When cable TV first entered the picture, ESPN did not exist. However, a lot of cable providers picked up the independent Chicago station, WGN. Since it didn't have access to network programming, WGN broadcast a lot of reruns-Tarzan staring Ron Ely was a favorite of mine-and also broadcast Cubs baseball. It was watching Cubs games that I first observed fans throwing home runs hit by the opposing team back on the field. According to this, this behavior began in the late 1960s. Once cable TV stations like WGN, TBS, and ESPN began showing a lot of baseball games, people in other towns became aware of this "tradition" and now one sees home runs hit by the visiting team thrown back on the field in a number of cities. I've always thought this "tradition" was extremely idiotic because I suspect that within a few feet of whomever caught the ball is someone whose day would be made if they got to keep the ball. Assuming that is the case, why not do a random act of kindness to a stranger and let them have the ball if the fact that it is an opposing team's home run has somehow tainted the ball?
One might think that the home of "Minnesota Nice" would be immune to a behavior that is, at best, thoughtless. One would be wrong. The Big Lead has footage of an adult woman, in Minnesota Twins gear, flipping off a young girl who did not throw a home run hit by David Ortiz during a recent game between the Red Sox and the Twins. I'm no lip reader but it sure looks like the woman uses some very adult language with the child as well.
What do you think Mr. Torvik, is this proof that Minnesota Nice a crock? Is throwing a home run ball back a "tradition" or simply an example of crowd stupidity? If a respected tradition, is flipping off a child who wants to keep a home run ball reasonable behavior? Given that every baseball game these days is on TV, did the woman not know she was being filmed or was she too enraged that the kid wanted to keep the ball to care? Finally, is there a way to blame this woman's behavior on the fact that she probably learned it from watching FIBs at Cubs' games?
* I realize that this means my childhood was generally awesome. I thank my parents for that.