On Friday, May 1st, a purported Red Sox fan reached into the playing field and touched Ryan Hanigan’s base hit. The umpires called fan interference and sent Xander Bogaerts back to third base. He would never score and the Sox would lose the game by one run. Previously, Lee Gregory has paid some nice compliments to hustling players; here he has some stern advice for that fan.
Hey you! Yes, you! The kid with the blue hoodie sitting down the left field line at Friday’s Red Sox-Yankees game. The one who reached out and interfered with Ryan Hanigan’s 4th inning single, resulting in fan interference that sent Xander Bogaerts back to 3rd, costing the Red Sox a run. Yeah, tonight’s game. You know, the one the Red Sox lost by a run.
I know you got ejected. I know your dad was really, really upset at the usher for booting you. Boo f*cking hoo. You screw up like that, you get what you deserve. As far as I can figure, that cost your team 0.5 wins. You, Mr. Blue Hoodie, now sport a -0.5 fanWAR. You know what a marginal win is worth? Last I checked it was about $7 million. You made a $3.5 million mistake. You. Are. An idiot.
Any fan who sits within arm’s length of a ball in play has a sacred responsibility. You have to leave any home team ball alone. Got it? I was at a game at Fenway out in right field, where the low wall connects to the visitor’s bullpen. Where Dwight Evans made the Game 6 catch in the top of the 11th inning of the 1975 World Series, that led to a rare 9-3-6 double play and set the stage for Carlton Fisk’s heroics. The day I was there, a Red Sox player hit a ball that rolled along the wall, right beneath those low seats. Two kids in the front row leaned over to grab the ball. A wise, older fan in the row behind – a real fan, one who deserved the right to sit that close to the field – reached out and grabbed the scruffs of their necks of these knuckleheads, one in each hand. Then, he yanked them both back into their seats, turning a certain “fan interference double” into a triple.
That is how you do it, and the same applies to defense. Do not mess with a ball your team’s fielder could get to. Do you want advice on this? Steve Bartman can tell you all about it. That is a fan’s responsibility. Do not interfere with your team’s chances of winning.
On the other hand, DO interfere with the opponent’s chances of winning, even if that means getting tossed from the ballpark. Turn their triples into fan interference doubles. Grab that pop-up out of the opposing catcher’s mitt if he reaches into the front row. You get kicked out – so what? You leave a hero and have a great story forever.
You call yourself a fan? Then be one. You want to sit there? Then do your job. I will be watching.
Oh, and umps – get with the program OK? This is what you get paid for. The fan interfered with the ball. Your job is to figure out where the runners would have been if he had not done so. Do not take the coward’s way out and pretend like fan interference is the same as the ground rules. It is not. If the runner would have scored, you give him the plate. In fact, if you’re 51% sure he would have scored, the rule book says you give him the plate. But no, you never do that, do you? That would be too bold. A manager might argue with you. Easier to just call it two bases and not make things difficult. You make me sick.