April 24, 2003

What Every Fan Should Not Do

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Sometimes I get pissed at my team. The Braves demolished their rotation in the off-season and it looked for a while like they were not going to recover in the beginning of April. Fortunately, they proved me wrong.

But no matter how mad I was at Atlanta, I would not go to a game and fire a bean ball in the form of a cell phone at Greg Maddux’s head. Heck, I wouldn’ t even go to a Mets game and throw a hot dog at Tom Glavine to punish him for his stupidity.

In addition to legal implications, tossing a “weapon” at a player’s forehead will not knock him into a comatose state that enables him to pitch a 110 mph ball within each umpire’s definition of the strike zone.

Actually, drunk idiots who throw stuff, by turning mental rage into physical rage — for example, bombarding an outfielder with nickels and dimes (as if they need the money) — risk injuring that player and forcing him to sit out a number of games.

Most likely, that player is good and could potentially hit a home run. Why do you want your team to be forced to put a bench player in the game to replace your starter?

Maybe the aggressor was mad at his team in general. Let’s ask Mr. Juan Carlos Serrano, the clown who threw a cell phone that hit Texas Rangers right fielder Carl Everett this past Saturday in Oakland.

Everett told the umpires that he had been hit by the phone in the beginning of the sixth inning. At that time, the score was 7-1 in favor of Oakland. In the sixth inning, Everett hit a solo home run.

I assume Serrano was an A’s fan. When he threw the phone, his team was winning by a significant margin. If the Rangers had been winning, and Everett had been responsible for every RBI on the board, throwing stuff at him is still not right, but it makes more sense.

In addition, Everett was the bad boy of Boston a few seasons ago, but since his departure from New England, he hasn’t made too much noise. Perhaps Serrano felt Everett still needed to repent his past mistakes?

Oakland fans shouldn’t be pissed about anything, anyway. Their team is a close second in their division to the Mariners.

Indeed, the incident makes little to no sense.

What makes even less sense is what happened yesterday.

That is when Serrano plead innocent to misdemeanor charges of battery and assault with a deadly weapon.

The rationale for this decision, according to his lawyer Andrew Dosa, is that Dosa believes prosecutors will not be able to prove Serrano threw the phone to hit Everett on purpose. Other fans near Serrano had apparently been throwing beer bottles in the right fielder’s direction around the same time Everett was hit.

There was also some question as to whether anyone could prove Serrano was the thrower, but as soon as he fired away, fans sitting near him pointed him out to security guards. In addition, the guards said they saw him throw the phone with their own eyes.

If there is still any doubt if it is Serrano’s phone, any gumshoe knows to look at the phone itself. His neighbor probably wouldn’t have donated his cell for Serrano’s cause.

Maybe Serrano was not specifically aiming for Everett’s head, but that’s where the phone ended up. Yes, other fans were throwing stuff as well, but unfortunately for Juan, their projectiles missed the human being minding his own business.

Serrano needs to be sent to jail and fined. A message needs to be sent to beer drinking fans in all sports venues that the only contributions they can make on the field are cheers or jeers.

Baseball is the slowest sport of the four majors and it seems that its fans feel the need to make up for that tedium with violence. That should not be tolerated.

Since stadiums will never enact rules to limit the number of beers someone can buy or raise the price of a cold one, more security guards need to be hired, since alcohol is always involved in these cases. Whenever a fan throws anything on the field, even if it is a home run ball hit by the visiting team, those guards will descend on the offender and arrest him.

People are herd animals. Riots and stampedes start when just a few bodies start yelling, fighting, and running. Showers of bottles, trash and food rain in stadiums when even a small group decides it has endured enough losses.

Too many fans think throwing stuff is acceptable. That would quickly change if harsher penalties are enacted.

My undergrad career at Cornell ended this past December, but I’ll start another four years here this fall at the veterinary school. Here are a few random things I have picked up along the way.

First of all, don’t throw away the rest of your life for four years of partying. I saw a few too many people decide to give up med and vet school due to bad grades. Study, god damn it, that’s why you’re here. And realizing that you have actually learned something when you look back feels pretty good.

Make more use of the metered parking lots.

If you go to The Price is Right, go with a minimum of 10 people, wear the same shirts, be overly enthusiastic in your interview with the producers, and arrive at the studio no later than 3 a.m. You need to be as close to the front of the line as possible. Also, while you are waiting outside the studio, the producers watch you through cameras, so be enthusiastic at all times.

The people who work at Nintendo are actually nice and try to help you when your Game Cube breaks.

Do things because you enjoy them, not because you want to boost your r