Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Because Philadelphians Need Reasons To Look Stupider

I had been trying to avoid talking about this young boy being tased in Philadelphia nonsense for a few reasons. For one, I'm bored with it. It's a pretty straight forward story: Boy stupidly runs on field, boy gets tased to protect athletes on the field, boy is fine, Philadelphia fans look dumb, we all move on with our lives while ESPN doesn't stop talking about it for days.

I was a little annoyed at that I had to keep hearing about it whenever a different former athlete cum studio analyst was asked his opinion on Sportscenter yesterday -- particularly since they all had the same opinion -- and then when ESPN decided to show a montage of the analysts reiterating their opinion, well, it was overkill.

But now I'm going to talk about it. Why? Because it got more interesting yesterday. And moreover, it got funnier.

Now, Philadelphia sports fans have done more than their fair share of stupid things in the past two years, but this, for reason of both immediate timing and for how it affected the game, might have, by far, been the stupidest.

When you go to a sporting event, one of the dumbest things you can do, is leave your seat and run onto the playing field. For one, it's illegal. More likely than not, you will spend your night in jail after making a dash from the stands for home. Incidents involving fans running on the field have ranged from the hilarious to the downright frightening. Given the event of the Monica Seles' stabbing in 1993, anyone who runs on the field, out of concern for the safety of the players, is likely to get the crap kicked out of them. And rightfully so.

So yeah. It's pretty stupid to run out onto the field. This we know.

But there is something even dumber.

The only thing stupider than running out on the field might be running out on the field the night after another fan was tased to the ground at that very same stadium. And the only thing stupider than that? Doing so in the top of the ninth inning when your tired and fading starter is trying to close out a 1-0 complete game shutout. Sure enough, Cole Hamels was near the tail end of his best start in a while against a potent St. Louis Cardinals team that he had dominated to that point, when a second Phillies fan jumped the fence and sprinted across center field.

Say what you will about how important it is for a pitcher to maintain his rhythm, but in this case it seems pretty valid. The game paused while the fan was apprehended -- Hamels was mid-delivery when time was called -- and five pitches later Hamels had surrendered two doubles that tied the game.

Now, one could say no harm, no foul, particularly since the Phillies won the game anyway on a Carlos Ruiz solo shot in the 11th inning,but, really, how dumb can someone be? Much as I'd love to paint all Philly fans with the same brush as this moron -- though there is something of a history of this at this park -- it should be noted that the sellout crowd booed him when he was apprehended.

Also, it bears noting that the man was charged with narcotics possession, which made it even more absurd that he would put himself in a position where he was almost certain to be arrested if he had drugs on him at the time. Oh yeah, and he announced that he was going to run on the field on twitter beforehand.

This was a bright guy.

If this debacle doesn't simply show you that, sometimes, people are really stupid, it should at least show you that running on the field, aside from leaving you potentially bruised, can clearly have a deleterious effect on the team you claim to support. If you claim to be a Phillies fan, why would you disrupt your team during a game that could potentially keep Philadelphia in first place and have a dramatic effect on the confidence of Hamels, who had been less than stellar of late?

Were I to screw up a start that brought Johan Santana to form, I'd be pretty angry at myself. Even Steve Bartman wasn't intentionally trying to ruin the Cubs' shot at a pennant when he interfered.

The idea that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people never seemed so prescient. My only regret is that Matt Chatham wasn't there to level him to the ground.

Now that would have been a sight.

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