Matt Adams shoves fan with glove after missing foul ball

74 Comments

There was an interesting moment in the bottom of the third inning at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati this afternoon, as Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams attempted to catch a foul ball off the bat of Reds outfielder Chris Heisey. He dove into the stands along the first-base line to catch it, but came up empty-handed. Adams decided to tap the fan who caught the ball with his glove, which ended up looking a lot like a shove. The fan quickly responded by flipping the bird to Adams. Fun stuff.

Check out the exchange in this Vine, courtesy of user Chris Looy.

C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer caught up with the fan in question, Chris Smith, after the incident:

“He gave me a shove and I fell back,” Smith said. “I’m pretty sensitive about my knee right now. I’m fresh out of surgery, it’s nothing to joke around about.”

Leaning over the tarp, Adams was in position to catch the ball, but Smith had his glove above Adams’ glove and made the catch. A fan has the right to catch a ball if he doesn’t go into the field of play, and replays showed Smith didn’t.

“I didn’t reach over, I stayed where I was, I couldn’t reach out if I tried, because I can’t hit my knee on anything,” Smith said, pointing to the cup holder in front of him right at knee-level.

Smith and friend Kristen Kidd, who was sitting next to him, said there were no words exchanged between the two. Just the shove — and the gesture that was caught live on TV.

“I wouldn’t be mad if he wasn’t hurt,” Kidd said.

There is, of course, no way Adams could know Smith was hurt, but it was still her first reaction to look out for her friend.

“He didn’t say anything,” Smith said. “He just looked at me right in the face and walked away.”

This isn’t the end of the world, but you have to wonder how this incident would be covered if say, someone like Yasiel Puig was the one who did it. Anyway, the fan was well within his rights to catch the ball and hopefully Adams will think twice next time about touching a fan unprovoked. Fortunately, this didn’t escalate into a bigger confrontation.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

Rick Yeatts/Getty Images
41 Comments

In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.