In a September, 2002, game between the the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, Royals first base coach, Tom Gamboa, had his eyes and mind focused on the game, not any of the 10,354 fans. In the ninth inning, with his team up 2-1, Gamboa was viciously attacked by two shirtless fans, causing an eruption from his Royals’ dugout in defense of Gamboa and forcing him to the bottom of a dogpile.
The father and son attackers left Gamboa with multiple lacerations, bruises and permanent hearing damage in his right ear. Upon investigation following the attack, a folded up pocket knife was found at the scene.
It’s this type of story that validates Orioles’ outfielder Adam Jones’ response to the two fans who ran on the field during Tuesday’s game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
“I think it’s idiotic for people to run on the field, and I think the punishment needs to be a lot harsher, and they should let us have a shot to kick them with our metal spikes on because it’s stupid,” Jones said. “You look like an [idiot] when you run on the field.”
Jones didn’t stop there.
“I remember a couple of years ago, one dude broke his ankle in Baltimore. I was laughing at him. I wish he shattered his femur because it’s stupid. It’s just plain old stupid. Anybody who does it, I wish the cops tase the [hell] out of them. I wish that.”
His aggressive and passionate response to the matter has gotten the attention of Major League Baseball officials, who are reviewing his comments.
As of now, it isn’t clear if the review is to punish Jones for condoning violence on these criminals or if it is to review his suggestion for stiffer penalties. I, for one, hope it is the latter.
This country is constantly on edge when it comes to violent attacks, and too often we find ourselves in mourning following the actions of extremely deranged individuals. It is for that reason that Jones’ comments should be applauded.
Had Jones not made such animated comments in response to these fans, we may not be talking about this topic today. It would be just another side story, only remembered by those who watched or listened to the game.
It’s clear that the punishments in place aren’t enough and MLB needs to take notice.
At one point, one of the two fans on the field during Tuesday’s game hid behind Orioles’ infielder Ryan Flaherty. Though Flaherty took a more subdued response to the situation in post-game interviews, there had to be some sort of fear while it was occurring.
Who’s to say the fan didn’t have a hidden weapon or intent to harm somebody? Though it was clear the fans were just inebriated and immature, there is always the potential for something much more heinous.
Going back in time, there is a long history of fans running on the field during sporting events. At first, it was to celebrate their city’s team winning an important game. Then it evolved into an opportunity to storm and loot the field. We have seen people jump on the field to burn flags in protest, and we have seen fans run on the field to kiss their favorite player.
Now, we see fans running on the field for attention, and, in the case of the 2002 father-son duo, we see fans running on the field with violent intentions.
In the day and age we live in, when a fan makes his/her way on the field, outfielders should retreat to the bullpen and players in the infield should retreat to their respective dugouts just as they would during an abrupt weather delay, leaving the fan alone on the field with a dozen armed security guards or police officers. It is not worth the risk for player to wait for the next psychotic fan, and MLB has to know this.
Adam Jones is 100-percent correct on this matter and I hope the attention he has given this story leads to some changes on the part of MLB.