Sunday, April 23, 2006

Baseballs Rain Down

Mrs. DocLarry and I made another trip to Hammons Field Saturday evening to watch a disappointing Missouri State Bears game. True to form, we were nearly hit by three foul balls. None so close that we had to dive out of the way, as in previous visits to the house John Q built. But close enough to feel concerned.

The Bears lost to the Southern Illinois Salukis, 7 to 2. The Bears did not play well, but the Salukis were assisted by the officiating staff. The home plate umpire in particular did not seem to be consistent in his calls.

MSU batters Nolan Keane and Matt Weglarz watched third strikes cross the plate to start the sixth inning, then MSU head coach Keith Guttin tossed his hat in the air from his third base coaches box and was ejected from the game. That brought several rowdy fans out of their drunken stuper to begin yelling at the umpires, the Saluki batters, and anyone else they could think of. A couple "fans" had not even been watching the game, holding a loud, beer-induced "discussion" near the exit. When they heard boos from the crowd they began yelling obscenities at the umpire.

We're not opposed to fan participation in sporting events, but believe there is no need to become loud and obnoxious over something like a college baseball game. Yes, the umpires were inconsistent. That includes a call or two going in favor of the Bears. Still, we would agree the umps made some really bad calls against the Bears and may have deserved some ribbing from the home crowd. But this went beyond what was acceptable.

These drunken college boys (we watched them consume several beers) had not made any noise until the coach's ejection. The Bears were behind and botched some plays. No noise. The Bears made good plays and scored two runs. No noise. Yes, applause and some cheers were heard. But nothing like that which came forth following the ejection. From then on much noise, including laughing at their shouting, could be heard from these dozen drunken college boys. Frankly, it ruined an otherwise pleasant evening for us.

We doubt these drunken college boys could tell you the final score or why the coach was ejected, or probably any other detail of the game. But they got to yell obscenities in public. Civil discourse, indeed.