Tap-In Question: With apologies and headshaking in Adam Jones' Fenway incident complete, now what happens? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Connolly's Tap Room

Tap-In Question: With apologies and headshaking in Adam Jones’ Fenway incident complete, now what happens?

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

I’m not one to get political in here. It’s a fake bar filled with good people talking sports. That works for me.

I’d probably be better off discussing the Orioles decision to place catcher Welington Castillo on the 10-day DL with right shoulder tendinitis (which also included the recall of catcher Francisco Pena and the DFA of pitcher Damien Magnifico).

Or Chris Tillman’s rehab assignment Tuesday for Triple-A Norfolk (five runs, including four homers, in five innings) or the Orioles’ reinstatement of closer Zach Britton from the disabled list (with Mike Wright demoted).

Or the Orioles’ triple play (bizarre) or a classy Mookie Betts (applauding Adam Jones’ first at-bat) or Manny Machado’s expletive-laced tirade after getting thrown at again (I’d be highly ticked, too, and I’ve been known to drop a F-bomb or nine when agitated).

Yeah, that stuff would be a lot easier than continuing to shuffle this deck with the race card on top.

But let’s not ignore the elephant in the Tap Room (and that’s not a self-deprecating remark about the barkeep’s girth).

By now, you know that Jones, the Orioles’ center fielder and team leader, had a bag of peanuts and racial slurs tossed at him Monday night at Fenway Park. The story blew up – as it should have – and Jones answered questions for more than 15 minutes Tuesday, while the Red Sox, the City of Boston, the state of Massachusetts and baseball’s commissioner’s office denounced the acts against Jones as completely unacceptable.

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I gave my take on this whole situation here, and that includes admission that I once berated a big league ballplayer after I drank too much at old Memorial Stadium. Not something I’m proud of, but I thought I’d at least share the idiotic side of it (and of me).

I’m not asking for everyone to share their stories of idiocy here. I’m just curious as to where Major League Baseball goes from here. No one thinks it’s appropriate for fans to scream at ballplayers, especially using racial epithets. And certainly no one would advocate throwing something on the field at players.

So, what do you do now? If you’re commissioner Rob Manfred, how do you respond to this situation beyond words? Because it’s not just Boston; it happens everywhere. People seem to be more unafraid now to be jackwagons, because many feel they shouldn’t have to be “politically correct,” or whatever the opposite of being a jackwagon is.

If you’re Manfred, what do you do to make sure this doesn’t happen with continued regularity – if at all?

Obviously, fans will be fans, loud and boisterous and booing. And some will be ejected for unruly behavior. The Red Sox are looking to revoke the season tickets of those involved in the incident (with such a large season-ticket base per game like there is in Boston, they can do that). But is that enough? Should there be fines? Should there be criminal charges in these types of incidents?

I had one Twitter follower say, “Hey, I hate the racial slurs too, but you can’t fine and prosecute someone for saying a bad word. That infringes on freedom of speech.”

Of course, some idiot screaming profanities or throwing things also infringes on normal patrons’ enjoyment of the event. Where’s the proper balance?

Yeah, maybe this one gets farther away from sports than I’d like. But I’ve been so impressed with the regulars in this dive that I think we can do this. I think we can have an open discussion about this thorny issue and still raise our fake mugs together.

So, indulge me.

Tap-In Question: With the apologies and head-shaking in the Adam Jones’ Fenway incident complete, what should happen now to prevent similar situations?

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Creatively_19

    May 3, 2017 at 7:50 am

    Dan, as much as I appreciate your sentiment, I think it’s really optimistic to think that MLB can mitigate 400 years of racial injustice with any single policy or finely worded press release. Acknowledging that the problem exists won’t go very far towards preventing what happened to Jones on Monday night from happening again to any other player at any point in the future. Furthermore, even if people want to conveniently blame alcohol for helping fuel the incident, MLB is not about to castigate it’s largest sponsors for having partially contributed to this delinquency, Whatever way you look at it, racism still exists in America (and has been somewhat emboldened by recent political events, in my honest opinion), and there’s nothing you, I or MLB can do to make this fact go away overnight, or even by the end of the 2017 season. I think the only true way to tackle this issue is on an individual level, if you hear or see something that’s not right, you have to confront it face to face. This will take courage, something that our society seems to be lacking these days as it’s far easier to make disparaging comments at somebody via Twitter, via a local sports message board, or anonymously from the bleachers, then to actually have an honest discussion on differences of opinion in the real world. We can’t imprison people for exercising free speech, but we can shame people for the intentions and ideology behind their speech. I’ll take my drink now barkeep, I think you’ll need to make it a double today.

    • claudecat

      May 3, 2017 at 8:15 am

      Excellent post. I have nothing to add.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 3, 2017 at 8:55 am

      Well (and Creatively) said my friend.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 3, 2017 at 8:59 am

      I’ll give ya 2 drink chips. Excellent post. I think one thing this incident with Jones may do — maybe the only thing — is to remind people that it is their right and maybe responsibility not to tolerate such behavior around them. There are people at every stadium trained to deal with disruptive behavior. Let an usher know and they’ll get the right people for the job.

      • claudecat

        May 3, 2017 at 9:52 am

        Without divulging too much, I can vouch for what Dan says here. Let an usher know and it WILL be handled. I can proudly say, however, that in all my years at the yard I have never once heard what Adam was subjected to. Plenty of other stuff (especially on the dreaded student nights), but never once an incident of racial taunting.

    • seannyob

      May 3, 2017 at 2:27 pm

      I respectfully and very strongly disagree with this. I believe that there is much that MLB, and individual clubs, can and should do.

      I like Dave Zirin’s take on The Nation today; we should do what they do in European soccer.
      Make ’em play to an empty stadium after every incident.

      • Creatively_19

        May 3, 2017 at 3:40 pm

        Interesting thoughts by Mr Zirin, to fine clubs and take draft picks away for bad fan behavior. I’m not sure if a majority of MLB ownership would have to approve instituting such measures, but it sounds like something that could be discussed. Still, I see that as a way of forcing something down people’s throats, it’s a confrontational approach, and it penalizes good people and fans for the actions of few. I also don’t see it as any means to an end of actually fixing racial animosity in our society, much like spraying Lysol into a foul smelling garbage can, you’re only masking the problem. You’re not going to get some stupid fans in Boston to be less racist, you’re only going to get them to shut up about it.

        • seannyob

          May 3, 2017 at 3:57 pm

          Precisely.

          Shutting racists up is the first step towards positive change.

          Look, implying that taking steps towards ending racial abuse in our hallowed baseball parks is “a confrontational approach” is in & of itself deeply problematic and a capitulation. Of course retribution would be confrontational. It’s INTENTIONALLY confrontational — in this case, we’d call that “justice.” But the critical point here is that the confrontation was and is created at the genesis of the abuse — there already is confrontation. The abuse is the confrontation. If MLB and/or the individual clubs correct the abuse, and do it institutionally, that would not be confrontation, it would be correction.

          Implying that things will never get better is demonstrably wrong — things are better today in our society than they were even a few generations ago, in a few different ways. Although we may be slipping backwards…

          Jackie changed our country 70 years ago now. On a baseball diamond.
          We should follow that lead.

  2. keller2198

    May 3, 2017 at 7:51 am

    Nobody knows what you think,but when you open your mouth you can really show how dumb you are!

    • keller2198

      May 3, 2017 at 7:52 am

      That was directed at Boston Fans!!!!!

    • Dan Connolly

      May 3, 2017 at 8:59 am

      Boy, Kell, I was hoping you weren’t talking to me. Phew.

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    May 3, 2017 at 8:53 am

    As a young boy, I grew up an O’s fan living in Massachusetts. I attended many, many games in Fenway. I loved that park. But during those games I heard vile profanity used and directed at players. Even at other fans that dared to wear the other teams cap, myself included. More than once, I’ve watched Sox & Yankee fans come to blows, and more than once I’ve worn another’s spilled beer. I once saw a woman hit with a hot dog for daring to cheer for Reggie Jackson.

    I’ve never seen this type of behavior in any other city’s baseball park of which include Baltimore, Arlington Tx, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Houston and even … dare I say it … Philadelphia. Maybe it’s just that I’ve been to so many more games in Boston … I dunno. It just seems that there’s something about a drunken Red Sox fan that sets them apart in my mind.

    For a city that suffered hate in it’s worst form just a couple of years ago, you’d think they would drum the hate out of Fenway.

    Boston Strong indeed.

    Now what happens? Heck … Play Ball !!

    • Dan Connolly

      May 3, 2017 at 9:02 am

      I don’t have the same experiences. Most of my time spent in ballparks as a youth were at Memorial Stadium, where I saw plenty of unruly behavior. Comes with the territory, I suppose. I would like to think we are getting better communally. But stuff like this makes you wonder.

  4. 5brooks5

    May 3, 2017 at 10:21 am

    We cannot legislate ignorance, nor should we try. This problem still exists in our society and it shows it’s ugly head all too often. The fact that Adam makes this a public discussion is how we continue to grow and evolve. I applaud him and feel honored that he wears The Orange and Black.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 3, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      Nice Post Brooks. Drink chip

  5. ubetonit

    May 3, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    It would be more meaningful to hear the Red Sox players condemn THEIR own fans racism than boilerplate from politicians or Red Sox mgmt.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 3, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      True. But calling out your own fans is tough. That doesn’t always go well. Slippery slope.

  6. Bancells Moustache

    May 3, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    I am a shameless heckler. From my perch in the seats, I routinely shower opposing players with verbal jabs. Its part of the game. You can rest assured that when Wee Willy Keeler was in the Boston outfield playing for the O’s over a century ago, the cranks in the stands let him have it. It’s how it has always been. The problem now is that people don’t know the proper way to rag on a guy. There are a few rules to follow.

    1. Keep it PG. The ballpark is the greatest place in the world for a kid to visit. If you are sitting there screaming obscenities you don’t appreciate that fact and need to be tossed.

    2. Make it funny. People don’t want to hear you repeatedly screaming weak insults. That’s annoying. However, slinging some hot peppers at Bryce Harper that are funny generally makes people smile and it becomes a part of the overall game atmosphere.

    3. Less is more. Constant repetitive noise coming from one guy is just obnoxious. Pick your spots.

    4. Be cool with the other guy. There are always Boston, New York etc fans at the yard, and if you don’t let them know this is lighthearted fun, there’s always the chance you get the guy who takes it too serious and wants to fistfight right there in the seats. That’s stupid. Smile and joke with them, maybe compliment their team and you can establish a back and forth which is always fun.

    5. If you’ve had more than 3 beers, shut up. You will ignore rules 1-4 and ruin everything.

    • Bancells Moustache

      May 3, 2017 at 1:37 pm

      As to the racial and homophobic stuff, refer to rule number 1 and bear in mind that this is a professional athlete who probably works out every single day and is, by MLB average, over 6 feet 2 inches tall. Plus, 25 of his physically imposing buddies are right there with him. If they do take umbrage, your gonna have a bad time.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 3, 2017 at 2:02 pm

      Leave it to you to have a heckling how-to. You always crack me up. Drink chip.

  7. Liss

    June 1, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    o;

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