What We Have Here is Failure to Communicate

Minute Maid Park
Friday, May 18, 2018
__________
Complements of AT&T Sports Net

Well, it’s happened another glaring time. Unfortunately, it will undoubtedly happen again, given the fact that this ballpark fan behavior lesson remains safely hidden in one those brain sections that registers regret in most of the perpetrators, all right, but with no personal penalties to the offender that might alter future behavior for the good of the game.

Of course, we’re talking about fans reaching over the rails on balls hit down the lines and causing interference with a fair ball in a way that alters the outcome of the play. It happened in the bottom of the seventh Friday night withe Astros batting, runners on 1st and 2nd, their game with the Indians tied 1-1, and Tony Kemp batting from the left side.

Kemp crunched a double that was clearly fair down the right field line, but bounding into foul territory down the line as these kinds of hits so often do.

It was a clear double, with two runs apparently scoring that would have given the Astros a 3-1 lead, but for the reflexive stupidity of a single male fan down that right. A guy in an orange jersey leans almost vertically his own length over the wall with his own glove to try and snare the live ball hit. The ball hits the bottom of his glove and bounds away, creating a fan interference call that now hurts the Astros, the team his game costuming says he was there to support in the first place.

Since the first runner on second base advanced only the same two bases in distance that batter Kemp’s double created for himself, that run got to stand. The runner who scored from first base, however, was now no longer entitled to a three base improvement from first. He was forced to go back to third base, subtracting the second scored run, and reducing the Astros’ lead from 3-1 to 2-1.

Luckily, the penalized runner did score anyway before the inning was done, but that’s no justification for the fan’s stupid behavior. I don’t find it cute. Never have. And never will. Baseball doesn’t need dumber fans. Nor more obsessive ones. But we could use some more intelligent ones. And penalty rules that sting enough to teach people the rules they now disregard for the sake of grabbing a souvenir.

Minute Maid Park
Friday, May 18, 2018
__________
Compliments of AT&T Sports Net

I loved the look on the face of Friday night’s offender’s wife or girl friend. She’s obviously a much more knowledgeable baseball fan, at least, when it comes to the fan interference rules. AT&T Sports Net caught the closeup of the man, just as he’s been pulled back into the stands from his descent into game interference. His lady bears into him with that look of every wife who’s ever needed to pigeon-hole her husband while she lays out the particulars of her husband’s latest failure in their relationship.

At any rate, we bear the happy Astros couple no harm. In fact, we thank them for bringing this ancient issue to light. It has been needing a remedy for many years, especially since the MLB marketing people figured out that the availability of ballpark freebie souvenirs is also a feeder channel to the increase in expensive souvenir purchasing by the same fans.

So, what do we do?

Clubs need to have the guts to support the only rule that could make a difference: If a fan interferes with a ball in play, they shall be summarily ejected from the game and be asked to leave the premises immediately. Offenders who refuse to cooperate, shall be subject to police ejection and a municipal court misdemeanor fine for failing to cooperate.

If all else fails, perhaps, we can resurrect Strother Martin, the old chain gang warden from the movie “Cool Hand Luke”, to mediate issues at Minute Maid Park with contentious fan interference defendants who decide to appeal their ballpark expulsion orders.

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

 

 

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4 Responses to “What We Have Here is Failure to Communicate”

  1. Larry Dierker 49sfastball.com Says:

    I agree. The bum’s rush.

    Having the right to yell stupid things should be enough.

  2. Mike McCroskey Says:

    Later clips in the broadcast, did show the fan being removed from the park. So penalty was enforced.

    Radio show this morning said wife’s twitter account said her husband was distracted because he was feeding their 5 year old peanuts, and she was distracting, as this this was her first major league game.

    Who feeds his child peanuts with a glove on or has time to don a glove and reach for a foul ball in the couple of seconds it takes for a line drive to reach the outfield? Not buying the wife’s story. Kemp would have probably had a triple. And although Fischer scored, replays showed he need to take a good sliding i to home class. “Touch the plate as soon as you can!” Is the answer.

  3. gregclucas Says:

    They don’t always get removed from the park these days…just told they can no longer go back to their seat. As for the wife’s defense…it doesn’t hold water. Shelling peanuts is pretty hard to do wearing a baseball glove and a line drive down the line gets there pretty fast…better answer was she was berating her husband for throwing the child into the seat while he became more focused on the ball rushing their direction. But I suspect the original viewer reaction was correct. “You didn’t know that was a live ball???”

  4. Cliff Blau Says:

    One word: plexiglass.

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