bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Fans should not be part of the show

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I constantly realize that I am not the typical sports fan. There are just so many things I see and hear fans do that I just wouldn’t do. I have had seats at a baseball game that were right up against the fence that separates the stands from the field, and yet I have never felt the need to interfere with a player in any way at all, whether that be physical interference of any kind of even verbal interference. There were a couple of interesting examples of those things happening this week, though. I was not involved, of course.

During a game between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim on Friday, Curtis Granderson made a catch while running toward the right field corner. He turned to make a throw, and as he did, an Angels fan reached out and touched him on the back. Granderson immediately turned and confronted the fan, telling him to not do that. I can’t imagine what this guy was thinking. The play was essentially over, so he wasn’t actually trying to interfere with the play. I guess he was just getting some kind of thrill by touching the back of a baseball player. The fan was ejected, of course. If he was a season-ticket holder, I hope his tickets were revoked. Granderson was absolutely justified in being bothered and a little freaked out by this. Fans are there to watch, not to participate, and people have no business touching players in any way at all.

Looking at this from a different angle, there was another unfortunate player-fan interaction this week. This one happened in Philadelphia on Saturday and involved a very vocal fan sitting in the stands near home plate in the tenth inning. This fan had apparently been calling Jimmy Rollins “ignorant,” among other things. The shortstop proceeded to send a game-winning homerun into the stands, and as he ran toward first base, he looked at the fan and told him to “shut the fuck up!” Now I admire Rollins’ style, as a huge hit like that is certainly the best answer to an obnoxious fan, but I wish he had simply smirked at the guy rather than having cursed at him. It would have been far more effective and made Rollins look like the better person instead of just some jerk with a bat. I am not sensitive to language myself, but there are a lot of kids in the stands at a baseball game, and those kids don’t need to see the star shortstop cursing out a fan, no matter how irritating that fan might have been.

Sure, I’d be excited to meet or interact with a baseball player. Would I get the same enjoyment out of grabbing a player’s shoulder during a game or getting cursed at because I harrassed a player enough to get a rise out of him? Certainly not. I think most people would be more like me than like the two people in the examples above, but I guess I don’t actually know. It should be good enough just to be a spectator, shouldn’t it?

Bad sports, continued:

2) The University of Connecticut basketball team won an unlikely national title last week, beating Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament final on Monday. The game was followed, unfortunately, by an occurrence that has become far too common lately, and that is a whole bunch of violence and rioting on the campus of the winning school. A bunch of property was damaged and 30 people were arrested late Monday night in Storrs, Connecticut. There was a bunch of violence at the University of Kentucky also, but it wasn’t as bad as at UConn.

3) Kansas City Royals second baseman Omar Infante was hit in the face by a pitch thrown by Heath Bell of the Tampa Bay Rays last Monday. He has a sprained jaw and needed six stitches to close a wound caused by the beaning.

4) Fireworks coming from the top of the big scoreboard at the Atlanta Braves’ stadium caused an American flag to catch on fire during the team’s home opener last Tuesday. Oops.

5) Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, is being investigated along with a couple of other NFL players by police in Miami because of some kind of incident that occurred at a local hotel on April 1st. Details are hazy at this point.

6) Dorial Green-Beckham, the leading wide receiver for the Missouri football team last season, has been kicked off the team. He had some kind of issue last week involving a possible assault, and though he has not been arrested, the team clearly had issues with his behavior. It was a major coup for Missouri when he signed with them as a high school player a couple of years ago, as he was considered to be one of the top recruits in the country.

7) It would appear that the attempt to get the public to back off of calling for a change to the team’s name is not working all that well for the Washington Redskins. Daniel Snyder created some kind of organization called “the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation,” and it is currently set to be the official sponsor of a charity golf event in Arizona this week. The National Indian Gaming Association was supposed to be another sponsor of the tournament but decided to cancel that plan after the OAF (really, they didn’t notice the initials when picking the name?) was announced as the official sponsor.

8) Aldon Smith isn’t just a moron…he’s a spectacular moron. The 49ers linebacker, who already got in a bunch of trouble last year for drugs and a DUI, was arrested on Sunday after making a false bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport because he was mad at being selected for screening while going through security.

Good sports:

1) They hit Bad Sports above because of the rioting, but the University of Connecticut had quite a week. The day after the men’s team won the title, the women’s basketball team did the same, beating Notre Dame to complete a perfect 40-0 season.

2) Golfer Bubba Watson won the Masters this past weekend, beating his next-closest challengers by three shots to take the green jacket. He won it back in 2012 as well.

Bad sports, good sports appears early each week

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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