Welcome to the 2013 season of baseball field-storming. If you're new here, this is what I believe:
1. Fans who run on the field during the middle of a baseball game, provided they don't endanger the safety of others, are a delight.
2. We owe no responsibility to anyone to stifle our amusement toward these individuals.
3. Since television networks refuse to show these individuals on air, the documentation and presentation of these individuals via fan video is a worthwhile enterprise.
4. Security personnel are not The Enemy, because in the industry of field-running, thinking in friend/foe terms is rather limiting. Rather, security personnel are actors in this play, and their actions ought to be as recognized and cherished as the unauthorized individual's.
5. Such events are things to celebrate, not fret over, because baseball is frankly not all that important.
If you do not respect or appreciate field-running, as I do, that is of course your prerogative. Be aware, though, that if the reactions of the crowds and tweeting television audiences are any indicator, you are in the minority. People love it.
We ring in a new season of field-storming with Sunday's adventure in Toronto.
(Hover to animate.)
The enterprising gentleman sprinted from the infield to the fence in right-center; upon reaching the fence, he struggled to scale it. Escape attempts on field runs are rare, and successful attempts are rarer still -- over my last two years of field-storming studies, I've only seen one fan make it off the field without being caught. This was clearly not to be Sunday, as the field-runner just sort of dangled on the fence until the four security guards in pursuit could rip him down.
As for the security team's pursuit formation ... well, it seems as though they got lucky. The man on the far right closed in too soon, leaving himself to run directly behind the trespasser along with the others. Granted, they are the professionals and not me, but it seems as though fanning out would have been a better option. Use one or two men to chase from behind, and use the others on each side to box him in.
Here is video.
Again, skeptical newcomers, please note the crowd's reaction. We love this, you see, and we'd love to have you along.
That first run was moderately entertaining, if not historic. The second run, on the other hand, ended with a spectacle I've never seen before in a field-storming:
Unfortunately, video evidence of the run itself hasn't turned up, which probably means that his run didn't last very long. We do have this account, however, from Boston's Will Middlebrooks:
Fans ran on the field until they were taken down by security. One approached Middlebrooks, evidently seeking a handshake.
"He said he was happy to meet me, and then he got tackled. He started to say something else, but then he got drilled," Middlebrooks told reporters. "That was a good tackle. Blind-sided him. He didn’t really see it coming. He had his hand out for me. Got pretty close. I didn’t know if he was going to make it. I was trying to time it out of the corner of my eye. I was like, ‘Am I going to have to shake this guy’s hand?’ But they had my back."
Offering a handshake was worth a shot, although a player has almost never reciprocated such a gesture. What really stuns me is how stubbornly he fought his fate.
Listen up, anonymous gentleman: when it's done, it's done. That is the understanding. A field-stormer has his or her fun, and then is caught, and the curtain closes. To kick and scream, and to force your captors to literally drag you off the field, is rather undignified. Then again, we don't place such a premium on dignity around here. I enjoyed your performance.
As an aside, Will Middlebrooks hit three home runs in this game, but I don't really care about that.
Click here to view further adventures in fans running on fields in the middle of baseball games.