Games being played in empty stadiums was an objective bummer of the 2020 MLB season, but there was at least one silver lining: there were no game stoppages for general fan tomfoolery.
The same cannot be said for Friday night’s Rays-Yankees game at Yankee Stadium, where the home fans didn’t take too kindly to Tampa Bay holding an 8-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning. As Clint Frazier batted against Trevor Richards, the game was halted when fans began throwing baseballs onto the field.
Here are some more camera angles, which show Rays players walking toward the center of the diamond, presumably to avoid getting plunked from a rogue throw:
The Yankees would go on to lose, 8-2, dropping their third straight game and sixth in their last eight to bring their record to 5-8. It was an ugly game from the start—New York made three errors and mustered only three hits, at one point going 15 consecutive batters without a batter hitting safely.
It was the latest in what’s been a Rays-dominated series between the division rivals. Since the start of last season, the Yankees are 3-11 against Tampa Bay, getting outscored by a combined 24 runs.
After the game, Yankees manager Aaron Boone lamented the incident, calling it a bad look for everybody.
“You kind of hate seeing that,” Boone said, per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. “Unfortunately a handful of people end up doing it and it looks bad for everyone.”
It’s unclear how the baseball barrage started, but the incident raises some pertinent questions. Was this a predetermined tactic? Where did all these balls come from? And what were the fans attempting to accomplish?
The answer to that last question is probably as simple as voicing their displeasure with a hapless Yankees team that entered the season with World Series aspirations. While the frustration is understandable—watching Michael Wacha carve up your vaunted lineup doesn’t sound like much fun—there’s a better way express that exasperation.
Perhaps they can try an airing of grievances next time? Maybe around an aluminum pole?