Like Marvin Once Asked, What’s Goin On??

By Tony McClean
Updated: May 19, 2006

“I’m not going to let one incident ruin what I came here to do, what I came here to help do. I’m not going to leave here until I help this team win.”

— Jacque Jones, Chicago Cubs outfielder
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — This week while Barry Bonds was trying to catch Babe Ruth (again) and while LeBron was doing his best MJ impersonation, another disturbing chapter in sports history was being written in Wrigley Field.
After a base running blunder by Chicago’s Jacque Jones Tuesday night, the beloved “Bleacher Bums” decided it was time to take action. An alleged female “fan” pulled a reverse Wrigley tradition on the home team.
For those who don’t know, whenever a visiting player hits a homer against the Cubbies that goes into the bleachers, the fan is “supposed” to toss it back on the field.
A female fan sitting in the bleachers threw a ball that nearly hit Jones in the head at the start of the ninth inning in Tuesday’s 4-0 win against the Nationals. Earlier in the game, Jones singled with none out in the fourth and was doubled off at second base.
“I threw a ball to Juan (Pierre) during warm ups, and turned around to go back to my position and a ball came whizzing past my head,” Jones told “They said whoever threw it was drunk. It went right past my face.”
It was later reported by a Cubs spokesperson that the female fan was detained by security, but was not arrested.
According the Chicago Sun-Times, the team declined to have the woman arrested because she said she did not intend to throw the ball at Jones and because the aforementioned tradition makes it hard to single out someone for doing likewise
In the words of the late Vince Lombardi, “What the hell’s going on out here”?
Considering the recent history of fan violence in the United States, especially in Chicago over the last three to four years, what kind of non-action was this?
Don’t they remember the Chad Krueter incident? Or what about the Tom Gamboa incident at Comiskey? What about the “Malice At The Palace” just over a year ago in Detroit?
When the “Palace” incident happened, one of the key issues I thought that was being overlooked was the epidemic-like way that fan violence is slowly and sadly not being addressed by college and professional officials.
I truly feel that this is a major issue that mainstream media is completely missing the boat about. While they’re spending so much time talking about the size of Barry’s head, they’re not looking at the folks who are aiming and throwing things at it.
We’ve already seen fake syringes being thrown at Bonds in San Diego and crowds in Houston give a mediocre reliever a standing ovation for repeatedly throw at him. What the hell do you think is going to happen this weekend in Oakland.
The A’s faithful at McAfee Coliseum already has a dubious history as well. A fan threw a beer at Jason Giambi just last season. It was the third altercation between A’s fans and players in a three-year span.
Texas Rangers reliever Frank Francisco threw a chair into the crowd after a shouting match with a fan in 2004. The previous season, a fan threw a cell phone that hit then-Rangers outfielder Carl Everett in the head.
All of these events, including the woman throwing at Jones this week, have been categorized by many in the media as simply isolated incidents.
I beg to differ. We’ve been seeing way too many of these incidents creep into the sport stands over the last few years. Now I’m not trying to compare it to the craziness of European soccer fans, but dammit it’s getting there.
I really don’t think I’m overreacting here. What’s it going to take for these college and professional folks to police these fans who get a little liquid courage in them and decide to take on the players?
Is someone, either a fan or a player, going to have to be killed before someone steps in to protect the folks that just wanna watch the game?
I hope that I’m not a lone voice, but unfortunately I get the feeling that no one can hear me because the half naked guy in the fifth row is screaming and throwing his beer at a player on the free throw line.