Last night, in the eighth inning with the New York Yankees trailing the Tampa Rays 8-2, Yankees fans got a little upset.
Is “upset” the word I’m looking for?
Annoyed? Concerned? Bothered?
Here, watch. You tell me.
Before you get you all judge’y about this or a little gloat’y because, c’mon, it’s the Yankees …
Before you note (correctly) that Yankees fans were upset at their underperforming Yankees and yet are throwing their baseballs at the Tampa Rays which seems like misdirected anger …
And, on the same night that both teams are wearing their #42 jerseys honoring Jackie Robinson, which makes this even more unseemly …
Before you think, well, maybe the fans weren’t really throwing baseballs, maybe it was more like they were gently lobbing them. It was a chilly 45 degrees out, after all, so it is possible – I’m just saying “possible” – that tossing baseballs onto the field was more a way to warm up their hands than an indictment on a team headed south …
And, before you point out that the Tampa Rays responded by tossing the baseballs back to the fans who had thrown them on the field in the first place, making the Rays either perplexingly polite or just out of touch with New Yorkers …
Disastrous? Good lord, we’re just 13 games into a 162-game season. You people need to calm down.
Before you do all that …
Admit it. Sometimes you wish you had a baseball to throw.
On a field. At the wall.
At the computer that just ate the document you were working on that you should have saved an hour ago.
At the washing machine that destroyed your favorite shirt.
At the groundhog that is eating the best lettuce from your garden.
(Damn you, whistle pig!)
We all get angry and frustrated and annoyed and maybe we all have a bit of throw-a-baseball’ism in us.
(I once kicked a hole in a basement wall. I don’t have time here to get into specifics, but I was about 13 and pretty mad. But not as mad as my mom was when she discovered the hole decades later and blamed my dad. In my defense, I did ‘fess up, which is much easier to do when it’s been many years and you’re living a thousand miles away. In any event we all got a pretty good laugh out of it once my dad finished the patch-up job. But, let’s get back to the Yankees.)
Sure, we can say that the reaction of Yankees fans last night was a build-up of frustration at their 5-8 record, which is the worst in the American League at the moment – even worse (just barely) than the Baltimore Orioles.
Baltimore Orioles. Currently, Not Last.
And, maybe it also represents a build-up of even greater societal frustration at being stuck in this stupid pandemic that has trudged into its second stupid year and it seems that with every step forward out of this virus nightmare – vaccines for everybody! – we stumble two stupid steps back – Michigan, what is going on with you?
But, throwing stuff on a baseball field is nothing new. Pissed-off fans have been throwing stuff at baseball games for as long as there’s been baseball. Rocks. Glass bottles. Sandwiches. Fruit.
Why do you think baseball fans were once called “cranks”?
It was because their exuberance … and propensity to ill temper … reminded 19th-century reporters of the term “crank” that was used to describe the nut who assassinated President Garfield in 1881.
A group of people being described like a murderous crazy man tells you all you need to know.
So, what’s my point?
It’s a pretty simple rule.
Unless you’re being paid to throw a baseball at a game, or in some way have been authorized to throw a baseball at a game, you probably shouldn’t throw a baseball at a game.
(Or a bottle. Or fruit. Or, well, anything.)
Leave baseball throwing to the professionals.
(And, why are you bringing pockets full of baseballs to baseball games anyway? Isn’t that like bringing your own food to a restaurant?)
Let’s unpack this rule a little more.
Don’t throw stuff at other people. Period.
I’m going to give a pass to the Phillies Phanatic and his hot-dog launcher (although he did once nearly put a woman’s eye out with the thing).
But, can we all be in agreement that throwing stuff at a game is bad, unless you happen to be a professional ballplayer (or, as noted above, the Phillies Phanatic)?
Sure, at $201 million, the Yankees have the second-largest payroll in baseball.
Sure, the Yankees are predicted to not only make the playoffs, but, many experts also expect them to win the World Series this season. (That’s your $201 million at work, Yankees fans!)
So, expectations are high.
I mean, compare that to the Baltimore Orioles who, apparently, have a zero percent chance of making the playoffs.
In summation, can we just agree that Yankees fans should probably try to be a little bit more patient and understanding?
Oh, and stop throwing stuff.
P.S. In case you missed it, the Baltimore Orioles won last night. That was fun.