I want to put a couple of things on the record regarding this Sheffield/Idiot Fan controversy. My posts about Michael Kay and his fellow booth members aside, I don’t think this issue has anything to do with the Sox and Yankees. It has everything to do with the relationship between fans and players. This incident could have easily been transposed to a Wrigley bleacher creature and a visiting outfielder, or to any pro hockey rink’s penalty box. In the specific case last night, we have a fan who may or may not have taken a swipe at a player (having watched numerous replays I think that barring a confession the verdict will remain indefinitely out), and a player who clearly lost his cool. This shouldn’t happen. First, the fan should keep his or her hands in the stands. That’s the end of that. If he doesn’t, he or she should be ejected. Second, the player should never cross the line and take a shot at a fan. If he does, without incontrovertible evidence that he was violently provoked, he should be suspended.
What’s actually being overblown here is not the concept of what happened last night – a fan and player getting entangled in an ugly incident and the repurcussions and implications of such an incident, but the Yankees/Sox aspect of it. To restate – I think this issue of the safety of players, their reasonable expectations of being buffered against overzealous fans, and how far a player should go to “protect” themselves is a huge one. But I think it goes far beyond this rivalry, and that’s the aspect of it we should avoid overdoing.