Friend, you and I have studied the heroics of unauthorized fans running through baseball diamonds for over a year now. This is our 18th such report, and the first to be set in Minnesota.
I don't really know what stadium security guards do during the 99.9 percent of their careers in which they aren't chasing down a fan on the field, but I'll try to break it down as well as I'm able:
15 percent of the time -- standing along the foul lines between innings, rocking their feet back and forth sole-to-heel, arms folded behind their backs, making sure there aren't any shenanigans going on in the seats
3 percent -- giving the business to kids with laser pointers and other such no-gooders
0.1 percent -- chasing squirrels off the field
81.8 percent -- ????
Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not knocking the profession, nor the professionals. The security industry is vital to the stability of modern society, and the hours and hours of standing around just sort of go along with that gig.
I mean only to underscore how ready they are to tackle a fan on the field. Suppose you're about to run on the field. How long have you been mulling this over? Five seconds? Five minutes? A few hours? Well, the folks you're going up against have been sitting on their plastic-backed folding chairs and daydreaming about you for months. They have never met you, but they already know you.
And soon, you will know them. And in great numbers.
(As luck would have it, Baseball Nation's own Wendy Thurm was in attendance Friday night, and was able to catch a good portion of the run. Her video is here, and the following graphic was taken from said video. Thank you, Wendy, for springing into action and helping the cause.)
Normally, though, the numbers are not this great. We have a new record, friend. Never have we tracked 12 security agents on the field during a single field-storming. (In fact, this shatters our previous record of eight.)
Based on the studies we've conducted, it seems as though two or three security guards will usually suffice. Unless the field-runner is a true athlete -- of whom we have seen a few -- all you really need to bring him or her down is an agent in direct pursuit, a second agent staggered off and to the side to execute a close-range swarm, and a third agent on the other side of the fan to execute a flank and herd him or her against the wall.
But ... 12, huh? A dozen? **** y'all gonna do with a dozen people? Man, y'all were chomping at the bit. One more second without a fan on the field would have been one too many. I wouldn't dare scold or mock your over-eagerness, but I will have a laugh.
I shouldn't laugh. These are professionals; I'm sure they were employing a strategy. This was said strategy, as far as I can reckon:
Guard No. 1, as labeled above: The point of the spear. Essential to any field-runner recovery effort. Often times, this guard will not actually perform the takedown. This time, she did.
No. 2: The wingman. God. Frat kids really ruined this term, didn't they? "Wingman" used to be such a cool piece of terminology. Anyway. This fellow provides support.
No. 3: The second wingman. This fellow is useful for helping to pin the target against the wall and close the back door.
No. 4: The alternate. Just along for the ride, for the most part. Ready to step to the front line in case Nos. 1, 2 or 3 twist an ankle or something.
No. 5: Uh ... second alternate, I guess.
No. 6: Hmm. Honorary Field Sheriff? How's that sound, little buddy? Think I might have a "Junior Sheriff" badge for ya. What do you think about that, huh?
No. 7: The flank. No. 2 mostly has this covered, but this fellow is ready in the event of a sudden turn toward the infield.
No. 8: Has a backpack full of oranges, string cheese and pouches of CapriSun in case this thing turns into a siege.
No. 9: Is there to help punch the straw into the CapriSun pouches because No. 8 sucks at it.
No. 10: The finish line. Ensures that if the fan makes it to left field, the spectacle will end there.
No. 11: Yeah, no, dude. Could you go back and sit on that folding chair? We don't want it to get stolen.
No. 12: Treasurer.
And there you have it. To the stats!
Estimated run time: 25 seconds
Estimated run distance: 200 feet
Indignant gestures: 0
Security guards in play: 12 (NEW RECORD)
That record might be unbreakable. How many security guards can a team possibly employ at one time, anyway? I would be surprised. Then again, the field-storming industry is one that manufactures surprises, time and time again. Good work, fan. Good work, security. Good show, everyone.
UPDATE! In the comments, myjah correctly notes that there were actually 14 security guards on the field. I somehow missed the two guards standing next to one another on the warning track. I deeply regret the error, and will work to ensure that further lapses do not occur in the future. Wow, 14. This unbreakable record just got a little more unbreakable.
Click here to read further adventures in field-storming.