October 14, 2003

Kudos to Cubs fan and up-to-the-minute blogger Brian Carstens. His [Untitled] Cubs Page has an eighth-inning dispatch on tonight's game. He pins the blame for a Cubs loss on Dutsy Baker, not the fan who interfered, not Gonzalez who booted a grounder, not a Billy Goat or anything else.

posted by msacheson to baseball at 10:17 PM - 64 comments

How can you not blame Ben Stiller and Gonzalez for each giving the Marlins an extra out? Baker definitely should've had a reliever up and pulled Prior sooner, but that's only one error among several in that disastrous inning.

posted by rcade at 10:32 PM on October 14

I don't see how the blame can be placed squarely on Baker's shoulders. Even without that fan's interference, Gonzo could've had that double play started to end The Inning(tm).

posted by NoMich at 10:35 PM on October 14

I blame Dusty. And the fan. And Gonzalez. And Prior. And the other pitchers. And olestra. And George Bush, if the mood strikes me. When a team scores eight runs in one inning, there's usually plenty of blame to go around. I don't blame the Billy Goat, though. He's just a (wait for it) scapegoat.

posted by dirigibleman at 10:42 PM on October 14

And olestra. And George Bush I blame olestra and George Bush for a lot of things, especially the nasty runs I get now and then, but in this instance I'll settle for ol' Dutsy.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:23 PM on October 14

I blame the Marlins getting hot.

posted by bcb2k2 at 11:38 PM on October 14

Also, any over/under on amount of time before the fan's personal information is on the net? Cuz you know it's coming...

posted by bcb2k2 at 11:42 PM on October 14

Frankly, I'm surprised that the fan wasn't beaten to death in the stands with his battered corpse tossed onto the field like a visiting team's home run. in this instance I'll settle for ol' Dutsy I love Dusty, but I also loved Bobby Cox and rooted for the Braves and watched him leave pitchers in too long and lose year after year before I decided he's just not a good postseason manager. And after seeing Dusty's Giants blow a 5-0 lead in Game 6 of the World Series last year and Dusty's Cubs blowing a 3-0 lead in Game 6 this year (in the 8th! with one out!) I'm getting the same feeling about Dusty.

posted by kirkaracha at 01:06 AM on October 15

I straight out blame Gonzalez; that was a play he should have made and it would have gotten them out of the inning. It was a total demoralizer too after what happened to Alou. Hopefully game 7 will be good to Cubs fans; I'd hate to see the lynching of Baker and Alou for blowing the series.

posted by therev at 07:49 AM on October 15

Doesn't this guy look just like Ben Stiller at the airport near the end of Meet the Parents? The news reports about this fan are insane -- he was apparently pelted with beer and peanuts as he sat weeping in his seat, then when security guards convinced him to leave both he and a guard were punched. Moises Alou has gotten over his momentary anger at the guy and is worried about him. A lot of Cubs fans aren't as charitable -- some even are going on record with their desire to beat him up, which kinda throws the whole "loveable loser" thing out the window.

posted by rcade at 07:59 AM on October 15

I heard on the radio this morning that there were fifty or so hate emails already sent to the guy... sitting next to him! Apparently, he's a fireman and the crew at the firehouse thought he was involved. All I can say is that poor Ben Stiller better not go to work today (or tomorrow if Kerry Wood doesn't save his ass).

posted by 86 at 08:11 AM on October 15

To me it looked liek he didn't even go into the playing area - the ball was foul - but Moises could've caught it. That's all. Magnified by 8000 cuz it's the Cubs. Poor guy. Just a Cubs fan.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:48 AM on October 15

Fooking brilliant...

posted by StarFucker at 09:13 AM on October 15

I feel bad for him. He was just reacting like anyone else would when you think a ball may be coming right at you. He clearly didn't lean onto the field of play, just hovered over the guiderail. Plus, he wasn't the only person trying to catch the ball, just the only one who got his hands on it.

posted by corpse at 09:37 AM on October 15

From the Chicago Sun Times this morning: "In the section where the ball fell....Pat Looney, 34, of the Northwest Side said... the (grabby fan) already had a ball from earlier in the game when Alou tossed one into the stands."

posted by holden at 09:50 AM on October 15

and the part of that quote that you left out, the most important part: "Pat Looney, 34, of the Northwest Side said the ball "was inside the rail.'' Looney said the man already had a ball from earlier in the game when Alou tossed one into the stands."

posted by corpse at 09:58 AM on October 15

I feel bad for this kid. Inevitably, his name is going to come out and this kid is going to have to leave town. It doesn't look like he did anything wrong really. He didn't seem to reach over. I don't know if in a split second situation like that, anyone would have had the frame of mind to get the hell out of the way. Alou would have had that ball, though. Cubbies, I'm rooting for you to rally tonight. Cubby fans, Red Sox fans understand your pain.

posted by jerseygirl at 10:20 AM on October 15

But what had been intense delirium about an anticipated win became a dreaded defeat by the top of the eighth when the mystery man interfered with a foul ball. Uh, this guy didn't cause eight goddamned runs to cross the plate. Your manager leaving a pitcher in too long and some shitty defense accomplished that. Outside Wrigley, it got ugly. "I'm pissed," said Meredith Voegtle, 21, of Chicago. "Dude, he's never going to have another friend. I hope he gets tormented in class. I don't feel bad for him at all.'' "Somebody should break his g--d--- arms,'' said Zvonimir Morie, 23, of Skokie. Chicago Ald. Tom Allen (38th) said he saw the interference play clearly from a seat in the upper deck and has a suggestion for the fan. "He better get a new address. He ought to move to Alaska,'' said Allen. You know, I'm rooting for the Marlins now. If Cubs fans think their stupid asses wouldn't have been up and jumping for that ball, which was either in the stands or right on the frigging fence, they're lying to themselves. And for an elected politician to publicly infer that the guy's life could be in danger? Fuck you, Chicago.

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:27 AM on October 15

Adding to his woes, the Cubs' new goat has developed a blue dot.

posted by rcade at 10:32 AM on October 15

It's nice of the media to relay so many death threats to the guy.

posted by rcade at 10:34 AM on October 15

It's probably a misleading angle, but doesn't this photo make it look as if the ball was not headed for the stands (and the ump should've called fan interference)? Ben Stiller is leaning over the rail and extending his arms as the ball arrives.

posted by rcade at 10:39 AM on October 15

It doesn't look like he did anything wrong really. If it's so clear that the guy was wrong, why didn't any of the other fans in the adjacent seats grab him and pull him back? From what I could tell, everyone around him was jostling for the ball also. I had a home run hit directly at me in Arlington Stadium once. I completely froze as I realized that the attention of 35,000 people and a fast-moving projectile were both being aimed at me -- and didn't even make an attempt to get the ball. It was great; my friends watched my moment of shame on SportsCenter over and over.

posted by rcade at 10:44 AM on October 15

Rcade, I think we can infer from the photo that the ball was right at the railing, or at most, a foot inside the wall. It doesn't appear Alou was leaning into the stands, but the guy's hands are positioned almost right above the wall. I know sitting at home watching games, I've yelled at fans to get the hell away from the ball ... but I've also caught two foul balls at major-league parks. You get so caught up in the moment, what the hell else are you supposed to do? And the story says another guy got the ball and was hopping up and down until he realized the other fella was getting booed. I'm betting he, and just about everyone else there, would have done exactly the same thing.

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:55 AM on October 15

rcade , this photo on cnn.com is from almost exactly the same time as the one you show. You can see how deceptive the angle is; My SF Giant fan friend who was just waiting for Baker to screw up is very happy now.

posted by stuartmm at 11:08 AM on October 15

You know what really caused the Cubs' downfall? Bernie Mac, when singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame", said "champs" instead of "home team" or "Cubbies" during the 7th inning stretch. You just don't tempt fate like that.

posted by Space Coyote at 11:10 AM on October 15

Show me a fan who wouldn't do the same thing that fan did. Poor guy. And people are threatening to kill him. I think some people need some perspective on life out there... Think of the BIG PICTURE, people..... That was a HUMILIATING loss though. I'll never understand walking batter after batter after batter though. Great idea...while your team is on a bad streak and their focus is gone...load up the bases. Great idea, Dusty!

posted by aacheson at 11:21 AM on October 15

The Curse of the Mac! There it is!

posted by lilnemo at 11:26 AM on October 15

Rcade's "blue dot" link says a Chicago paper has named the fan. Which one did?

posted by Justin Slotman at 11:56 AM on October 15

Looks like the Sun Times named the fan here.

posted by holden at 12:07 PM on October 15

that's a shame.

posted by jerseygirl at 12:16 PM on October 15

He loves baseball so much, he's the coach of the coach of the Rengades. Oh man. That poor dude.

posted by Samsonov14 at 12:23 PM on October 15

You know what really caused the Cubs' downfall? Bernie Mac, when singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame", said "champs" instead of "home team" or "Cubbies" during the 7th inning stretch. You just don't tempt fate like that. I had the same thought when one of the announcers, I forget which, said, "And the Chicago Cubs are nine outs from the World Series!" I got this feeling that this was the cue, this was the password, to set in motion the cosmic machinery--vast in scale, irrestible, and merciless--that would crush a whole city's hopes in its gears. No supplication--neither bended knee nor burnt offering--can reverse the turn of its wheels. What other explanation is there?

posted by Uncle Toby at 12:25 PM on October 15

Cubs should reverse their Karma and get this guy to throw the ceremonial first pitch tonight. Then watch Kerry Wood throw a shutout. Yeah... that's the ticket... The anti-Jeffery Maier, or whoever that Yankee-kid was/is. Anyway - regardless I'm rooting for the NL winner. The AL teams are chock full of assholes. Sorry Jgirl - Manny and Pedro are the biggest ones right now.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:28 PM on October 15

Also, I'm pretty sure I would have made a grab for the ball. Poor impulse control. I really hope the guy makes it through this without a beating, or even too much harsh language. What a thing to have hanging over your head when you report to the office next day.

posted by Uncle Toby at 12:29 PM on October 15

wow. rcade thanks for the link to the blue dot story since their site had a good video feed (i don't go searching for video highlights for baseball since the only place that comes to mind for me is the MLB website and they use realplayer which comes across as a crystal clear sound accompanying a shiatty slideshow despite my fast connection). this whole thing is getting blown up myth-making style like the sosa game 1 homer. they had plenty of opportunity to do something on the field that wouldn't have allowed 8 fricken runs. and, if the cubs win game 7, it may have the same impact as the mythological sosa HR - nada. CUBS are but 27 outs from an appearance in the world series!

posted by gspm at 12:42 PM on October 15

I like the idea of having Bartman throw out the first pitch.

posted by rcade at 12:55 PM on October 15

Jeez...there's no need for people to know this guys information! And a damn newspaper reporting it? Sick...

posted by bcb2k2 at 12:58 PM on October 15

At first I was going to say ... he must be some rich (what do you think the street value of first row, third base line tickets was) aloof (wearing a headset, sitting alone ... who goes to ball games alone?) jerk. And then ... I read his profile. Instead of being a rich aloof jerk, Bartman is a huge baseball fan who coaches a little league team. How sad, he got caught up in the game and may have cost his team a win. Just tragic.

posted by Mike McD at 12:59 PM on October 15

I think the Cubs should ask Steve to throw out the first pitch and have Alou walk him out there. For those of you who haven't seen, The Smoking Gun has an article here detailing their efforts to contact him. Poor guy. He's a dork with his headset on listening to the game and probably paid a buttload for his only ticket to the game.

posted by meanie at 01:02 PM on October 15

I kept hearing from the commentators that it was the fans' 'instinctive reaction' to reach for the ball out on the left field line. Well, that's a pretty stupid instinct to have acquired. Do these people not know the particular duties of being a home field crowd? That is: you help your team out when they're in the field by getting the fuck out of the way of the ball when there might be a catch to be made? I knew in my gut, though, as soon as Alou missed that catch, that the Marlins would, at the very least, tie up the game in the 8th. That was obvious from the position on the field. I didn't predict a complete collapse, though. That's far more to do with the team than the fans. Point is, if the Cubs win tonight, it ought to be forgotten. (Unless they lose the World Series because Kerry Wood had to start Game 7 of the NLCS instead of Game 1. Anyway.)

posted by etagloh at 01:03 PM on October 15

etagloh has a valid point. Ball players make catches in the stands on a pretty regular basis. They make these catches because on a routine basis the spectators stay out of the way.

posted by Mike McD at 02:12 PM on October 15

I'm going to defend the media for naming Ben Stiller. Anyone in Chicago who knew the guy would have recognized his face and Renegades sweatshirt on television. His identity was also known to park security. He may have blundered his way into Cubs infamy. That secret was going to get out.

posted by rcade at 02:27 PM on October 15

Rcade: But just because the secret is going to get out--a la Kobe Bryant's accuser--doesn't mean you have to be the one blabbing the secret. Kobe Bryant's accuser's identity has been kept mostly secret. When Bartman is getting death threats, I can't imagine why the Sun-Times thought it was a good idea to release his name. They shoulda waited for the six-months-later sunday feature story if they were going to talk about him.

posted by Justin Slotman at 02:35 PM on October 15

Weedy - that's the best idea I've heard in a while. Instant karma. Have him throw out the first pitch!

posted by dusted at 02:51 PM on October 15

But just because the secret is going to get out--a la Kobe Bryant's accuser--doesn't mean you have to be the one blabbing the secret. Three points: 1. It's the media. In almost all situations, their job is to be blabby. 2. No reporter who found his name today could have believed they would be the deciding factor in whether it stays secret or not. 3. Ben is news today. He isn't news six months from now. Sucks to be him, but when your face is plastered on TV and your name is known to dozens or even hundreds of people immediately, there's no way it was going to stay secret. I've been a reporter. In the rare occasion when you're the only one to know something, you bear responsibility for whether it is revealed or not. In all other cases, though, you gotta do the math and recognize that someone's going to report something -- so why not you?

posted by rcade at 02:59 PM on October 15

RC: In all other cases, though, you gotta do the math and recognize that someone's going to report something -- so why not you? JS: But we're talking editorial level here, not reporter level--we're talking the deliberate release by the Sun-Times of a man who various people want to "get." Plenty of reporters tracked down Kobe's accuser and editors en masse decided not to publish her name, only information about her. The same should have been done here--the guy is getting _death threats_.

posted by Justin Slotman at 03:07 PM on October 15

Justin, I agree entirely. I'm curious as to why you're addressing yourself, though. It's kind of creepy.

posted by Samsonov14 at 03:15 PM on October 15

Yeah... what up with that Rickey Henderson?

posted by jerseygirl at 03:17 PM on October 15

S I'm curious as to why you're addressing yourself, though. It's kind of creepy. JS: It's because I'm an HTML simp and thus cannot italicize anything without a control-alt-I function.

posted by Justin Slotman at 03:17 PM on October 15

Aw - c'mon, let's not blow this out of proportion. The guy gets death threats, big deal - Bill Buckner's still alive.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 03:40 PM on October 15

I find it fascinating that almost every reliable source is reporting that "it wasn't really the fan's fault." Never-the-less, many people want to believe that it was his fault so badly that they will ignore everyone - coaches, players, analysists, reports - that say otherwise. They'll even ignore evidence (like the different angle photo) that proves that it wasn't his fault. Such is the power of belief. Just like it is easy to believe that some curse has kept the Red Sox and Cubs out of the World Series as opposed to, say, a misbalance in the amount of money some teams have to spend on hiring players...

posted by Joey Michaels at 04:00 PM on October 15

Self-link: my blog post

posted by billsaysthis at 04:01 PM on October 15

I hate this. Rcade may disagree with me, but the reason as a media outlet we release the guy's name is it's our job. Bartman's face was plastered all over the news by the time the morning papers hit the streets because of the television coverage. Anyone in Chicago who knows Bartman was out saying they know the guy who blew last night's game for the Cubs. And you can make a pretty compelling case that someone sitting in the front row at a nationally televised baseball game has accepted that they might be filmed and hence, given up their right to privacy. I'm not saying I don't take the death threats seriously, but as a newspaper, having a few people say the guy should be killed cannot justify holding onto someone's name. This is not a witness in a Mob trial. As for Kobe Bryant's accuser, her (actions or attack, take your pick) were not in the public eye, and she is part of a criminal case. I feel like I need a long, hot shower after saying all that, and I'm betting the people at the Sun-Times had the exact same argument. If they're smart, they'll tell you about why they did it tomorrow. But it's still a shitty thing.

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:01 PM on October 15

Yo! Hey, what's happening, dude? I'm the guy with the rep for being rude. Terrorizing people wherever I go, It's not intentional, just keepin' the flow. Fixin' test scores to get the best scores. Droppin' banana peels all over the floor. I'm the kid that made delinquency an art; Last name Simpson, first name Bart. I'm here today to introduce the next phase, The next step in the big Bart craze. I've got a dance real easy to do; I learned it with no rhythm, and so can you. So move your body if you've got the notion, Front to back in a rock-like motion. Now that you've got it, if you think you can, Do it to the music -- that's the Bartman. I'm so very sorry.

posted by Ufez Jones at 04:16 PM on October 15

man, i was waiting for the Bartman. Good call Ufez.

posted by jerseygirl at 04:22 PM on October 15

SpoFi: We do show-tunes.

posted by lilnemo at 04:26 PM on October 15

... we're talking the deliberate release by the Sun-Times of a man who various people want to "get." People get death threats all the time; I've gotten one myself. It's disturbing, but a newspaper can't be in the business of protecting people by refusing to cover them when they are involved in newsworthy events. We -- and the rest of the sports world -- have been talking about the guy all day. His identity was known to dozens if not hundreds of people already. As for Kobe Bryant's accuser, the media policy towards alleged rape victims is an exceptional circumstance. Comparing that to a guy who has 15 minutes of fame because he tried to catch a baseball is apples and orangutans.

posted by rcade at 05:56 PM on October 15

I've gotten one myself. SF, You should be ashamed of yourself.

posted by jerseygirl at 06:01 PM on October 15

Shouldn't you be watching a game, jgirl?

posted by dusted at 06:07 PM on October 15

I am. WiFi :)

posted by jerseygirl at 06:10 PM on October 15

People get death threats all the time; I've gotten one myself. What a cop out!!! Bad things happen, so who cares if they happen some more? RationalizationFilter!

posted by billsaysthis at 06:15 PM on October 15

I heard on the ESPN radio today, that something happened in (IIRC) game 4 of the BoSox-Yanks series in which Trot Nixon leaned well into the right-field porch to rob Derek Jeter of a homer. Apparently the fans there had no problem of holding each other back not to interfere with the fielding of the ball. While BoSox fans disturb me with their drunken loutishness, this demonstrates that that they are smarter and truer fans, while it there's probably a lot of fair-weather fans of the oft-underachieving Cubbies who happened to be in attendance that night. If that isn't enough evidence for you, during this past summer it was revealed in several sources that the practice of Cubs outfield bleacher fans (the hard core fans who are portrayed in the famous play, and movie "Bleacher Bums") who would take proud delight throwing back opponent's home run baseballs, would switch baseballs, and throw back a different non-game ball that they had brought with them in anticipation of the such a moment. I hadn't heard nor read accounts of the schlub getting a ball already from Alou, and if it is true, that would really burn me if I were a true Cub fan.

posted by GoDizzGo at 06:32 PM on October 15

GoDizzGo, i can't buy your final argument. what the hell does it matter if the Bartman already had a ball from Alou? you're telling me that if you got a lazily tossed ball from an outfielder, when the next foul ball comes around you're gonna say "oh no, i've got this ball. i'll quickly move out of the way so someone else can catch it"? are u kidding me? there were at least 6-7 people reaching for that ball. i'm with you on the home run balls, though. if it were voluntary it would just be annoying, but the way they heckle and harass anyone who doesn't goosestep with their tradition is just lame, even without the swaps (which isn't surprising at all). wow! a stirring Red Sox comeback. i gotta find a tv.

posted by mrgrimm at 07:18 PM on October 15

In case you hadn't already seen it, Bartman is being offered asylum by Jeb Bush, and a free 3 month stay at a resort in Pompano Beach. And allow me just one more....WHOOOOOO!!! Go Marlins!! Bring on the Yanks/Sox/Curses/Fans/Whatevers...

posted by bcb2k2 at 11:14 PM on October 15

What a cop out!!! Bad things happen, so who cares if they happen some more? RationalizationFilter! It is a rationalization, but without it there'd be no news business. Thousands of people wanted to know who Ben Stiller was, so the media told them. People are dragged unwittingly into the spotlight all the time by the media. I'm guessing Mary Jo Buttafuoco didn't want to become a punchline for months when her husband's lover shot her in the head, nor do hundreds of crime victims want their names or addresses used in the paper each day.

posted by rcade at 07:24 AM on October 16

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