It’s been a bad year for South Side baseball fans. After enduring injuries to star players, mounting losses and a generally bleak future outlook, their hated enemies from Chicago’s North Side, the White Sox, push them over the edge by snatching a down-to-their-last-out victory away on a three-run homer by the annoying A.J. Pierzynski:
CHICAGO (AP) – With the Cubs so close to winning, fans littered Wrigley Field with plastic bottles, cups, and other debris Saturday after A.J. Pierzynski hit a two-out, ninth-inning homer to send the White Sox to an 8-6 victory.The game was delayed nearly five minutes as security and the grounds crew came out to pick up the litter. Most of it fell on the warning track in the outfield, although some items, including a baseball, came out of the stands from behind the Cubs’ dugout.
“I guess they can voice their opinions however they want to,” Cubs center fielder Juan Pierre said.
“They shouldn’t throw anything on the field. It was sad. It was frustrating for us to lose a game and have the fans react like this.”
Much of the anger apparently was directed at Cubs closer Ryan Dempster, who retired the first two batters in the ninth with the Cubs leading 6-5. But two straight batters then reached base ahead of Pierzynski’s homer.
Shortly after Pierzynski rounded the bases and got in the dugout, items began sailing onto the field. The Cubs are 1-11 in their last 12 homes games.
“It’s tough because you never like to see that,” Dempster said after blowing his fifth save of the season. “I wish I would have gotten the last out and you never would have seen that. It’s tough.”
The Cubs, who have lost two straight and four of five to the White Sox this season, dropped to 29-51.
So why is Pierzynski the focal point, the tipping point for Cubs fans to vent their frustration so despicably?
The answer, in two sentences I combined from both linked articles to fully explain the point:
Pierzynski has been in the center of the rivalry all season, first after he barreled over Cubs catcher Michael Barrett on May 20 at U.S. Cellular Field. Barrett responded by grabbing Pierzynski and punching him in the face, setting off a bench-clearing brawl.
Okay. But that still doesn’t excuse the “Bleacher Bums” from littering the field of play.
I’m all for fans using creative non-profane signs and chanted slogans to rip on teams, such as some enterprising high-school-age Twins fans did to Chuck Knoblauch in a game at the Metrodome with t-shirts spelling out “Watch you back, Chuck, we’re everywhere.” But just as some other fans spoiled it by tossing crap onto the field in that game, the Cubs fans that participated in hurling trash onto the field are out of line.
Update: Dan Shanoff of The Daily Quickie says the reason was a coup disgrace:
Finally so fed up with the team’s awful season, the fans’ only reaction was to chuck stuff on the field.
“Fire Dusty [Baker]” has joined “Fire [Matt] Millen” and “Fire Isiah [Thomas]” in the Triple Crown of sports executive executions that fans would like to see.