The United States is a wonderful place. You can do what you want. At least that's what it says in the directions. But if you come to a Major League Baseball game and just sit there, off by yourself, and Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs hits a home run that lands in the row in front of you and you barely acknowledge that it happened — much less make an attempt to pick up the ball with no other fans around, almost as if a radioactive meteor has fallen at your feet — you are going to be questioned and made fun of on the internet.
The Miami Marlins draw so poorly at home, they probably don't care much how people act once they're inside of Marlins Park, as long as they buy concessions. Just get 'em in. And yet, Fish management shouldn't want to encourage folks to be catatonic, either. It doesn't exactly send the message that people are having fun at the old ballpark.
Why do you think these fans reacted as they did? The Stew has 10 theories. Actually, we have at least 46, but these are 10 of them:
10. They're soccer fans. Note the soccer jersey worn by the guy on the right. As everyone knows, there's only one rule in soccer: Don't touch the ball. "It would have been a penalty kick for Sporting Chicago."
9. They're really optimistic Marlins fans. "Hey, right fielder Giancarlo Stanton might have gotten to it, so keep the hands clear, don't want to cost our team a base."
8. It was meant for someone else. "Sure, we're two of the six total people in our section out of a possible 350 seats. It's not our fault they can't get anyone to come to the games. So, when someone hits a home run into our exact row and not the row in front of us, we swear, we'll go for it."
7. Issues. The guy on the left was taking a very important phone call and didn't realize what was happening. And the guy on the right didn't realize his friend was on the phone, because he doesn't really pay attention to him anymore, because they're not very close, actually they've grown apart, especially since the guy on the left started dating Holly Sanders (that tease) and stopped going to ballgames regularly. I mean, the only reason they went Friday night was because the guy on the right got the tickets for practically free on Groupon — OK, he found them in an envelope on the sidewalk, or maybe there was just a big stack of them at work. What's the difference? And he practically begged the guy on the left to go, because he said they'd go to games last season but hardly went at all because "Holly doesn't like baseball because she got hit in the face with a ball in the third grade. How many times do I have to hear that darn story? And why does she have to come at all? Good, I'm glad she's not here! Jeez, stop hounding us! Can we go?"
6. Ball cooties. You don't know where that baseball's been. Have you seen "Contagion"?
5. Hive minds. "Look, if Home Run Thingie doesn't react, we don't react."
4. Temporal confusion. The guy on the left was on the phone watching the game on MLB.tv, and the guy on the right was watching the game on the jumbotron TV inside the stadium and there's a delay and by the time they figured out what was happening it was too late to react.
3. Orders from the top. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria was on the other end of the phone telling the guy not to pick up the ball. Why is not important.
2. Shomer Shabbat. "Saturday, Donny, is Shabbos, the Jewish day of rest. That means that I don't work, I don't drive a car, I don't ride in a car, I don't handle money, I don't turn on the oven, and I sure as [heck] don't pick up a #&$!@ baseball! ... Shomer Shabbos!"
1. The Power of Cubs. They have not won a World Series since 1908. Anytime something good happens to them, it puts the fear of Armageddon into people. A lot of good a baseball does when it could be the end of the world.