We’ve been trying to get to the bottom of what happened with that fan in last night’s eighth inning. What I’ve been told by multiple officials who work here at the stadium, all in private conversations, is that the fan was speaking mainly a language they thought was Portuguese and was visiting from overseas.
The fan was escorted out and the people accompanying him were apparently very apologetic about what happened.
Officially, the Mariners have yet to say anything about the incident. The fan in question — we have no idea whether he was an adult or a minor — was not arrested and did not do anything illegal. Because of that, security officials apparently did not take down his name or contact information.
He is also not banned from returning to Safeco Field — mainly because nothing illegal was done, like tresspassing on the field or assaulting anyone.
If we get more details, we’ll fill you in. But for now, from what I’ve pieced together behind the scenes, it appears as if this was a visitor from Portugal — or, possibly Brazil, since they speak Portuguese in that country and the fan appeared to be wearing a soccer jersey with Brazilian colors.
That would explain why he looked so utterly confused about what he’d done after he picked up the ball. Again, it’s a good thing nothing bad happened to him, espeically if this was just a misunderstanding.
The Mariners do make it a policy to tell fans seated along the outfield wall not to touch any balls hit towards them. But nobody from the team’s security office or community relations staff could tell me whether or not this was done and whether the fan had been warned beforehand not to do what he did.
It’s kind of important, because it may have cost the home team the game. But in the end, no championships were won or lost because of it.
Just take note: you can’t pick up balls when they are hit down the line and are ruled to be fair.
There, you’ve been warned. Now, the Mariners security folks can worry about stopping guys who jump on the field.
Great discussion on the blog all day about the fan thing and a lot of back-and-forth from both sides. I saw a lot of the passion that I often find missing here at the ballpark. We’ll talk about it more tomorrow, but for now, I just wanted to assure you that I have been reading. Just don’t want to fluff this off in a post that will be overtaken within the hour.
Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said he viewed the replay right after the play occured and has seen it since. On the question of whether Ichiro would have scored, he was again leaning towards a “yes”.
“It’s hard to say,” Wakamatsu said. “With Ichi running, he usually scores on something like that and that was our argument.”
The thing to remember about Ichiro is that he runs the bases very well and doesn’t take any wide, slowing turns at third. He picks up speed once he gets motoring and so, while he may have only been halfway to second as David DeJesus neared the ball, he still could have covered a whole lot of ground by the time the throw got back in.
Remember, the ball could have caromed around off the retaining wall. He could have fumbled it picking it up. And, the way Ichiro runs, it would have taken a dead accurate throw to make it. Knowing that Ichiro was the guy running, DeJesus, who has a great arm, still might have made an off-target throw.
DeJesus himself thought Ichiro was going to score. And if that was in his head, he might have made a less-than-perfect play. That’s why teams try to “pressure” outfielders by being extra aggressive. So, we’ll never know. But it gave us something good to talk about in the context of what we’d already been discussing before the fan interfered with the play.
Part of what I read on here today is that a lot of fans here hail from other places. Sometimes other countries and sometimes from various states. But yes, that can have, I suppose, an impact on the atmosphere in a ballpark. You might not have the generations of fans living and dying with the home team that you do in other places.
More omn this tomorrow, like I said.
Milton Bradley is again out of the lineup. The team says he has bruising on the “fat pad” just inside the kneecap. Didn’t know Bradley had a “fat” anything on his body, but there you go. He’s still day-to-day.