I really don't get it.
I've always been proud of Minnesota sports fans. Yeah, I'm sick to death of many Vikings fans (especially the fair weather variety). And I've made jokes over the years about all sorts of things relating to being a fan of sports teams in Minnesota.
I was crabby about what happened at Monday night's Twins game against the Yankees. Sure, boo Chuck Knoblauch. The guy was a jerk when he played in Minnesota and he openly and very publicly told people he didn't like it here and wanted to be traded. So I understand booing him when he returns on another team.
Even though, quite frankly, I'm very grateful for what happened. That deal got the Twins Guzman (one of my favorite players) and Milton and Buchanan. Fine by me.
But throwing things at players is just plain wrong and stupid and . . . ugh. I've never ever seen it before at a Twins game (and I've gone to a lot of games).
The worst related behavior? Beachballs that accidently fell on the field. And paper airplanes that made it onto the field.
I went to the game on Tuesday night. The Twins lost, it was a very L O N G game. And the crowd was excited, into the game. I saw more signs in the stands than I have in ages. And the left field crowd booed Knoblauch and heckled him-- but they didn't throw anything on the field. They went through an impressive 10 beachballs (a couple of which did land on the field), but that was it. I thought the added security and the general disgust over behavior on Monday night was the end of things.
And then tonight things got really really bad. I don't even want to link to accounts, frankly, because they embarass me as a Twins fan. Of course I don't think that many (if any) of the people responsible really despise Knoblauch that much. I think it's more Something Crazy To Do. At the ballpark. With a mob of people, many of whom had been drinking, I'm sure. Mob mentality at work? Of course.
Some local news people have tried to blame the behavior on younger crowds, the fact that so many teenagers and college students are showing up. But honestly, I don't buy that.
Jerks are jerks, no matter what age group.
I'd like to say it's cool that more people are going to the ballpark these days-- but it's not cool if they're there for the wrong reason.
It's embarassing and nasty and wrong.
I was heartened at Tuesday's game because the crowd was cheering the right things. Mientkiewicz got, by far, the most applause, for instance. Whereas in the past how much applause players got depended more on personality than on how they were playing. And the crowd around me seemed to know their stuff re the Twins and/or Yankees. The signs in the crowd were clever, for the most part, and positive.
I didn't boo Knoblauch this time around. I didn't cheer him either. I did clap for Bernie Williams, because I like him. Even though of course I wanted the Twins to beat the Yankees. I cheered a lot for the Twins. And I'll keep cheering and going to games. Hoping (and knowing) that the positive people in the crowd outweigh the jerks that came close to costing us the game tonight. And who made this win rather bittersweet.
It's strange to me that the nasty stuff happened at the games we *won* against the Yankees. After Good Things happened for our team.
What a bizarre way to celebrate.
Yeah, like you said.
I heard the report of the incidents on the drive in to work this morning and thought, "wait a minute, the Twins are at home." One expects obnoxious fans in Yankee stadium, it's part of their tradition, afterall. Throwing things at players is even out of character for them, however.
And hot dogs and beer cups is one thing. You can see where a person might get riled up at a game and do something stupid with what's at hand. But why would you bring golf balls to the game? It shows some fans planned to show up and cause trouble, maybe even injure someone. (Unless there was a golf ball give-away that night or something.)
Posted by: Peter Hentges at May 3, 2001 10:52 AM
Exactly! You said it much more eloquently than I. I had a huge, long rant going but it was making me so cranky to keep looking at it that I had to whittle it down a shade. Plus, not being a Twins fan made me feel like I was attacking them without much base of reference, so... glad to see your post as it elucidates my thoughts in a much more coherent fashion.
Posted by: vix at May 3, 2001 04:44 PM