Baseball Fan Charges Field During Game

Last Sunday, August 28th, at the last minute, I went to the Red Sox game against the Kansas City Royals. It was an 8:05 game, an hour later than most night games. It seemed from the start that it was going to be a strange night at Fenway. The fans seemed more excited than usual. I looked for a full moon in the sky (there wasn’t one). I noticed that more beach balls than usual circulated among the crowd. I’m personally not a fan of beach balls. They distract the players and annoy to fans, but whatever. What really irks me though is when a baseball fan charges the field during a game.

As I settled in to watch the game from right field, an impulsive baseball fan ran onto thestupid baseball fan field wearing a “Harambe 69” jersey. For those who don’t know, Harambe is the name of the gorilla shot and killed in a Cincinnati Zoo a few months ago. A small child managed to climb into Harambe’s enclosure, making him a potential target for the gorilla. Fearing for the child’s life, zoo keepers decided to shoot and kill Harambe. A public outcry that included allegations of animal cruelty followed. Unfortunately, a pseudo campaign to honor Harambe also emerged. The mock tributes include allegations ranging from Hillary Clinton’s involvement in the shooting, to making Harambe an icon who died for our sins. The fake tributes are purely stupid.

The less than intelligent fan bearing the Harambe tribute jersey made it to center field before security tackled him to the ground. Thinking it was funny at the time, the look on his face after his arrest suggested otherwise. The only funny part of the incident was seeing members of the Kansas City Royals bullpen high-five the security guard who tackled the smuck as he returned to his post. Charging the field is just stupid. It holds up the game. More importantly, with the threat of mass killings, it scares players and puts security and police alike on edge.

When a Baseball Fan Charges The Field, It Does More Damage Than He Thinks

With recent tragic events like the shooting at the nightclub in Orlando, it’s easy to understand why a player might get startled when a baseball fan charges the field. So when a baseball fan charges the field looking for attention, the stunt not only scares players but breaks their concentration. The game has to stop so that security can escort the brainless fan off the field. Afterwards, the player has to refocus his attention on the game. It slows the game down, it hurts the home team, and annoys other fans. Most field runners later regret it.

I’m sure most fans don’t think about doing something so stupid as to run onto the field. But if you do, just remember that a short amount of attention and notoriety can turn into a lifetime of shame and hardship. With a criminal record, it’ll be harder to get a job. That’s after you’ve spent a ton of money on lawyers and court appearances.

Rodriguez’s Final Fenway Game Uneventful

Alex Rodriguez played his final Fenway game last Thursday night. Amid boos that drowned out a few cheers, A-Rod grounded out to third, marking the end of a contentious career at Fenway Park. Unlike Derek Jeter, there were no pre-game ceremonies, no recognitions, or even an acknowledgment for that matter. All fans saw that night was A-Rod go 0-4 with an RBI.

No one seemed surprised that Rodriguez’s final game was uneventful. For many, it wasFinal Fenway Game just another game. Rodriguez wasn’t revered by Yankee fans like Derek Jeter was, or even respected for that matter. Red Sox fans will always remember him as being the antagonist who took a catcher’s mitt to his face when he back-talked to Jason Varitek. Everyone remembers that game on July 24th, 2004 when Bronson Arroyo drilled A-Rod with a pitch, infuriating the Yankees’ DH. So as A-Rod exchanged heated words with Arroyo, Varitek told him to go to first.

Well, maybe not in those exact words. I can’t write what he said exactly since it’s explicit, but the scene became more tense. Varitek and A-Rod exchanged punches, and a determined Yankee Don Zimmer charged at Pedro Martinez before Martinez threw him to the ground. The iconic photo of A-Rod fighting Varitek hangs in almost every bar in Boston. For many, it is a symbol of Red Sox Pride. To his credit, Varitek refuses to sign photos of the brawl, saying that he didn’t set a good example for younger fans.

A-Rod’s Final Fenway Game Leaves Little To Remember

Alex Rodriguez’s final Fenway game was more of a whimper than a bang. In his final at-bat in the eighth inning, Rodriguez grounded out to third base and thrown out at first. No one stood up and clapped. No acknowledgment on the scoreboard about his final game. Nothing. Well, I take that back. Despite a Red Sox loss that night, the loudest cheers came when A-Rod struck out earlier in the game. The cheers were as loud as if it had been a David Ortiz grand slam. So while A-Rod’s final at-bat wasn’t anything to marvel at, Red Sox fans at the game, me included, can boast that we saw his final at bat on the road.

What Does the Future Hold for Fenway Park?

In its 104th year, Fenway Park looks beautiful. The old charm is still there, mixed with a pleasant blend of modern amenities. This is still one of the most cherished buildings in America, with a meaning that transcends sports. But as a fifth generation enjoys the ballpark on Yawkey Way, what does the future hold for Fenway Park, especially with regard to capacity?

Fenway Park

Since buying the Red Sox in 2001, John Henry and Tom Werner have been tremendous keepers of the flame. They took some time to survey the situation—even kicking the tires on a new stadium—before making a commitment to preserving Fenway Park in 2005. Under their guidance, the park has become integral to the Red Sox’ brand. New seats, scoreboards and facilities have improved the game day experience. In total, ownership has spent over $300 million renovating Fenway, which has stood the test of time.

Is Fenway Park too Small?

Baseball stadiums are becoming bigger and more sophisticated. While certain designs have failed to impress, such as the new Yankee Stadium, others have inspired awe, such as the new Busch Stadium. Even venerable Wrigley Field has finally succumbed to modernity, following the lead of Fenway Park, its ancient rival. But even after extensive restoration, the Boston bandbox is still only capable of seating the sixth-smallest crowd in MLB. That doesn’t mesh well with one of the largest and most loyal fan bases in sports. Almost every game is a sellout, making for an intimate experience; expanding capacity at Fenway Park should be seriously considered moving forward.

Right now, Henry and Werner are doing exactly that with Liverpool, the British soccer club they own. Anfield, their home stadium, has a great tradition within that sport, similar to Fenway. Nevertheless, ownership has begun work to expand capacity from 45,500 to 59,000. The first phase will be completed this summer, as a new grandstand is assembled. Perhaps if that proves to be successful, Henry and Werner could look to implement a similar vision at the 37,949 seat Fenway Park.

The Future of Fenway Park

Of course, its impossible to debate the future of Fenway without first invoking its past. This is a sacred ballpark that will be defended vehemently by traditionalist who oppose all but necessary alterations. I understand and respect that. Fenway Park has a unique place in the history of sports that should never be damaged. Yet if the park can be improved to further fit the modern world, I’m incredibly supportive of that, too. For instance, I’d love to see another tier added to Fenway This would allow the Red Sox to reap commercial benefits and more fans to enjoy a contemporary stadium experience if they so choose. Those additions need not replace the rustic charisma and history of Fenway Park. They would merely compliment it, and help the ballpark remain relevant well into another century.

In 2011, when the main bulk of renovations were completed, ownership suggested that Fenway could stand for another fifty years. That’s great news that should be welcomed by fans who’ve mourned the loss of so many beloved ballparks down the years. However, in a world of improving technology and growing expectations, it would be irresponsible to ignore possible ways of making the ballpark fit for purpose in those decades ahead. Expanding capacity and providing more modern infrastructure in addition to the historic foundations is one area to possibly explore, as Fenway reaches a crossroads.

Red Sox Host Pride Night

On Friday, June 3rd the Boston Red Sox will host their annual Pride Night at Fenway Park that honors members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, and Queer (LGBTQ) community. The Boston Red Sox have emerged as one of the more vocal supporters of LGBTQ rights in baseball during a time when gay athletes continue to face struggles in coming out. It’s important to see the Red Sox and members of its organization support LGBTQ rights with manager John Farrell going so far as to say, “We as an organization are always looking to create a welcoming environment at Fenway Park.” With that level of support, Pride Night at Fenway Park represents one of the best efforts in baseball to acknowledge and welcome members of the LGBTQ community.

Pride Night initially began in 2013 when former NBA player Jason Collins threw out the firstPride Night pitch before a game during Pride Week in Boston. Collins was the first active player to come out as gay in the NBA and has since become a champion of LGBTQ rights. Since then, the Boston Red Sox have hosted Pride Night each year during the month of June when the City of Boston celebrates Pride Week. This event is particularly important to baseball because the game has yet to see an active Major League baseball player come out. While the NFL and NBA have already seen a player come out, many point to baseball’s conservative nature as the reason behind this absence. Specifically, many point to the lack of exposure to a more progressive environment among its players as the reason why the MLB hasn’t seen a gay player yet.

Pride Night Shows that MLB is Ready for a Gay Player?

To clarify, players in the NFL and NBA often go to college first before going pro where they live in a more inclusive environment. As a result, NFL and NBA players are more inclined to accept a gay teammate. So while college has been the primary place where the NFL and NBA have drafted players, professional baseball players have been more likely to get drafted directly from high school (this has changed in recent years). This direct route from high school to the pros meant that baseball players were not exposed to the kind of accepting environments that their NFL and NBA counterparts experienced. As a result, many baseball players have taken a dim view of LGBTQ inclusion.

I am not saying that the lack of a college education makes someone a bigot. It is a difficult pattern to ignore when discussing LGBTQ issues in sports though. However, when David Denson, a first baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers’ rookie affiliate, came out last year, he found a tremendous amount of support from his teammates. Additionally, current baseball players have stated that they wouldn’t have a problem with a gay teammate as long as he played well. This progress is a sign that Major League Baseball is more than ready to accept a gay baseball player.

Fenway Park Netting a Necessary Eye Sore

Officials at Fenway Park extended the safety netting down the first and third base lines before the season began in an effort to keeps fans safer from broken bats and foul balls. While the Fenway Park netting is definitely an eye sore (for a short while), I think it’s also important for the sake of the fans.

Grumbling about the netting has been loud and clear from the Red Sox Nation. HorrorFenway Park netting writer Stephen King, a Maine native and season ticket holder, wrote an opinion piece for the Boston Globe about the netting: “There are questions inherent in the decision to net…Like when does protection become overprotection? Is the safety of a fan at a public event like a baseball game the responsibility of the organization putting on that event? (According to the back of every MLB ticket sold, the fan is responsible.) When do safety precautions begin to steal away the pure joy of being there?” While King makes a solid point about whose responsibility it is to stay safe at a game, last season saw a few injuries that show there’s only so much a fan can do to protect him or herself of flying objects.

In a game against the Oakland Athletics last June, Oakland’s Brett Lawrie’s bat shattered on a groundout to second. Pieces of the bat flew into the third baseline seats, severely injuring a fan who was taken to Beth Israel Hospital with life-threatening injuries. The woman sustained cuts to her face and forehead causing severe bleeding. The following month saw another woman get hurt, this time by a speeding foul ball during a game against the New York Yankees. Thankfully, both fans recovered.

Fenway Park Netting Isn’t So Bad

There’s some cases where there’s only so much a fan can do to protect him or herself from flying projectiles.  Sometimes you’re just in the line of fire and with limited mobility can be hard to get out of the way. More than once I’ve seen fans try and catch foul balls going over 100 mph with their bare hands, only to leave the game with an icepack covering their palms. This is why I always bring a baseball glove (no foul balls caught yet). But then there are those who are constantly on their cellphones taking stupid selfies and posting pictures of their $9 hot dogs to Instagram. Those are the people who really need to pay attention because they’re the ones who are most susceptible to getting knocked out by a foul like Drew Barrymore’s character in Fever Pitch.

I’ve sat behind the Fenway Park netting once or twice this season and honestly, you don’t really notice it after the first ten minutes. I’ve taken some amazing photos through the netting that hardly shows up on the photos; it’s not that thick. So while purists can yell all the want about how it takes away from the game, they should focus their anger on those who come to games only to spend the entire time taking selfies of their stupid faces for four hours.

Build a Fenway Park Dome!

After a mild winter, Mother Nature decided to make up for lost time by hitting Boston with a mix of rain and snow last week just as the baseball season began. It was supposed to come and go before the end of March! After all, soggy fields, wet seats, and cold wind don’t make for a fun day at the ballpark. So I thought of a great idea as I brushed snow off my car last Monday. The Red Sox should build a Fenway Park dome. Think about it. A Fenway Park dome would mean never having to worry about a rain out ever again!

Now I know some purists are going to scream for my head on a platter for even daring toFenway Park dome suggest such an idea but hear me out. Fenway Park could retain its historical look by installing a glass dome instead of the more stable and durable ones used today. Glass would definitely add to the old time feel of the ballpark while allowing fans to feel like they’re still outside. With a Fenway Park dome, the Red Sox could sell more advertising, too. For example, Windex could sponsor a Spring Cleaning Day where fans receive Red Sox-themed towels and mini spray bottles at the turnstiles to help wipe down the dome every few weeks. The team could also have races to see which player can shimmy up to the top first. My money would be on Mookie Betts given his speed in the outfield. Clay Buccholz will probably be hurt so he probably wouldn’t race. And Pablo Sandoval might want to think about sitting the race out altogether. No sense in making him get off the bench for anything. The Yawkey Way Store could sell window-climbing suction cups to make it easier for fans and players to climb up the Fenway Park dome and wipe it down. Suction cups are important. After all, we don’t want fans flying off the roof and leaving streaks! Can you imagine a fan flopping down the side of the dome screaming for dear life before hitting the pavement on Yawkey Way? That would be one more mess to clean up. Yeah, suction cups are key.

Some might say that sunny days will make the park as hot as a car’s interior in the summer. In that case, the Red Sox can buy thousands of windshield visors to deflect the light. Fans can hold up the visors all at once during the seventh inning stretch to deflect the sun and cool down the park. Should work like a charm!

There’s just one big problem with the Fenway Park dome idea. The curve of the dome could turn the park into one big magnifying glass. Depending on the angle of the sun, UV rays could start a small fire inside the park. Smoke would fill the dome’s interior and…you know what? A dome over Fenway Park is a really terrible idea. So for those who don’t understand satire, if the vein in your forehead is about to burst from anger, then just keep in mind that it’s just a joke.

In the mean time, be sure to bring your umbrellas and ponchos to Fenway because rain and wind are in the forecast for the next few weeks.