A law enforcement officer and stadium personnel check on fan that was chased down after running onto the field before the eighth inning of a baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the St. Louis Cardinals, Monday, May 3, 2010, in Philadelphia. St. Louis won 6-3. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
A 17-year-old nitwit — if that’s not redundant — ran onto the field during a Phillies-Cards game and got Tasered for his troubles. Some people think that was excessive use of high-voltage electricity.
Those people are wrong.
I can’t put it more clearly than that. You run on the playing surface during a game of any kind, you deserve to be zapped.
It’s real simple. When you run on the field, we don’t know if you’re a harmless twit, a disgruntled fan intent on inflicting damage on a player or a terrorist wired to blow yourself and half the infield to kingdom come. It was just Saturday that someone left an SUV packed with explosives idling in the heart of Times Square. The SUV looked pretty innocent, too — until smoke started to seep out of the windows.
Given the potential for mayhem, a Taser is entirely reasonable, not just as a reminder to the miscreant of how stupid he was, but a warning to other would-be idiots contemplating an unlicensed hey-look-at-me foray onto the field.
We don’t tolerate players going into the stands. When Ron Artest did it in 2004, he was suspended for the rest of the season — 73 games. Eight other players involved in the infamous brawl in Detroit were also suspended. Everybody applauded that harsh punishment, with the only debate being whether Artest and the others were being let off too lightly.
Well, it works both ways, and don’t give me any bleeding-heart nonsense about how this was just a 17-year-old kid who didn’t mean any harm. How the heck was anybody supposed to know that when he jumped on the field late in the game?
Does anyone remember 2002, when a fan and his son ran on the field during a White Sox-Royals game and beat up Kansas City’s first-base coach, Tom Gamboa? Nobody thought they’d do that, either, until they actually started beating on the poor guy. It’s just a shame that White Sox security guards didn’t have Tasers to use then.
Maybe there was a time when some could argue that it was harmless for fans to run out on the field. I’d argue that no such time ever existed, not even when Morganna, the Kissing Bandit, was working the playing fields at American sporting events.
We’re talking about jerks and publicity hounds — and I know that’s redundant — interrupting a game to have their 30 seconds of infamy. If any of them ran into your house uninvited and started running around like a flaming idiot, you’d punch them in the nose and be congratulated for it.
Nowhere in the Declaration of Independence is running on the field listed as an unalienable right.
In fact, the kid should be grateful he was only tased. Back in the good old days, there was a tiny cinder-block room under the stands at most stadiums where police took such people for a “discussion.” The conversation was all one-sided, applied with nightsticks to ribs and kidneys, and those who experienced one never did it again.
I’m not saying that was the right thing to do, but it worked. A Taser accomplishes the same purpose without leaving marks or broken bones. It’s also legal, and the Philadelphia police have already weighed in on the side of the officer who brought the idiot kid’s jaunt to a shocking conclusion.
I’m with them. This isn’t a 10-year-old who won’t cooperate in school or a college kid asking a question or someone who’s reluctant to leave the library or a grandmother in a wheelchair. This is someone running onto the field who could be harmless and could be bent on mayhem. It’s an idiot violating the separation of field and fans. It’s someone going where he knows he is not wanted, expected or welcomed.
You run on the field, you leave “Don’t tase me, Bro,” in the stands with your equally idiotic friends who didn’t stop you from running on the field. You run on the field, you deserve a jolt.
I’m clearly in the right on this, as I’m supported by the results of our non-scientific poll, in which 70 percent of respondents agree that the best way to deal with these bozos is to zap their butts. And we all know that non-scientific polls — like my opinions — are never wrong.