Today, I am embarrassed to admit that I am a lover of professional baseball, and for that, I can "thank" the dozens, if not hundreds of thugs masquerading
as fans that attended the "Wild Card" playoff game involving Atlanta and St.
Louis at Turner Field on Friday, Oct. 5.
At the turning point of a thrilling game in the eighth inning, a terrible call
was made by an umpire, which could have cost Atlanta the game.
What ensued was a national disgrace: dozens, if not hundreds of attendees,
many no doubt fueled by alcohol, pelted the field with debris, including cans
and bottles, placing the umpires and players in fear for their safety. Whatever
security was in place was unable to quell the disturbance, which continued
for 20 minutes, during which the game was suspended.
Is this what we have come to, that when an umpire, a fallible human being,
makes a mistake, albeit a critical one, outrage and mayhem shall follow? What lesson are the adults (in age only) who lost their tempers and sacrificed their
dignity providing for impressionable children who watch the games?
I wonder if any of the hooligans believe that the Braves, particularly
superstar third baseman Chipper Jones playing his last game in a stellar
two-decade career, wanted their season to end (and Jones his career to conclude) with this humiliation, whether any of them considered a near-riot to be a splendid show of support for the hometown team.
I have traditionally thought of boxing, hockey, and football as blood sports whose foundation is violence. Must we add "America's pastime" to the list?