The Boston Red Sox were a little overzealous in celebrating their AL East championship after beating the Blue Jays on Friday night, and the absurdity really kicked in when outfielder Jonny Gomes began punting full beer cans into the Fenway Park stands.
If that sounds like an accident or injury waiting to happen, that's because it is. Even to Gomes it could have been risky had he caught one of the cans wrong and injured his foot, or one of his teammates who could unknowingly wander into the line of fire. Honestly, it's impossible to think of an idea more ridiculous than punting beer cans anywhere, but especially at your paying customers.
Unfortunately, and predictably, one of those ticket-buying fans was injured by a flying beer can. The older gentleman was struck directly above the left eye, suffering a deep laceration as a result.
According to a comment posted at the SportsGrid website, “My wife and I literally had to duck so as not to get hit by this same beer can punted by Gomes. We turned around to see who it hit and saw this gentleman disoriented and bleeding profusely.” Another purported eyewitness stated that “He was bleeding profusely and luckily Fenway First Aid was quick to respond.”
In all honesty, Gomes and the Red Sox are lucky the fan's injuries weren't a lot worse. Had he been struck in the eye or on the side of the head, there could have been many severe complications. As it is, it's an ugly situation. One that the Red Sox and Gomes need to address sooner than later.
Another thing that needs to be addressed, perhaps on a grander scale, is how these celebrations have escalated. It's not a problem that teams want to celebrate on the field, dress in costumes and get the fans involved. But every time it happens it seems to go to another level of silliness. What happened to victory laps and shaking the fans hands? Those were always nice, controlled acknowledgments that everyone felt good about. Now the alcohol is flowing freely right on the field, which alone isn't a problem, but when players can't do so responsibly, it's a problem.
What happened in Boston on Friday night is actually a very big problem, but maybe it's the moment that will lead us back to smarter, simpler celebrations. Yeah, that sounds boring now, and it's probably unlikely to happen, but boring should win out if the alternative is what we saw at Fenway.