Fri. Feb 14th, 2020

… Because we all have opinions.

Opinion: Life Bans for Jerk Fans

Last night the New York Yankees fell to a 3-1 ALCS deficit against an incredibly strong Houston Astros team, which in a few weeks’ time may well win its second World Series in three years.

As expected in a contest between two teams stacked with immense talent, there were plenty of ups and downs, momentum swings, and great baseball being played in front of what truly was a raucous and involved crowd. It was entertaining, no doubt.

For me though, unfortunately the baseball came second to the other significant talking point of the night – poor fan behavior. This all-too-familiar occurrence once again reared its hideous head, as a select few jerks tried their best to ruin the reputation of Yankees fans all over the globe.

Don’t get me wrong, as diehard fan of the Baltimore Orioles I would love to sink my boots into the Yankees fanbase in general. But I won’t. That’s just not fair. While the franchise certainly has its fair share of morons, all pro sports franchises do. In fact, Yankees fans are typically quite knowledgeable, passionate, and fairly easy to get along with. I have a large following of Yankees fans on Twitter and always enjoy some banter and debate – even when I go too far… aka #YankeesSuck.

You see, here’s the thing. ‘Banter’, described by the Oxford Dictionary as being light and slightly contemptuous mockery, is harmless. It’s something which has existed in pro sports since it was first established. It’s somewhat harmonious hearing a home crowd stir, then get under the skin of an opposing player. It adds to the importance of ‘home’ games and makes ‘road’ games all the more daunting. It’s a part of pro sports which we should never lose.

The difference between ‘banter’ and ‘abuse’ though is significant. Keeping with the Oxford Dictionary theme, it describes ‘abuse’ as a behavior which causes damage or harm to oneself. The difference in definitions between the two – banter and abuse – should never be underestimated.

On Thursday night in Game 4 of the ALCS, numerous Yankees fans were seen (and heard) abusing Astros’ starter Zack Greinke while he was warming up in the Astros’ bullpen. According to Police and witness’ statements, the abuse focused on Greinke’s battles with a social anxiety disorder and depression. It’s also claimed that some fans allegedly made crude remarks about Greinke’s mother. This, my friends, is totally uncalled for.


Thankfully, society nowadays understands the devastating impact anxiety and depression has on an individual. As brutal and as sad as it may be, these illnesses result in thousands of lives being lost every year – and nobody is immune, even pro athletes. Abuse and torment of an individual susceptible to these illnesses only compounds the issue and places added risk and extremities on the potential consequences.

While it is devastating to hear that Greinke was subjected to such targeted and hateful abuse, the silver lining from all of this was the stance from NYPD and Yankee Stadium security staff who immediately recognized the threat and ejected the culprits. What comes from this though, long term, is still to be determined. From my perspective, nothing less than a lifetime ban is acceptable. It’s time MLB, its 30 franchises, law enforcement and society takes a significant stance to stamp out this appalling behavior.

If we, as society, truly want to eradicate such harmful abuse of a fellow human being, then we must enact the strongest and harshest of penalties possible. If ‘fans’ – and I use that term loosely – want to spend their nights at the ballpark negatively impacting the mental health of MLB’s finest players, instead of enjoying the wonderful and ageless spectacle of appreciating a ballgame – let alone one which impacts the upcoming World Series – then they’re simply not welcome. There’s just no need to behave in such a way.

To eradicate this behavior once and for all, it’s time MLB takes the toughest stance. Life bans for all offenders. No ifs, buts, or maybes.

53 thoughts on “Opinion: Life Bans for Jerk Fans

    1. Did you read it? Hell he even prefaced it by saying it isn’t about just Yankee fans but all mlb fans. Of course a few idiots don’t make up the entire fan base but those who abuse players and other fans shouldn’t be allowed back

    1. As a professional working with people suffering from mental illness for over 30 years, I’ve seen the devastating effect it has on people.

      We will never be a great society until we learn how to treat each other better.

  1. Life time ban might be taking it a bit far though, such a harsh precedent like that might have a flow on effect like a year long ban for a bit of ‘banter’ that a player or ump takes personally as abuse… Think of the whole ‘bald headed flog’ saga the AFL faced this year

  2. Totally agree. ADULTS acting like children. Im a Yankee fan and have been to Camden yards. Had a great time with the Orioles fans. Just breaking balls, nothing nasty. Ban them in every stadium.

  3. You don’t even know what was specifically said and you want lifetime bans? Dumb Dan.
    You need to define what a “Jerk” is and what speech it is exactly that warrants a lifetime ban. A real slippery slope you want to go down when you begin to outlaw words like China.

  4. Great article, this is why some dont take their kids to games, between hearing that crap and fights in the stands. I also think alcohol should be shut off way earlier too, theres a difference between having a few beers, having fun and getting blitzed and becoming an asshole.

    1. In my experience, alcohol doesn’t cause one to become an a-hole, it just reveals the a-hole that’s already there.

  5. Crying skeptics data is right!!

    rom: Kevin Trenberth (US National Center for Atmospheric Research). To: Michael Mann. Oct 12, 2009
    “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t… Our observing system is inadequate”

  6. Sticks and Stones, yes. Words (unless directed at players families directly) not so much. Players should be able to handle heckling of any kind but when subject to objects thrown at them, absolutely not. Ejections and bans for sure.

  7. he voted Hillary. I can smell his entitlement.

    I’m glad that 20 bucks into a game, doesn’t give you full rein. Democrat towns are like that. Broken Capitalism mindset. Very exploitative. Their ‘rights’ cross too many lines.

    Democrats don’t know HOW, to be civil…

  8. I completely agree! These are the same people fighting at their own children’s games. If they can be banned there why not MLB?

  9. The Astros DID NOT let a hostile crowd bring them down because they are strong as a team and strong mentally as individual professionals. They do not need to be labeled as snowflake “victims” and they don’t need for the world to pity them. STOP WITH THE VICTIM BS!!!

  10. Uncalled for yeah & bush league but what was the threat? It’s words. Would I do it? NEVER. But this is still THE UNITED STATES. You want people banned for using words? What’s next you want to surmise what someone’s thinking? Give me a break

  11. The older I get the more ridiculous I think this behavior is. It’s a game people. If this causes you so much anger you might need to start reevaluating your life as a whole.

  12. Too far. Fans need to be fans one of the best games ever was pirates vs reds when PNC park chanted Cueto and it blew his mind that was fun. This article however is to far ridiculous good for NYPD and security!

  13. Well, don’t judge too harshly. A lot of folks think that there is bribery another corruption among the officials in these games. I think they’re right. Where there is money there is the mob

  14. “.. nothing less than a lifetime ban is acceptable. It’s time MLB, its 30 franchises, law enforcement and society takes a significant stance to stamp out this appalling behavior.”

    Dan Clark

  15. TL;DR: Yankees fans were directing abusive remarks against Astros starting pitcher Zack Greinke’s battles with a social anxiety disorder and depression and about his mother.

  16. The Astros DID NOT let a hostile crowd bring them down because they are strong as a team and strong mentally as individual professionals. They do not need to be labeled as snowflake “victims” and they don’t need for the world to pity them. STOP WITH THE VICTIM BS!!!

  17. Phenomenal article. I’ve been a lifelong fan of the Red Sox and have had the opportunity to see numerous games at Fenway Park. Sox fans can be incredibly passionate, but I’ve seen many a POS. In Boston, we make those idiots feel very uncomfortable.

  18. Couldnt agree more. In fact, they should post the pictures of these morons in local papers for their proud families and associates to see what they really are.

  19. Great story, Dan. As a Yankees fan and Blues fan…and I general I have seen some pretty serious abuse of opposition and our own players.
    It’s a disgrace.
    It’s also about the people and kids subjected to the tirade of ignorance and aggression.
    These idiots would be the first to jump up down if this kind of vitriol was hurled at someone from their team or around their family members or kids.
    It’s an all over the world problem.
    All leagues need to take ownership.
    Get them out…stamp it out….and stay out!

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