The Guardians lost a great ballgame in the Bronx on Saturday, seizing the lead in the eighth then coming within one strike of winning 4-3, only to cede a pair of backbreaking hits to Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Gleyber Torres and lose 5-4 on a walkoff. Bummer! Simply losing any game on any walkoff is painful, but the specific circumstances of this loss were extra awful, thanks to some rowdy jerks in the bleachers.
Steven Kwan, a cool guy, was trying to chase down a hard-hit ball from Kiner-Falefa when he slammed into the outfield wall. Kwan was pretty seriously shaken up, on account of running into the fence with his face, and he had to be attended to in the outfield. Rather than celebrating their team’s good fortune, Yankees fans marked the occasion by screaming at Kwan to the point that his fellow outfielders had to intervene. Myles Straw and Oscar Mercado came to Kwan’s defense, with Straw climbing the chain-link fence to get directly in the face of one particularly nasty fan.
Seconds after Torres’s winning single landed, the fans thanked Straw and Mercado for sticking up for their boy by tossing an enfilade of trash and beer cans onto the field. Yankees players were in the midst of celebrating on the basepaths when they noticed the hail of garbage, and they ran out to right field to tell their idiot fans to cool it with the whole throwing shit at players thing.
After the game, Mercado said he was prompted to deal with the fans because there was “a specific Yankee fan” that was gleefully celebrating Kwan’s injury. “It’s easy for them, standing outside the field, to do and say whatever they want,” he said after the game. “You can celebrate your team walking it off all you want, but don’t throw shit on the field. Sorry for cussing, but that’s how people can get hurt. I should have probably walked away.”
Straw was more pointed: “Brutal,” he said. “Worst fan base on the planet.” Straw said he didn’t remember exactly what was said during his on-fence confrontation, though he correctly believes he did the right thing. “I said what I said. If I were to do it again, I probably would’ve said the same thing. That’s my guy. At that point, just cheer. Be happy your team tied the game up. Be a normal baseball fan and just enjoy what’s going on.”
The most heartening thing here was the Yankees players quelling their celebrations to go tell their fans to shut up. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton shouldn’t have had to tell their fans not to throw full beers at opponents, though it’s good they did. “I didn’t know what was going on, but that can’t happen,” Kiner-Falefa said. “I love the atmosphere, I love the fans, I love everything about them, but we win with class.”
You can’t fairly pin this on “Yankees fans” as a class or bloc, as there appeared to be a small number of people who actually hurled shit on the field. It’s the degree of their bad behavior that’s the problem here, and one hopes that getting told by Yankees stars to please shut the fuck up and stop trying to brain people will quell things a bit.