Friday, October 16, 2015

Baseball Talk: 2015 Texas Rangers and why MLB must take action

I want to start by saying I am proud to be a fan of the best baseball club in Texas.  The Rangers have an amazing fan base and a team that never quit through amazing adversity all season long.  This team showed more heart arguably than either of the two prior World Series teams.  They made baseball fun and for that, I thank them.  Texas Rangers fans, the real ones, rallied around their players after the debacle of Game 5 in the ALDS.  We will come back next year a better, stronger club and a better fan base.  We will survive.  We have faced adversity before.  We are strong.  We are Texans.    This team and it's fans are a testament to all that is right in Major League Baseball. 

On the other hand the club they were playing is an example of everything wrong in sports. 

If you did not see what happened in Toronto on Wednesday it was a complete embarrassment to the league. (I am not going to even address the ridiculous behavior of Joey Bautista.  He isn't worth my energy.)  However, the fans of the Toronto Blue Jays in anger over a call spent several innings throwing beer cans from the upper decks down onto the field and should be ashamed.  At one point, women in the stands with small children were struck by flying debris.  The teams and media were outraged.  Watching at home, I was shocked that play was not stopped.   It was absolute insanity. 

I have listened and read media accounts of the atmosphere inside the stadium and to say it was hostile is an understatement.  Ken Rosenthal of Fox sports wrote an excellent article Ugly Scene at Rogers Center Can't Happen Again which explains everything that happened.  There is no question players were upset, and rightly so.  

The behavior of fans of this team has been questionable at best throughout the series.  Childish is the best description possible for the way this clubs fans behave.   After a disputed call in the second game in the series a petition was started by Blue Jays fans calling for an investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police into a conspiracy by MLB to keep Toronto from advancing.  Give me a break.   

What is worse is that the animosity spilled over to other fan bases.  One Astros fan on Twitter, clearly ignorant of the rules of the game, accused the Rangers of cheating on the play in game 5.  Actually, the play was a very heads up play by Rangers 2nd baseman Odor which lead, at that time, to the go ahead run scoring.  The umpires held a conference and even reviewed a non-reviewable play with New York and got the call right.  This however led to the mayhem which ensued in Toronto.  

The TV crew did a great job explaining why the call was correct.  The Blue Jays filed a protest even though they had to know the call was correct, their manager is a former catcher.  Our manager is a former catcher. The play involved a catcher.  Both had to know the rule.  Toronto fans were ignorant of the rule.  Actually, based on some comments I have seen since, they are still ignorant.  They still feel an error was made on the play.  Apparently, there are a lot of ignorant baseball fans in this world and even though MLB almost instantly sent the rule out over their At Bat App and explained why the call was right, this did nothing to educate the ignorant fans out there who refused to listen or hear.    Therefore, they reacted and reacted poorly.  Entitled fans are dangerous fans.   They are right, an injustice did happen Wednesday on the field of play, it just happened to the Texas Rangers, not the Toronto Blue Jays.  

I am not going so far as to say it rattled the players so much that it caused the uncharacteristic series of errors which cost the Rangers the game but I am going to say that it was a complete embarrassment to Major League Baseball and the Toronto Blue Jays organization as a whole.   Play should have been stopped.  Fans should have been ejected from the game never to return to a Major League Game.   The field of play should have been cleaned.   The players should have felt safe.  The fans who were behaving should have felt safe.  Instead this utter crap continued for several innings.  

The Texas Rangers deserved better.  The Texas Rangers fans deserved better.  Baseball, a game I love with all my heart, deserved better.   If Major League Baseball can't control the Toronto fans and keep this from happening again the Blue Jays need to be moved out of Toronto permanently. No club should have to face this treatment in any game much less a game that the entire season hinges upon.  Reading national media accounts make it clear, this is a fan base that feels not only entitled beyond reason but is one of the most hostile in the Major Leagues.  Bad sportsmanship Canada.  Bad sportsmanship! 

Popular Posts