Sunday, January 09, 2011

Top Fan Moments in History

I enjoy the MLB Network.  One of their "top" lists is a show about the top fan moments in history.  I love baseball fans and how they fit into the fabric of a game and into the mosaic of history.  When I'm at a game, I pay special attention to fans.  I'm a people watcher.

As a participatory fan, I love to see how other fans and fans in general contribute to baseball.  One of the things I think is most lacking about how baseball is viewed throughout history is the lack of attention paid to fans.  We always hear about great players and the Hall of Fame.  We hear about great managers, great ballparks, great seasons and pennant races, great personal achievements.  And yes, we hear about fans, but only sometimes.  We hear about how nasty Yankees fans can be and about how early Dodger fans can leave a game.  How knowledgeable Cardinals or Red Sox fans are, or how few Expos fans there are.  Or were.  But overall, there is relatively little said about fans as compared with other aspects of baseball.

And this is why I really enjoyed a MLB Network countdown on the top fan moments in baseball history.  There were some really great ones.  Tiger fans pelting Ducky Medwick with fruit, vegetables and bottles in game 7 of the 1934 World Series after Medwick slid hard into 3rd base.  Steve Bartman and Jeffrey Maier were also featured.  Chris Chambliss' pennant winning home run through the mob on the field.  Nickel beer night in Cleveland where the drunken fans went wild, storming the field and causing a near riot, forfeiting the game for the Tribe.  A female fan goes nuts after Ichiro reached into the stands for a ball and touched her.  Reading her lips, it was easy to tell that she called her mom from her cell phone to tell her all about it.  Or the fan in Houston that ducked out of the way of a foul ball at the last second, only to have the ball clock his girlfriend.  And of course, the two guys that ran out on the field to congratulate Hank Aaron on his 715th home run during his home run trot.  There was a great video clip of a ten year old kid who made a spectacular catch of a foul ball, only to catch a second one a few pitches later in the same at bat.

But the fan moment that took the cake as the most memorable of all time was the Bill Veeck stunt gone bad: Disco Demolition night in Chicago's Comiskey Park.  Fans got in for a discount if they brought a disco record to be blown up between the games of a double header.  Chicago rock radio DJ Steve Dahl was there to officiate the destruction.  A box of the records was exploded, and rock music fans went wild, storming the field and completely destroying it.  You could see fans from the upper deck slide down the foul poles to the field.  The White Sox had to forfeit the second game of the double header.  Yeah, gotta love the fans.

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