Fans interfere with gameplay

When you go to a baseball game there are some events that are simply considered tradition: tailgating, the seventh inning stretch and getting hit in the head with a beach ball. It's this very environment that makes the game fun, gives truth to the term "the 12th man," and adds a whole new layer of controversy – as goes everything with sports.

An innocent fan would suspect that nothing could come from the crazies that storm the field: soccer matches from around the world treat catching a streaker like a halftime show, while baseball players have received their fair share of proposals in between pitches by fans running amuck.

However, while there's always something fun to take back from these spontaneous events, there are the few moments that call these interruptions into question, for the sake of preserving the game and the safety of the players on the field.

Just this year, in Game 3 of the MLB's American League Championship Series, viewers could recall a local fan storming the field in the direction of Alex Rodriguez; the man was eventually tackled by security in a matter of seconds before reaching the third baseman, a standard procedure.

However, what onlookers may not have known was that after being searched by the police, fanatic Grim LeRouge was found to have a series of photos. These included many disturbing images, including one that featured Rodriguez's head "x'd-out" with a gun pointing to it, and another that pictured Cameron Diaz with accompanying words that read, "We will be together soon."

Moments like these force fans to stop laughing and weigh in on what goes too far in their interaction with the sports world.

While some may dismiss these actions as those of a crazed minority, the fact of the matter remains that anyone is capable of crossing the line.

Look no further than the 2007 National League Championship Series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies, where a questionable double-play call by second base umpire Larry Vanover led to an uproar from the fans in Arizona.

The result was a barrage of water bottles and other objects upon the field that forced the Rockies to take shelter in the dugout for eight minutes until the hysteria subsided.

Brian Fuentes, the Rockies' relief pitcher at the time, stated, "I was shocked because I've never seen anything like that from these fans," commenting on the chaotic scene.

More evidence can be found back on Nov. 19, 2004, where amidst a fight breaking out on court an on looking spectator threw a Diet Coke on that set off the Pacer Ron Artest in a violent rage.

In a matter of seconds a full on brawl between player and fan ensued that resulted in multiple suspensions and criminal charges, while the game's current infrastructure was also brought into question.

In light of these concerns the NBA decided to step up the security presence on court to protect both parties from future altercations, as well as limit the sale of alcohol – altering the overall fan experience.

But while this may seem like progression to avoid future problems, the question remains if it is enough. Given the amount of things that can go wrong at any sporting event, it is impossible to count out the opportunities for stupidity.

Just this past summer the topic became more complicated during a game between the A's and Rangers, when a fan who leaned into the outfield to catch a ball actually caused the ball in question to be ruled as an out instead of a home run.

Automatically the question of a double standard is brought up, since compared to the two previous examples this was a much harsher ruling.

The uniquely harsh ruling serves as an example of the direction the game needs to take where the fans aren't as much of an innocent party anymore.

In order to preserve the purity of the game, such measures may be necessary, although adding rules to an otherwise enjoyable outing would deplete the overall fan experience.

With more strict provisions by leagues, it would force fans to second guess themselves and hopefully make them think twice about putting themselves and their teams at risk.

For the sake of the game something needs to be done. Otherwise, instead of having Spike Lee and Jack Nicholson courtside, the future of the game may dictate that they watch from behind an inch of glass.









Sportssnoadminfans, MLBComment