Last week the Red Sox made news by issuing a lifetime ban to a fan who used racial slurs at Fenway Park. The most common question I’ve heard about asking about that is how, exactly, does a baseball team enforce a lifetime ban?
Teams don’t check IDs at the gate. There are facial recognition systems and cameras in place at some sporting events around the world, but that technology is (a) in its infancy; and (b) primarily aimed at dealing with criminal and terrorist threats, not individual fan bans over relatively mundane matters like general jackwagonry. In light of that, is a lifetime ban more of a symbolic gesture than anything?
Alex Reimer of WEEI.com spoke to the club about that. There’s a bit more to it than merely hoping someone rats out the guy who got banned if he shows up, but not much more to it. They’ve flagged his credit card so he can’t purchase tickets directly from the Red Sox with that card, but he could use StubHub or have a friend buy him tickets, so it’s not exactly airtight.
Mostly it’s just the honor system and the threat of a trespassing beef if he’s caught in Fenway. The spokesman:
“We know this isn’t a perfect or infallible system. And we recognize that enforcing it will be a difficult thing to do. But if the person is willing to take a risk and come back to the ballpark, there are actions that can be taken if they’re caught.”
Not much else you can do, really. But then again, my view of this is that the idea here isn’t specifically about keeping this one fan out of Fenway Park. It’s about the organization signaling to fans what it considers to be inappropriate behavior at the ballpark and using this guy’s ban as an example. Even if it lacks the sharpest teeth, I suspect people will be a bit more careful about displaying their jackwagonry while taking in a Sox game.
Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.
Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.
Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.
Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.
It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.
While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.
The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”