So there I was today, hanging out in the 2nd row of Section 124, groaning through yet another late inning collapse in Game 1 of the doubleheader. It was the top of the 10th inning. Ryan Cook, who started the 10th, left the game with a forearm injury after striking out Corey Hart. Dan Otero came in, hopefully to get the final out. Runners were on the corners. Otero induced Michael Saunders into a high chopper that first baseman Daric Barton mistakenly took an initial step in to field. When he realized that the ball was about to go over his head, he tried to backpedal and then jumped into the air to field the ball. The ball tipped off his outstretched glove and caromed towards second base, scoring the lead runner. Barton, who should change his name to Rasputin for his uncanny ability to stay on the active roster despite his hitting ineptitude, heard the heavy rain of boos from the assembled crowd. I had a more global response.
Sweet glovework, DB.
— newballpark (@newballpark) May 7, 2014
As many of us were cursing the team’s fate or shaking our heads, many other fans took to heckling Barton. They included the fan who was seated directly in front of me. He yelled a most familiar refrain at the infielder:
Daric Barton YOU SUCK!!!
A security guard posted at the Field Boxes in front of us heard the heckler and walked over to him. I didn’t record the conversation, but here’s what I recall:
- GUARD: You can’t say that!
- HECKLER: Say what? Suck?
- GUARD: That’s right, the S-word. That is foul language.
- HECKLER: That’s not foul language. I can use the word ‘suck’.
- GUARD: If you use it you’re gonna get thrown out. Are you gonna stop?
- HECKLER: No.
The guard then motioned to the heckler that he was thrown out. He was gone from his seat in a minute or two, to be interviewed by the security staff.
Now guy in front of me being thrown out for yelling “Daric Barton YOU SUCK!” — newballpark (@newballpark) May 7, 2014
The rest of us tried to argue the guy’s case, to no avail. If the word “suck” is foul language, then they’d have to throw out half the crowd. The guy didn’t drop an F-bomb or use any actual profanity the whole time. The Mariners tacked on another run and won the first game. A 30-minute intermission followed, then the second game. During the first inning of the nightcap, the heckler came back. We heartily applauded the guy. He explained that the security staff were just as incredulous as we were about the word “suck.” So they let him back in. The A’s went on to salvage the second game and stayed ahead of the upstart Mariners (and the slumping Rangers) by two games.
Now I realize that down near the field, there is a need to react more prudently than way up in the stands or in the bleachers, lest we have a Tom Gamboa or Frank Francisco incident. But that clearly wasn’t the situation here. It was simply a matter of A’s fans being pissed off, and a security guy who overreacted to it. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and everyone was able to finish out the doubleheader in peace.
Of course, all of this could’ve been avoided if:
- BoMel doesn’t slavishly go lefty-righty in the 8th, taking out Fernando Abad perhaps prematurely. Luke Gregerson became a human gas can and let an inherited runner score.
- The A’s had scored John Jaso in the 9th. Jaso led off the 9th with a HBP and went to 2nd on a wild pitch. The rest of the inning went: K, IBB, FC, F9. Score Jaso and it’s a walkoff, pie ensues, and Ryan Cook doesn’t rip apart his forearm in the next inning.
- Nate Freiman was at first base instead of Barton in the 10th. That chopper would’ve been an easy reach for 6-foot-N8, and Freiman doesn’t quite have the happy feet problem that Barton uses to either make range plays or get himself in trouble attempting to make range plays. As Ray Fosse noted on the telecast, Eric Sogard was shifted well over and could’ve made a nearly routine play had Barton not touched the ball – something that has happened far too often this year and last.
Oh well. The day sucked because of the losses of Cook and Coco Crisp, who strained his neck slamming into a wall on an unbelievable catch early in Game 1. Then again, the A’s are still in first and Drew Pomeranz looked good. On to the next stanza.