It’s silly to ever take a single incident and draw from it an entire world view. We use the term “small sample size” a lot to describe a low number of incidents that shouldn’t be used as proof of very much anything at all, but the principle extends beyond baseball.
Assuming you’re not absolutely foolish, if you flipped a coin once and “heads” came up, you wouldn’t always assume that every flip of a coin ever would result in “heads.” If someone stole something from you, you wouldn’t choose a random characteristic from that person and suddenly believe that everyone who shares that trait is a thief as well. And when someone behaves poorly at a baseball game, it wouldn’t be fair to assume that all baseball fans are jerks.
Take, for instance, this regrettable incident from Tuesday night’s baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays.
No matter how inconsistent you might think home plate umpire Bill Miller’s strike zone was, or how horrible his treatment of poor rookie Brett Lawrie was, I’d hope that we can agree he wasn’t deserving of having something thrown at him.
The person who threw a cup half filled with beer at him at the end of the game isn’t a very accurate representative of baseball fans in the city of Toronto because a) I would hope that a more typical Toronto baseball fan would have finished their beer over the last three innings of the game; and b) it’s one person acting in a foolish manner, while 20,000 other people were behaving more properly.
However, knowing how things tend to get sensationalized, the incident was embarrassing to me, because people could now use it as shallow evidence of what Toronto baseball fans are like. And that’s why I feel badly for real baseball fans in Pittsburgh after a report from the city’s Post-Gazette told the story of a PNC Park security supervisor who lost a finger and a police officer who injured his shoulder this past weekend trying to subdue three raging fans, including a 21-year-old woman and her 50-year-old father.
Tensions flared after Ms. George was taken to the park’s security office for smoking in her seat, according to a criminal complaint filed by Detective Frank Rende.
As Pirates security supervisor Joseph Risher was escorting her out of the right field gate, Ms. George’s unidentified boyfriend assaulted him and ran off. Ms. George jumped on the guard’s back and started to pull him backward, the complaint says.
Her father joined in the attack, pushing him up against a fence.
The security guard ended up somehow getting his finger stuck in the fence, and it ripped off as he was defending himself. Fortunately, it was reattached in surgery later.
I’m sure that there’s another side to the story, but for the time being, this is what we have, and again, it’s embarrassing. However, it’s hardly emblematic of fan behaviour in general. It’s merely some idiots acting out. It happened at a baseball game, but it could’ve just as easily occurred at a shopping mall, a public park or in their own neighbourhood.
And The Rest
The only thing that Brett Lawrie is sorry for is that his helmet took an unfortunate bounce. [National Post]
Was Lawrie framed … by Jose Molina? [Baseball Prospectus]
The 2013 MLB All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field in New York, and Bud Selig still takes really bad pictures. [Big League Stew]
Matt Garza did this, last night. [The Scott Lewis]
Jamie Moyer set another old man record. [Baseball Nation]
Boston Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey has been cleared to start throwing baseballs again. [Boston.com]
Buster Olney believes that the Red Sox and Kevin Youkilis are going to part ways at some point this season. [Over The Monster]
How could Madison Bumgarner bat for himself down a run in the seventh inning? [McCovey Chronicles]
A guide to properly fielding a baseball team. [Old Time Family Baseball]
Rolling Stone magazine still exists, and they asked rock stars about baseball, which surprisingly, isn’t as terrible as it sounds. [Rolling Stone]
Jesus Montero has been traded … sorta. [Hardball Talk]
Agility is an underrated quality in baseball. [Deadspin]
An interview with Andre Dawson can’t not be awesome. [Big Lead Sports]
So, uh, what can we actually expect from Albert Pujols this season. [Joe Blogs]
Who should take Jeff Niemann’s place in the Tampa Bay Rays rotation. [Baseball Nation]
Joe Girardi is just going to leave it the way it is. [LoHud Yankees Blog]
What will it take to fix the Philadelphia Phillies? [Baseball Prospectus]
We talk about the Brett Lawrie incident on the latest edition of the Getting Blanked Show, before moving on to make jokes about that fireballer Stephen Strasburg. [Getting Blanked]