This week, we may well have seen the final two field-stormings of the 2011 baseball season. This is one of many reasons I'll miss you, baseball. Football field-stormings are fun but rare, and no fan ever storms a basketball court (in the middle of a game) or a hockey rink. A golf-course-storming might be neat.
This has been a banner year for folks who want to run around, completely unauthorized, on a baseball diamond in the middle of the game. Remember the Astros fan who ran on the field and escaped? Or the gentleman who ran on the field in a wedding dress? Or the lightning-quick fan who eluded Citi Field security for three hours?
A postseason field-storming would be really fun, but strikes me as rather unlikely. So, then, while visual evidence of these final two field-stormers may be limited, we relish it anyway, as one might stand in the chill of autumn and relish the last tomato of the summer crop.
Again, I really wish the folks in Baltimore would have taken more video. The only explanation I can offer is that Marlo stole the town camera and put it in a pigeon coop.
The first of these field-stormings occurred on Monday night at Camden Yards during the Orioles-Red Sox game. This, I'm afraid, is the only thing that passes for moving-picture evidence that I can offer you (click to animate):
This comes to us by way of @bubbaprog from Mocksession, who recorded this from the TV broadcast. It's certainly a brief cameo, but this gentleman is to be congratulated for becoming the second person this year to have his field-storming broadcast on national television. WHOOOOSH.
God, it's such a shame that we don't have full video. Such a damn shame. The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham tweeted:
A fan just ran on the field, flipped off the Red Sox dugout and security did virtually nothing. A few cops stood and watched
According to Bill Barnwell, the NESN booth was puzzled over how long security took to respond. To the Red Sox, this was a game that held tremendous playoff implications. To the Orioles, this was Game No. 160 of their 14th consecutive losing season. Perhaps I'm projecting, or perhaps the malaise of mediocrity is capable of permeating the entire organization. Or perhaps security is just like you and me, in that we revel in the spectacle of a man running on the field and flipping the bird to the entire Red Sox dugout.
We do have video documentation of Tuesday night's field-stormer:
Unfortunately, the videos I was able to find are all from a distance (the zoom button is your friend, Baltimoreans!), but half the fun of a good tackle is the roar of the crowd, so this clip will do. In the NESN booth, Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy idly speculated that this gentleman was the very same man who stormed the field Monday Night, noting that he was also very fast and ran along a similar path. I find this highly improbable, but it's fun to imagine anyway.
I'm glad we're talking about the broadcast booths, because their reactions were so, so telling.
Orsillo's and Remy's Red Sox, as you know, were playing a game that was tremendously important to them. And yet, both seemed amused by this field-runner. They weren't cheering or openly celebrating, of course, but you could hear it in their voices: they were watching something fun.
Meanwhile, in the MASN booth, Gary Thorne's and Jim Palmer's Orioles had been out of the playoff hunt for months. The camera panned through the stands as the crowd cheered in delight. Thorne and Palmer were disgusted. "Why would you cheer them?" asked Thorne. "Because they don't know better," said Palmer.
I genuinely like Thorne and Palmer, and I think that they're quite good at their jobs, but -- and I feel as though I've said this a dozen times this season -- Enough with the lecturing
Look, I know I've written most of these pieces in a completely ridiculous and self-important voice this season, but this is me actually talking for real: I understand the logic. I get that you're worried that doing any less than damning field-stormers will encourage future field-stormings. And, yes, a mythical reality in which baseball was ruined because people ran on the field every 13 minutes would be a real bummer.
But again, that's mythical. Loath as I am to jail someone, I think a night in prison and a fine is entirely justified as long as the public is made aware of the consequences. That is the deterrent, not your scolding. All season, we've heard broadcasters call field-stormers "idiots." At least one used the word "disgrace." Many -- even as the camera showed fans standing and cheering -- unbelievably attempted to convince us that "nobody is enjoying this."
A plea to those who will find themselves behind microphones next season: do better. Don't lie to us. Don't attempt to lecture us for witnessing and enjoying something beautiful.
And if the wild, the loud, the insane, the sudden and surprising, the miscalculated, the hilarious... if that, to you, is not what "beautiful" is, I wonder why you watch baseball at all.
Until next year, friends.