Worst fan: Sox fan ripped home run ball out of woman’s hand, taunted other with racist remarks

160 Comments

I couldn’t believe what I saw after Alex Avila’s home run last night. If you were following the game online you no doubt saw it too, as video of it quickly went viral. A fan in the right field stands ripped the home run ball out of the hands of the woman who came up with it and threw it back on the field.

Amanda Rykoff captured it on Vine. Click to animate:

Thankfully, not long after it happened, word started to circulate that the fan was ejected from Fenway. Which, good. He’s lucky that he wasn’t arrested and charged with assault & battery. I mean, there’s no effective difference between him taking the ball from the woman’s hands and throwing it like that than taking her cell phone or something.

But it gets worse! Jeff Passan of Yahoo! spoke to fans in the section where this took place and reports that, before he was ejected, the fan taunted a black Tigers fan sitting nearby all game with racial slurs, including calling him “Trayvon Martin” and “Prince Fielder’s crackhead brother.” He also told another black Tigers fan to “go back to the ghetto.” This was confirmed by several fans sitting in that section.

Man, what an utter piece of garbage.

Replay review over base-keeping needs to go

Elsa/Getty Images
2 Comments

The Red Sox are off and running in the first inning of Game 1 of the World Series against the Dodgers. Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez each hit RBI singles off of Clayton Kershaw to give the Red Sox an early 2-0 lead.

Benintendi’s hit to right field ended with a replay review. Rather than throw to the cutoff man, right fielder Yasiel Puig fired home to try nabbing Mookie Betts, but his throw was poor. Catcher Austin Barnes caught the ball a few feet in front of and to the right of home plate, then whipped the ball to second base in an attempt to get Benintendi. Benintendi clearly beat the throw, but shortstop Manny Machado kept the tag applied. After Benintendi was ruled safe, the Dodgers challenged, arguing that Benintendi’s hand may have come off the second base bag for a microsecond while Machado’s glove was on him. The ruling on the field was upheld and the Red Sox continued to rally.

Replay review over base-keeping is not in the spirit of the rule and shouldn’t be permitted. Hopefully Major League Baseball considers changing the rule in the offseason. Besides the oftentimes uncontrollable minute infractions, these kinds of replay reviews slow the game down more than other types of reviews because they tend not to be as obvious as other situations.

Baseball has become so technical and rigid that it seems foolish to leave gray area in this regard. A runner is either off the base or he isn’t. However, the gradual result of enforcing these “runner’s hand came off the base for a fraction of a second” situations is runners running less aggressively and sliding less often so there’s no potential of them losing control of their body around the base. Base running, particularly the aggressive, sliding variety, is quietly one of the most fun aspects of the game. Policing the game to this degree, then, serves to make the game less fun and exciting.

Where does one draw the line then? To quote Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, describing obscenity in Jacobellis v. Ohio, “I know it when I see it.” This is one area where I am comfortable giving the umpires freedom to enforce the rule at their discretion and making these situations impermissible for replay review.