Friday, April 15, 2005

Lesson learned

A Boston Red Sox fan hit New York Yankee outfielder Gary Sheffield in the face as Sheffield chased down a ball against the right field fence Thursday night. The entire episode was captured by television cameras, and clearly shows the fan swinging at Sheffield. Sheffield, understandably angered by the action, briefly retaliated, but did not go into the stands after the fan. He continued to play ball and threw the ball back to the infield. The idiot fan was ejected from the game, but not arrested.

Sure, the rivalry between the two teams is a hot one. But if I remember correctly, the Red Sox beat the Yankees for the League Championship, and then won the World Series. So what’s the beef?

So, Boston fans now have been taught that if you’re willing to risk being thrown out of the ballpark, it’s okay to hit players of the opposing team.

The fan ought to have been arrested and charged with assault, and anything else that fits. He then should be banned not only from Fenway Park, but every MLB and NAPBL baseball park in the country.


Anonymous said...

About the Sheffield incident: I have seen the same film as you, from every available angle, many, many times. It is IN NO WAY clear the fan was trying to strike Gary Sheffield. It is possible. It is also possible, even likely, that he was simply trying to grab the ball...which would not be the first time a fan of the Red Sox or the Yankees tried to grab a ball when a player was near. If he meant to hit Sheffield, I'm not against the idea of banning the fan from baseball. But I don't know that, and neither do you. It's possible, only possible he meant to hit Sheffield...but if you make a rule like that, it seems to me you'd also have to make a rule that a fan can't grab for a ball if a player can possibly get a glove on it without being barred from baseball; a rule baseball has never had, though perhaps it should. I'm not a Sox fan; I'm not a Yankees fan; I'm not a Yankees hater, either. I have no dog in this hunt.

James Shott said...

Thanks for your comment.

I still think the fan swung at Sheffield. Honestly, I've never seen even the most incompetent person try to catch a fly ball the way that fan did, if that's what he tried to do. And the fact is, he hit Sheffield in the face.

At best, the fan interfered with the play, and in my book that's a serious offense. Fans are there to watch and scream, not to change the outcome of the game.

I think the best thing is for MLB to mandate that ballparks have barriers that prevent fans from interfering with players or balls in play.