By Tom Warner (Baltimore Or Less)
Today Major League Baseball announced that it is investigating Orioles All-Star center fielder Adam Jones‘s comments about fans who venture onto playing fields for their 15 minutes of fame. That means Jones might face some sort of disciplinary action by the High Sheriffs of MLB, which would be more idiotic a response than the actions of the drunks and egotistical idiots who interrupt televised sporting events for their own self-glorification. Jones is an outspoken, larger-than-life personality who tells it like it is, which is one of the reasons he’s a fan and press favorite, not to mention a clubhouse leader.
Jones was reacting to an incident earlier in the week when two fans ran onto the field in the eight inning of a game at Yankee Stadium; it was not the first time Jones has witnessed goofs trespassing on his outfield turf – Baltimore’s “Batman” streaker (aka Mark Harvey of Severn) interrupted the O’s 2012 season opener against the Minnesota Twins at Camden Yards, as shown below.
Other Camden Yard turf invaders that season included Zachary Gregoricus (who ran onto the field and slid into second base and was fined $500) and Christopher Fatkin (who was tackled by an umpire after eluding security and was also fined $500).
For the record, here’s what the O’s franchise player had to say after Tuesday night’s Yankee Stadium shennanigans:
“I think it’s idiotic for people to run on the field and I think the punishment needs to be a lot harsher and they should let us have a shot to kick them with our metal spikes on. Cause it’s stupid. I get it, you’re drunk and you want to be on Sportscenter. Your [expletive] is going to jail with a fine, you might not be allowed to come back to the ballpark. That’s heads up. And I remember a couple of years ago, one dude broke his ankle in Baltimore. I was laughing at him. I wish he shattered his femur. Because it’s stupid, it’s just point blank stupid. And anybody who does it, I wish the cops tased the living [expletive] out of them. I wish that.”
Watch Jones talking about free-range fans on ESPN Sports Center:
And Jones elaborated more on what he thinks MLB should do about fans running on the field when talking to SiriusXM radio’s Adam Schein.
Interviewed by the Washington Post’s Scott Allen, Jones suggested MLB should fine offending fans (“…where you really hurt people nowadays is you hurt their pockets…”) and pointed out a better way for fans to be rude to opposing teams: “Cuss us out, let us have it, give us a ribbing, remind us of our last five at-bats if they’ve been terrible, please do, but just stay off the field because you’re just causing a problem that doesn’t need to be caused.”
As CBS Sports writer Matt Snyder later commented:
On one hand, the players shouldn’t discuss harming fans. After all, fans are why the players are able to get paid so handsomely to play a game.
On the other hand: Sigh.
Jones didn’t discuss harming just a garden variety group of fans (plus, read what I wrote earlier in the week about how generally great he is to fans). He targeted morons who decide to trespass by running onto the field. It’s a threat to player safety and it’s illegal. The field is the domain of the players and random fans in this day and age can’t be trusted to simply run around at will. This is unacceptable.
I really hope MLB doesn’t discipline Jones here. He spoke his mind and characters are always good for the game. Derek Jeter, for example, is one of the all-time great players and an unbelievably respectable human being — but if every single player answered every single question the way Jeter does, it would be pretty boring, no?
Let’s not try and shut the Adam Joneses of the world up. They provide an extra layer of fun when there isn’t game action.
Of course, the O’s aren’t the only team in town to be visited by Baltimore Batman. The same year he fan bombed the O’s season opener, this man of all seasons turned up at a September football game between the Ravens and the Patriots at M&T Bank Stadium, as shown below.
Mark “Batman” Harvey considered himself a hero fighting for the rights of the oppressed, specifically bullied kids. He not only runs around fields with an anti-bullying slogan painted on his chest, he also runs a web site (biggerthanbullying.com) selling anti-bullying t-shirts, wristbands and stickers.
“Kids are dying because kids are picking on kids,” the Caped Crusader said at the time of his arrest. “I thought, ‘I can make a difference.’ ” (Hmmm, just like Rainbow Man, “Rockin'” Rollen Stewart, aka “John 3:16” made a difference with his multicolored Afro wigs and kidnapping antics?)
Of course, some would say he’s bullying the professional ballplayers and season ticket holders by interrupting their games for shameless self-promotion – even for a noble cause.
(Harvey’s live sports venue options are dwindling; he’s now banned from Camden Yards and M&T Stadium, but suggested he would make an attempt at basketball if Baltimore ever got a team back. He has not yet been sported at a Blast indoor soccer game at First Mariner Arena).
Technically, one could say Donald Kroger fan-bombed our dearly departed Memorial Stadium back on December 19, 1976, but at least he crashed his plane in the stands after the game – a disastrous day all around, as the Colts had just lost a playoff game to the Pittsburgh Steelers by 40-14.
Of course, Baltimore’s most famous – and dangerous – turf invasion happened in 2000 at the Pimlico Race Course during the running of the 125th Preakness. That’s when a drunk 23-year man named Lee Chang Ferrell stumbled out of the infield during the running of an undercard race, the Maryland Breeders Cup Stakes, and tried to punch champion horse Artax!
For those who have forgetten this classic moment in Baltimore Babylon lore, here’s ESPN writer Bill Finley’s recap (“Preakness Puncher Won’t Be Back“):
Before a stunned crowd of 100,311, Ferrell vaulted from the infield, where he had been drinking heavily, ran across the turf course and planted himself on the main track while the horses were coming down the stretch for the Maryland Breeders’ Cup Stakes. Risking his own life, as well as those of the jockeys and horses in the race, he took a wild swing at Artax, who would go on to win the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint and the 1999 Eclipse Award for outstanding sprinter. With Jockey Jorge Chavez able to steer his mount out of the way at the last second, neither Ferrell nor any of the horses or jockeys were seriously hurt.
Ferrell was arrested and charged with first and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, trespass and alcohol-related offenses. Able to avoid jail time, he was sentenced to a three-year suspended sentence and five years of probation. He was also ordered to continue psychological counseling and to enroll in a vocational skills training program.
While idiots like Ferrell are now banned from Pimlico, the Preakness still attracts its fair share of boobs, as shown below.
And speaking of boobs, I really don’t think Adam Jones or any other Birds would complain if the volumptuous Morganna, baseball’s Kissing Bandit, planted one on them at home plate, like she did to Cal Ripken, Jr. at Memorial Stadium back in 1988.
That’s right, the exotic dancer who as a teen used to strip at the Flamingo Club on Baltimore’s Block, bussed Junior before more than 50, 000 fans as he came to bat May 2, 1988 during “Fantastic Fan Night” at Memorial Stadium. (Read more about it in Frederick Rasmussen’s Baltimore Sun report, “Back Story: The night ‘Kissing Band’ came to town.”)
Now that’s what I call an intentional free pass to First Base! (Or perhaps a walk-off boner?)
“MLB Investigating Adam Jones after comments about fans” (CBSSports.com)
“Camden Yards Streaker Was Clad in Undies and a Cape” (Deadspin.com)
Batman Streaker Strikes at Sunday’s Ravens Game (Baltimore Sun)
Baltimore Batman Strikes Again (Deadspin)
Morganna rushes infield and kisses Cal Ripken, 1988 (Baltimore Or Less)