Baseball Fan Thrown Out Of Game For Calling Throws

Willie_Keeler-baseball-500x322I am still basking in the glory of my Chicago Cubs clinching the Central Division title this week (a division title by a returning World Series champion that has not happened in over a decade). I have been invited by a friend to attend the first game against the Nationals next Friday in Washington. I will be sitting near home plate in the seats of my friend (who I have promised one of my kidneys in return).   It appears however that I will have to refrain from advising the Cubs on throws. I was surprised to read this week that a Yankees fan was ejected for yelling information on the expected location of the pitches to the Rays’ catcher, Wilson Ramos. Yankees’ Gary Sanchez was at bat. This is the first that I have heard of fans being barred from predicting throws as opposed to the disgraceful practice of the Boston Red Sox in using Apple watches to improperly communicate throw info to their batters.

In the Boston Red Sox scandal, team officials were reading catcher signals and then letting their batters know. That is cheating under MLB rules. However, this fan was simply watching how the Rays catcher shifted his body to predict that throw. That seems fair game. First, catchers are trained not to signal the throws since body movement can tip off batters. If a catcher is signaling, he is the one at fault, not a fan reading the “tells.” Second, there is a long-standing principle in law that conduct in public is generally not protected under privacy and related rules. This is telling fans that they can see a mistake but must not utter it.

It is also questionable how useful this information may be. A batter is never certain that the information is real or an effort to confuse by the batter by a fan of the opposing team.

Nevertheless home-plate umpire, Dan Bellino pointed to stadium security to remove from the stadium. Yankees Manager Joe Girardi supported the decision. Ramos later said that the fan was indeed reading him accurately and “that was not professional.” But whose fault is that? Moreover, Ramos said “If you come to the game, you’re asked to enjoy the game. Everybody’s supposed to see the ball and just react with pitches … so to me, it’s like cheating.” The fan was enjoying the game . . . until they threw him out.

Frankly, I have said for years that we should toss all home plate umpires out of the game in favor of computerized systems for balls and strikes. They could stay as a back up but there is no reason why we continue to tolerate bad calls that determine games when technology would improve the accuracy of the game. As for fans, they should be able to call out throws as they see them. No one took a vow of silence when players signal their next moves.


20 thoughts on “Baseball Fan Thrown Out Of Game For Calling Throws”

  1. Why draw a line between reading signals and weight shifting?

    Why yell it, but not transmit it?

    What the fan did was against the rules, also.

    But, it may not be helpful or real? Then why do it?

    The catcher has to get into position at some time.

    Technology has been proven to miss calls. Some at a greater rate than umpires There are known and acknowledged problems with programs like strike zone.

    No one said they took a vow of silence. Stop with rhe hyperbole. He wasn’t ejected for not being silent.

    It’s no different than violating the policyof any business.

    Go to Vegas and yell to your buddy what cards someone else at the table has and see what happens

  2. I find this example of policing of baseball games ridiculous.

    The fans are not a direct part of the game; they are only witnesses to the events. They don’t take a vow of silence when they walk into the stadium. On the contrary, I usually see and hear the fans reacting loudly with the action on the field. Just because one random fan decides to react to the actions of the catcher before the pitch is thrown, instead of to the batter hitting the ball afterward, doesn’t mean something’s wrong with his actions.

    Additionally, is there any certainty the batters are reacting to the calls and making adjustments quickly enough to make a difference on the pitch? I would be surprised if that were the case.

    At most, what happened was the players reacted to a minor distraction that certainly wasn’t against any rules.

    1. The stadium is private property. Teams can police it this way, just as they police other behavior.

      They aren’t part of the game and shouldn’t try to be

  3. Ah, another trash Cubs fan that lives in the Washington area but will only come to Nats games to cheer on the opponent. Whatever.

    1. Why would he give money to support a team he doesn’t like?

      Nats fans are trash.

  4. This does reflect a growing trend. People are hauled off of planes, physically, and sometimes with injuries for similar reasons. The absolute interpretation by basic level employees of what someone is or isn’t doing is bordering on the Orwellian. It’s almost as if eventually you will be called for not smiling, or not standing, or not clapping loud enough.

    In SF the visitors bull pen is literally intersected by the three foot wall that separates the seats from the field, at field level. The wall intersects part of the closer mound. One game I attended a few rows back had fans razzing the pitchers warming up. There was a verbal altercation between the pitcher and a couple of fans. The relief pitcher went in, in the fifth, and immediately got shelled for three runs and was subsequently pulled.

    If you get millions of dollars a year to ‘play’, then you should be able to cope. The field is surgical in its pristine correctness. It’s like a rug with no dimple or bump. Perhaps a few obstacles should be thrown out at the beginning of each game. Fans could be chosen to toss an old tire or whatever onto the outfield, at random. The rules should pertain to the teams. Those paying the mega bucks, these pinnacles of society earn, deserve more than getting thrown out because they express their knowledge. Ya need to learn to play around these minor irritations. Fuggin crybabies.

  5. Diagree with JT ‘ s point-
    “First, catchers are trained not to signal the throws since body movement can tip off batters. If a catcher is signaling, he is the one at fault, not a fan reading the “tells.”

    Catchers are trained not to tip off their position prior pitcher wind up. As pitcher wind up begins ; the catcher must move into position.
    In my view fans are definitely exercising poor edicate & sportsmanship if they are verbally conveying position.
    At least in the days past if a batter was peeking with peripheral vision ; the next pitch would be chin music . Let the players play.

    1. But if this tell wasn’t until the pitcher’s windup began, then it wouldn’t matter what a fan might “signal.” This hyper-need to control all variables Is part and parcel of the age of rage. What ever happened to “suck it up and play?”

    2. Heckling is a time-honored tradition in baseball. Having good powers of observation as a fan seems a ridiculous rationale for expulsion.

      ( and the word is etiquette)

      1. That’s not heckling and he can observe all he wants. He went beyond that.

  6. Since everything and every situation is a “First Amendment” issue, except actual First Amendment issues (e.g., free speech on state supported universities), what the heck. Sue ’em all! Apprise the MSM! Release the Kraken!

  7. I think it is a free speech issue and the fan has a perfect right to call the pitches. I am not sure where Ramos thought it was not professional? Professional, according to the SC only means you are being paid to play the game. Unless the fan was paid as a spotter, then it would be unprofessional.

    If I were the fan, I would sue everyone involved.

    1. And you would lose.

      Free speech protects you from government censorship and nothing more.

      You have no free speech on private property.

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