The Yankees looked ugly once again Friday, but the evening’s most embarrassing performance came from the crowd.
It was the bottom of the eighth inning when fans began throwing baseballs onto the field. New York was in the midst of a three-error, 8-2 loss to the Rays. Another listless night in each phase of the game meant sole possession of last place for the 5-8 Bombers. The 10,202 fans at Yankee Stadium were collectively frustrated, but that doesn’t excuse those who peppered the diamond with projectiles while unsuspecting Rays fielders manned their positions.
Fortunately, no players were hurt as a result of the temper tantrum, which halted play for a few minutes and prompted a public address warning. That didn’t stop the pack from demanding that more baseballs be thrown onto the field, though.
Aaron Boone said he hated the sight.
“Unfortunately, a handful of people end up doing it and it looks bad for everyone,” the manager said, adding that he had never seen such a display during his decades around the game. “It’s unfortunate that that happened.”
Whoever took part ought to receive bans. With crowd capacities still limited, the perpetrators shouldn’t be hard to identify.
Naturally, some online defended the actions of those in attendance. Some were just angry over another lackluster game. Others argued the stunt would serve as some sort of wakeup call for the organization and its brass with the Yankees on their way to securing the American League's worst record.
But let’s be clear. There is no justification for throwing anything on a field, and doing so because your baseball team isn’t playing well is particularly childish. Reliever Michael King said fans “have to keep their composure” just like players do. A more deserving message would have been, “grow up.”
Of course, not every fan at the game threw something, and not every person who saw it unfold appreciated it. It’s not unreasonable for more level-headed people to still be upset with the way the Yankees are playing. Their lineup, loaded with heavy hitters, is struggling to score enough runs. The pitching staff has done little to silence the questions that surrounded it entering the season. The defense has been a nightly disaster.
The Yanks have looked like the bottom feeders they currently are. Boone gets the indignation, even if he doesn’t condone the way it was expressed Friday night.
“I understand we have as passionate a fan base [as there is] with understandable, high expectations. As does every guy in our room,” the skipper said, adding that he addressed the team after the game. “We expect to play better. We also understand that adversity is gonna hit us at some point, and it’s certainly at our doorstep right now. We’ve gotta answer it and we’ve gotta find out what kind of club we are when we’re going through a tough time.”
Luckily for New York, it’s still mid-April. Perhaps some have lost sight of that following an abbreviated 2020 campaign. But the MLB season is back to being a marathon, not a sprint, and the Yankees have the time—and the talent—to overcome this early slump.
“There’s plenty of time to turn it around,” Giancarlo Stanton said. “It’s not time for panic buttons or none of that.”
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