Angry Ward Wednesday: Poppin’ Off in Philly, Bottled in Boston, MSG Spithead – Sports Fans Gone Wild!

BRONX, NY – What happens when a return to normalcy is anything but normal? As we all crawl out from under whatever rocks we were hiding beneath during the pandemic, we’re seeing some fairly erratic behavior. I’m not saying that people weren’t strange and unpredictable to begin with but, like no-hitters this year in baseball, there seems to be a little bit more. Recently, sports fans have provided some glimpses of (and I’m being kind here) overly-enthusiastic behavior.

As was mentioned here yesterday, we just saw a fan in Boston arrested for throwing a water bottle at Nets star Kyrie Irving. We also saw some gumball run on the court during the Wizards/Sixers game. Prior to those incidents, we had a fan in Philly emptying a box of popcorn on Russell Westbrook as he exited with an injury and a moron Knicks fan spitting on Trae Young. I’m detecting a pattern.

Look, I know people have been locked inside with their own twisted thoughts and, in some cases, families for far too long. I also know that everyone is thrilled to have things to do again, such as go to sporting events. But, people, pump the f**king brakes a bit, will ya? A couple of weeks ago Phil Mickelson made history winning the PGA Championship at age 50. It was a thrilling event and story, made even more captivating by the presence of a large cheering crowd. But, as that crowd followed him on those last couple of holes, it also became a little bit unnerving. The combination of fans trying to pat him on the back and crowding in way close, made Mickelson’s win, in my opinion, even more impressive. You’ve got to remember, that the men and women that play these sports are also having to adjust after the long layoff.

A few days after Mickelson’s achievement, the New York Knicks won Game 2 of their series against Atlanta to even their series. After the game, their fans spilled out of MSG and celebrated in the street as if their team had just won Game 7 of Space Jam and saved planet Earth. It’s nice to be excited about something, anything, but at least attempt to be cool.

It’s fun watching sports, and I can’t wait to get out to a baseball game or two this summer. But, whether you’re an individual or part of a collective, you are NOT part of the team. You are also not a nation or a mafia or an army. It’s fun to in a fan group, but that doesn’t entitle you to think that you are some badass and in on the action. It certainly doesn’t give you the right to throw stuff at players, spit on them, or yell racial epithets at them. You want to heckle? Have at it! But here’s a couple of tips: be funny and try not to work blue, there are kids at these games.

I know we’ve all been locked inside for a long time and feel a strong need to let our inner monkeys out of the cage. But for a little while, let’s just try being grateful. These games and events aren’t about you, they’re FOR you. When Broadway restarts and audiences return they won’t be throwing rotten vegetables at the actors or yelling out their lines like they’re at a Dice Clay show. Just because sports fans say and do much worse in Europe or pelt opposing players with bags of urine in Uruguay doesn’t make spitting or throwing plastic bottles or popcorn a-ok. These players are people. Try throwing something at or spitting on someone in a bar, and see how that works out for you. In short, take a breath and get a grip.

Come back tomorrow for Buddy Diaz, a good sport if ever there was one.

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About Angry Ward 592 Articles
Angry Ward, who has admirers at the New York Times, is the quintessential angry sports fan but for one exception... he's flat-out funny. And the angrier he gets, the more amusing his work becomes. Psychiatrists say, "Angry Ward's 'anger' is a direct result of "Bronx/Mets syndrome: growing up in the Bronx as a Mets fan." As if that weren't enough, his Minnesota North Stars abandoned him for Dallas, forcing him to embrace The Wild the way Nancy Pelosi embraces Mitch McConnell at charity events. And while his Vikings only tease him with success, his Golden State Warriors actually win these days. A-Dubya is MTM's longest-tenured indentured servant, its Larry David and quite simply, "The Franchise." (Junoir Blaber disputes this). Vent, curse and giggle with him on Angry Ward Wednesdays.