Some slightly inebriated young women at the Astros game in Houston tonight were being interviewed for booing Bonds. When asked what they would do if they caught #756, one little miss tipsy swore she would throw it back. When pressed and informed the ball would be worth at least a million dollars, she continued to insist she would throw it back.
To borrow from Forrest Gump, hatred is as stupid does. A reasonable person could go insane contemplating whether she is stupid enough to actually think she would throw the ball back, or whether she is stupid enough to actually throw the ball back. Or whether she is stupid enough to not grasp that hatred like that is, well, just plain stupid. What a goober. Having lived in Oklahoma awhile, trust me when I tell you a drunk Texas cowgirl, as purty as they are when you’re seeing double, ain’t worth the ride. “All my ex-es live in Texas” is more than just a cheap rhyme.
This is Houston, after all, where last year during this series Russ Springer disgracefully toyed with Bonds before beaning him, cheered by a slavering Houston crowd mad with blood lust. Hatred is as stupid does.
In 1965 five thousand Houston fans rushed the Beatles plane on the runway at two in the morning, preventing it from taxiing. Some climbed on the wings, smoking cigarettes around thousands of pounds of jet fuel. Others cheered them on.
The crowds can get a little manic in Houston. Some Astros fans, in particular Thomas over at ‘Stros Brothers, has taken umbrage to my remarks regarding Springer’s beaning of Bonds. He suggests I expend my efforts gathering signatures to eliminate dodge ball from school programs. I suspect he considers me to be some sort of lily livered wimp, the kind who grows faint at the sight of blood.
Not quite. I survived seven years in a juvenile detention facility, affectionately known as a juvy, in my twenties (check out my other blog, Performancer). I would dare say I have been on the receiving end of as much violence as anyone. I’m not whining: I meted out pretty much as much as I got. But I was always professional about it. I did not toy with them. Nor did I carry grudges.
To this day I am admittedly more sensitive to violence than most. I don’t watch violent movies. I don’t like violent sports. There is a reason I am a baseball fan, and not a boxing fan or even a football fan. My son and co-author here at SBY were at a hockey match last winter when a particularly nasty fight broke out. The reaction of the crowd sickened me. It was the same bloodlust I would see on the faces of the non-participants whenever something particularly violent happened at the juvy. There’s something about the smell of blood, about the darkest emotions, that people find absurdly, and dangerously, pleasurable.
I must confess I was shocked by the reaction to my last blog. I still can’t comprehend how anyone could consider the events of Tuesday night anything less than disgraceful. The controversy quite literally shocked me, and I’ve seen enough I’m not usually shocked. How anyone could justify what transpired, whatever they think of Bonds, is beyond my comprehension.
Tell you what. Let’s do this in true baseball spirit. Bill Veeck would love this. Let’s give a ball to the first twenty thousand fans to the ballpark and let them throw a baseball at Bonds. Let them take out their frustrations with a steroid era for which they now accept no responsibility. Remember McGwire? Sosa? Palmiero? Or, perhaps a little closer to home for Houston, Ken Caminiti? We fans bought the tickets to watch them blast balls out of parks in ways we knew weren’t natural. But no, it’s just Bonds. He’s the culprit. Let’s stone the symbol of our collective shame, then maybe this will all just go away.
Or let’s stone him because he is repugnant. Because we don’t like him. We do that, don’t we? Hit people we do not like? He deserves it, after all. He “made his bed”, after all. He asked to be hit. Isn’t that always the justification? I think I’ve heard that same argument made by men who beat women.
Amazingly, one Astros fan who was offended by my description of the events wrote that she was terribly concerned who the San Francisco team was going to retaliate against. “I just hope no one gets hurt.”
Uh, yeah. As Matt at Diamondhacks observed, fastballs are dangerous things.
So are crowds. So are fanatics who will defend the indefensible in defense of their team. There is a certain mania that is evoked by such relatively trivial objects like sports teams, celebrities and musicians. I’m not the one who doesn’t understand its only a game. — Michael Norton
What happened in Houston tonight was beneath baseball. With the game out of hand 11-3, Russ Springer threw four pitches deliberately designed to hit Bonds. The first sailed behind him. The umpire warned him. The second almost hit him, but was close enough to being a legitimate inside pitch to keep Springer in the game. The third hit the knob of the bat as Bonds tried to get out of the way. Springer should have been tossed. The fourth hit Bonds squarely.
I don’t even have words for it. Springer was toying with Bonds with the beanball. Disgraceful. The Houston fans applauded Springer. “Jerry…Jerry…”.
This is what hate hath wrought.