On Tuesday the Dodgers had ten year-old Casey Johnstone throw out the first pitch of the Dodgers-Giants game. Johnstone is notable for a viral YouTube video in which he told his fifth grade graduating class about how he’s a Dodgers fan even though the rest of them were Giants fans. OK so far.
The not OK part, according to Giants coach Tim Flannery, is that the Dodgers did not mention the fact, when they introduced him, that Johnstone donated all of the money he got from the video to the Bryan Stow family to help pay for his recovery. Flannery’s comments from his Facebook page:
Tonight the Dodgers did something that really pissed me off…yeah they beat us, they are better this time around, but this is about other stuff..they honored Casey Johnstone the kid who made a video and gave his $200 bucks to Bryan Stow…but the Dodgers never ever mentioned What the kid did with his money, or Bryan’s name. I once had a Dodger broadcaster tell me ” we wish he would just go away”…..ok…more shows for Bryan…another way to shine the light, and to the Dodgers how you handled this pregame first pitch tonight….you just got me started all over again……we won’t go away, till you do what is right here..had your chance tonight……failed in the humanity department….
Flannery has been out front in raising money for Stow, playing charity gigs with his band and stuff.
I agree that the Dodgers could have mentioned this, but I also understand how lawyers and corporate thinkers work: the Stow family has a pending lawsuit against the Dodgers for Stow’s injuries. Someone, somewhere probably made the calculation that the Dodgers can’t be seen at all talking about Stow lest it somehow be used by the plaintiffs. And in my experience, no matter how innocuous a comment is, an able lawyer can twist things to make it sound sinister and work against the defendant.
Not saying that the Dodgers did the right thing here. Not saying that the Stows’ lawyers would act underhanded or anything. Just saying that lawsuits suck and make people behave in ways that are somewhat less than naturally human. Which is to say that the hate should be directed at the game more than the players in this case.
On Friday the Atlanta Braves announced a new policy for outside food, prohibiting ticket holders from bringing in their own. This was a reversal of their old policy — and the policies of the majority of teams around the league — which allowe fans to bring in soft-sided coolers with their own food and beverages, at least as long as the beverages were sealed.
The Braves claimed that the policy change was “a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league,” but this was clearly untrue as no other teams are cracking down on outside food like this. If there are new security procedures, everyone else is able to accommodate them without an opportunistic crackdown on fans bringing in PB&J for their toddlers. It seemed more likely that this was a simple cash grab.
Today the Braves have reversed the policy somewhat:
While they’re looking for kudos here, this is likewise an admission that the “security” stuff was bull because, last I checked, security procedures aren’t subject to popular referendum and aren’t changed when people complain. What really happened here, it seems, is the Braves, for the first time in living memory, were called out by the public for their greed and realized that even they have some responsibility to not be jackasses about this sort of thing.
Still, a gallon bag policy is not the same as it was before. You could bring coolers into Turner Field and still can bring them into most parks around the league. But I guess this is better than nothing.
It’s just gossip now, but Politico is hearing that Donald Trump is in talks to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day. The Nats are not commenting. Neither are the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League, who no doubt feel slighted given that the president effectively is a local.
With the caveat that, on Opening Day, tickets are likely to be more expensive and thus you’re likely to have a lot more rich people and friends-of-the-owners in attendance, thereby ensuring a more conservative crowd, I’m struggling to imagine a situation in which Trump strolls on to a baseball field in a large American city and isn’t booed like crazy. He’s polling as low as 36% in some places. He’s not exactly Mr. Popular.
Oh well. I look forward to him three-bouncing one to Matt Wieters and then grabbing his phone and tweeting about how it was the best, most tremendous first pitch in baseball history. Or blaming Hillary Clinton for it in the event he admits that it was a bad pitch.