Gwen Knapp has a troubling story in the Chronicle today. A Giants fan named Billy Chamberlain who has been a fixture outside of the team’s clubhouse for five years has vanished.
Chamberlain — who was intermittently homeless but who had occasionally crashed with a stadium security guard — would talk to Giants players, Bruce Bochy and some of the writers who covered the team. The team would often take up modest collections for him so he could get south to where he reportedly had some family or friends.
He stopped showing up at the end of July and no one is sure of his whereabouts now. He’s been on government assistance for some time and took medication for behavioral and/or mental issues, but the exact nature of his disability isn’t known.
A photo of the man can be seen with Knapp’s story. I suppose there’s a chance someone reading could know him or have seen him. But barring that, I see this story as a reminder that there are an awful lot of people who fill up a small part of our day. We usually take them for granted but are affected when we notice their absence.
Danny Picard of Boston Metro reports that, during Game 1 of the ALCS on Saturday, a man claiming to be an Astros employee was removed by security. The man was in the media-credentialed area next to the Red Sox dugout but he did not have media credentials. He was, however, using a small camera and texting frequently. When the man was taken away from the area, an Astros staffer tried to intervene, saying he was authorized to be in the area. Security did not buy the story, so the man was not allowed to return to that area but was allowed to remain in the ballpark.
This wasn’t the first time security had been made aware of the man. Apparently the same man had been up to some shady business during the ALDS against the Indians as well, which means the Astros may have been cheating throughout the postseason.
Representatives from all three teams have thus far opted not to comment on the matter. MLB chief communciations officer Pat Courtney said in an email on Tuesday, “We are aware of the matter and it will be handled internally.”
Teams, especially nowadays, are paranoid in the postseason about sign-stealing, so they’re always doing their due diligence to make sure their signs are secure. Sign-stealing is part of the gamesmanship of baseball. Players and coaches are, obviously, allowed to use their eyes, ears, and mouths to communicate about opposing teams’ signs. They’re not allowed to use any kind of technology, including cameras and cell phones. The Astros thought they could get away with this and they were wrong. Even if MLB’s look into the matter doesn’t result in anything, the Astros’ recent and upcoming accomplishments may be looked at with a raised eyebrow.