Sunday’s game, one inning apart.

In the third inning, Carlos Ruiz hit a line drive to the right-center field gap, and as it was coming down, a fan reached over the rail and tried to grab the ball. It was ruled a ground-rule double.

The next inning, Jayson Werth belted one to deep center field, just to the left of the tiny fence in dead-center. Again, a fan reached over the rail and snagged the ball in mid-air (pictured), giving Werth a ground-rule double.

Although Ruiz’s hit would have ended up a double anyhow, the same cannot be said for Werth’s. Had the fan not interfered, the ball would have likely careened off the top of the wall, meaning it could have bounced towards right field, toward center, or it could have died on the ball and fallen harmlessly back to the fielder.

Given the angle of that wall, and how hard the ball was hit, it is not unrealistic to think that Werth could have ended up with a triple, or perhaps an inside-the-park home run. As it happened, he ended up on second base, and would not come round to score. Had he ended up with a triple, and eschewing the fallacy of the predetermined outcome, he would have scored on Raul Ibanez’s fly ball two batters later, making it a 2-0 game.

And while the Phils would go on to win, the lack of an extra run was irrelevant, that’s not the point. The point is that fan interference is a problem, however small, in baseball, and I feel I need to use what little clout I have to address it.

First, and this is for the gentlemen who reached over and snagged Werth’s hit – let’s get the obvious out of the way: You’re not allowed to bring a glove to a baseball game, not at your age. Unless you have that syndrome that Robin Williams had in “Jack,” then I can safely say that you are an adult who brought a glove to a baseball game. I don’t know when the cutoff for that sort of thing is, but suffice it to say, you passed it over a decade ago.

Second – and this goes for all fans – we’re in a playoff race, folks, and you need to respect that. I know that it’s a great story, and that rawhide orb would look swell on your mantle one day, but for the love of Kalas, don’t mess with balls that  are in play. You shouldn’t need me to tell you that; in fact, they remind you before the game. No excuses.

Third, everyone in the ballpark who sits in the first two or three rows has a responsibility to be completely aware of, not only their surroundings, but the situation so that they don’t interfere with possible game-altering plays.

Think of the first few rows at a stadium like those seats on an airplane that are located near the emergency exits. When you sit in those seats, you are given a responsibility. If something should go wrong, then you have to keep your wits about you and know how to act when the time comes. The same can be said for anyone sitting on or near the field at a baseball game, especially in their home park.

While a fan-interfered-with foul ball is unlikely to be a life-or-death situation, it can have consequences that can cost a team a game. Just ask Steve Bartman.

So please, if you are sitting in a part of the stadium where there is a possibility, however slight, that your going for a ball could have a consequence on the field, then please, just stay away.

October might depend on it.

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R.I.P Harry Kalas