Pro sporting events are often full of hecklers saying cruel and unsavory things. Hecklers are, for better or worse, a part of live sports experience, one that we’ve mostly come to expect and tolerate.
What we saw transpire in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, though, wasn’t your normal heckler incident. It involved a loudmouthed fan, an angry umpire stopping the game to eject him and then an awkwardly hilarious recap from said umpire after the game.
We’ll start by setting the scene: The Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants were in the sixth inning of their game, which the Phillies eventually won 13-8. A heckler behind the Giants dugout had been laying into home-plate umpire Bob Davidson during the sixth inning. Finally, Davidson had enough.
He stopped play, walked over toward the Giants dugout, then looked a dozen or so rows back and asked that the fan be ejected. Remember, this isn’t the usual jurisdiction of an umpire, so it’s something we don’t see too often. Usually stadium security handles fans behaving badly.
But Davidson tried to give the fan the heave-ho and security ultimately got him to leave the game, according to Aaron Bracy of the Associated Press:
#Phillies spokesperson said Bob Davidson complained to security about fan's language and, when approached, fan agreed to leave on his own.
— Aaron Bracy (@Aaron_Bracy) August 3, 2016
Where this really gets interesting is after the game. Davidson, speaking to a pool reporter, was asked to explain what happened with the fan and he got quite specific — hilariously so and awkwardly so.
“All of a sudden … this guys starts yelling ‘You suck.’ You could tell he was (drunk). And so, all right, suck is not bad. Then he kept it up for two hitters completely. Then the third hitter after the first pitch, he says ‘I own property on 69th street. You could come over and suck!’ That’s when I turned around and said ‘You know what, get rid of this guy.’ You could have your wife, girlfriend, kids–they buy tickets. They don’t have to come here and listen to that. That’s exactly what he said to throw him out.”
Doesn’t it remind you of the awkwardness of a high-school teacher trying to tell a dirty joke? It’s certainly the kind of thing you don’t hear umpires say too often. On the field, however, fans seated near the heckler seemed to love that Davidson ejected him. Even Davidson got a kick out of that after the game.
“And people cheered me,” he said. “Which is unusual in this town for me.”
Imagine that, fans siding with an ump.
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