…and not necessarily in a good way. In the past week or so, we’ve been “treated” to various interactions between fans and players. You’ll see in a moment that two of these involve the Yankees, and I’m not trying to target them deliberately (one of these fans actually could have hurt the Yankees, literally), and the third is our new most-famous Wild fan.
1. Jeffrey Maier, 2.0
I’ve basically quit watching the baseball playoffs since the Twins were eliminated, not because I don’t care anymore, but because I’ve been too busy and playing Wii is more entertaining and satisfying. However, I have far too many baseball connections to avoid hearing about this play that happened in Game 4 of the ALCS. Robinson Cano hit a fly ball to deep right field, and when Nelson Cruz jumped at the wall to catch the ball, his glove made contact with about 4 different hands from fans in the first row of the seats. The ball ended up hitting the top of the wall and landed in the seats, while Cruz argued that fan interference should have been called. The play was not reviewed, and ultimately it didn’t change the outcome of the game.
I’ve heard some people saying that the ball was uncatchable. Here’s when Cruz first made contact with a fan.
Here’s when the ball first appears in the shot.
Notice that Cruz’s glove is still in contact with the fans. Here’s when the ball hit the wall.
I admit that it does hit the top of the wall, but that sure looks catchable to me. Cruz’s glove is bent backwards because he’s in contact with a fan, yet it’s still higher than where the ball landed. All he’d have to do is bend his elbow, remove those fans, and that ball should hit his glove. I’d also like to point out the interesting hand placement of the guy in the Yankees sweatshirt on the left.
Ah, that’s why that guy had his hand placed like that. If necessary, he was going to be the guy to slap the ball out of Cruz’s glove! I fully understand that the ball was safely in the stands by now, but if Cruz had caught the ball, this would have been a very blatant case of fan interference. Unfortunately, we were then treated to this (click to animate):
Our sweatshirted friend and his girlfriend are convinced that he single-handedly prevented Cruz from making the catch. The fat guy in the second row is saying words unfit for print. The guy to the right of the cursing sailor is chomping on his popcorn, enjoying the scene that has just unfolded. Our upper-left and lower-right corners have a father-son combo, of which the fathers both seem to enjoy pointing. Finally, the center of our attention must have just watched Office Space before coming to the game, because he’s doing a fantastic job of expressing himself. I’m not sure if he’s giving some double birds to Nelson Cruz or if he’s mocking Cruz for juggling the ball (which is ironic because Cruz never touched the ball) but he sure looks like a douche. Channeling my Most Interesting Man in the World, I would like to say that I don’t always call someone a douche, but when I do, I friggin’ mean it.
2. When keeping it real goes wrong
I don’t really know how to introduce this one, so I suppose I’ll just throw a video at you. If you’re impatient, just go straight to 0:58 of the video.
Watching the video, the fan (James Engquist) appears to only be clapping while Rick Rypien starts his walk to the locker room. Engquist later told Michael Russo of the Star Tribune that he also said, “Way to be professional” to Rypien, and that’s when Rypien grabbed him. Engquist is saying that he’s considering legal representation, which conflicts me. On one hand, it pains me to see a possible lawsuit coming, because I’m sick of everybody suing everybody over everything. On the other hand, I do agree that he was assaulted, and I would also be frustrated if I hadn’t received an apology from either the Canucks and/or Rypien.
What I find baffling, however, is that the Canucks are blaming the Wild and Engquist for this incident. Canucks color commentator John Garrett claims that Engquist was leaning over the railing, when it’s pretty clear that he’s standing straight up.
A member of the Canucks (I’m not sure if this means a player or coach or what) claims that Rypien was eye-gouged by Brad Staubitz, the Wild player that was involved in the altercation with Rypien before he grabbed Engquist. I don’t fully agree with Michael Russo that Staubitz couldn’t have eye-gouged Rypien, but I certainly disagree that this alleged eye-gouging happened for “up to 10 seconds.” If anything, I say 2 seconds, tops. Fortunately, Rypien has been suspended indefinitely, and I bet we’ll have a verdict on everything that happened in the next couple days.
3. Carrying out our fantasies just a little too far
If Rick Rypien grabbing James Engquist wasn’t shocking enough for you, then you’ll love this story. Returning to the ALCS, a fan jumped on to the field during Game 3. Fortunately, he made it about 4 feet before he was tackled by security, because he was carrying evidence that suggested that he wanted to hurt Alex Rodriguez, such as a photo of A-Rod with an X over his face and a picture of a gun pointed to his head.
Most of the time, our field jumpers are harmless and they just want some attention in the spotlight, but occasionally we run into someone like this guy. Perhaps Tasers on the field aren’t such a bad idea…
On a lighter note, today is the day that Off The Mark is officially one year old. I’ve chosen to celebrate like any one-year old would celebrate a birthday, and that’s by eating, sleeping, and wondering why we have a new, large rectangle in the corner of the living room that makes noise and displays moving pictures. According to all the adults in the room, it’s a “kick-ass TV.”