About Last Night …

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.

The Pittsburgh Press, 1/15/1911

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.

It’s impolite.

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.

Zero-Point-Zero Percent.

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.

20 thoughts on “About Last Night …

  1. I’m anti-throwing stuff. Instead, I’ve just been throwing profanities in the general direction of my TV. And it’s not just about the beginning of this season … more that it looks like the sequel to a movie we’ve seen before. :-)

  2. Agree entirely. But as Momma Gump told Forrest, “Stupid is as stupid does.”
    BTW “Crank” derives from the German word “Krank” which translates “ill.” Thus “Krankenhaus” (litterally “illness house”) is German for “hospital.” So, “crank” works for the people throwing the balls onto the field. (bet you never thought you’d find the German word for hospital on your blog, did you?_

  3. Dave Parker once had 9-volt batteries thrown at him. Compared to what was thrown on the ice at UND Hockey games…
    Cubs hitting .166 and Yankee fans demanding perfection?! DIAL 1-800-WAAAAAHHHHH!

  4. Pingback: The week gone by — April 18 – A Silly Place

  5. I kept a baseball (a foul ball I got when Shane Mack rocketed one toward my seat down the third base line) at my desk for a couple of years. I’d toss it in the air toward the end of the day if I was waiting on automated tests or something. Thankfully, I never threw it at anyone…


    • A few years ago a lined foul hit Editor/Husband in the shoulder. He had just time enough to duck away, so it was more of a graze to the shoulder, rather than a direct hit to the noggin. I keep that ball at my desk. At a University of Virginia game a few years back, a player mom was sitting in front of us … and a foul ball hit her smack on the forearm, breaking her ulna. It was not her son’s foul, but another Virginia player who was at bat — he apparently felt awful about it and apologized to her son regularly for the rest of the season.

  6. Yankee fans have great expectations, that’s for sure. And perhaps rightly so.. Throwing stuff onto a playing field is just plain stupid. I wonder why one of the Yankee players didn’t just step out and shout for them to stop.

  7. My Twins are in a notable period of SUCK: pitching meltdowns (especially in the bargain basement bullpen), couldn’t knock in a runner on base to save their proverbial lives, and plenty of fielding miscues (except for the godlike Buxton). In addition, we’ve lost key players to the ‘Rona. Yankee fans need to dial it down about 20%.

  8. Oh, Lordie, Our local franchise, Whitecaps (Grand Rapids, MI) has a Tshirt cannon. I LOVE that thing!

    We don’t have a home game until May 11th but I’m holding out for “Superhero Night” on Friday May 14th. The “Squeeeeeeee” opportunities of all those little kids dressed as Spiderman or the Hulk is too good to pass up. Yes, this makes me a casual fan. I’m more about the Zen of the game, the green grass, the diamond, the dugout, the smells, the sounds, the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd is a happy place indeed.

    BTW..I found you first and encouraged my friend, Gary Shum, to follow you. We were talking about you last night, have you considered sending some of your posts to the New Yorker? Would you like us to contact them on your behalf? You love and know baseball unlike anyone we know and we know a lot of people.

    • Aww, thank you … even mentioning The New Yorker in the same comment as me has made me burst with happy. I think Roger Angell, now 100, can never be replaced. (He hasn’t written any baseball for The New Yorker this year, but he did write about the election last year … at age 100.) It’s a good reminder that age is just a number. (And, I always turn to Satchel Paige — my Yoga “guru” — who once asked, “How old would you be, if you didn’t know how old you are?”)

      That said, I have always, always wished I could turn a phrase like Dorothy Parker did in The New Yorker for so many years.

      I’m just happy that you and Gary and a handful of others swing by here and read what I write … and leave comments from time to time … and love baseball like I do. :)

      • Dorothy Parker….reverent pause…
        Yeah, but, we read a lot…Gary more than I…and we feel you could step up and fill a need because, well, 100 is a fleeting age.

        I could ask Gary his favorite post and mail them in to letters to editors. You know your stuff and have a nice midwestern turn of phrase.

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