Last Wednesday night, a fan stormed the field in Flushing. He was eventually caught, but not before sparking one of the most hilariously incompetent security jobs in recent memory.
Suppose you were to find your way on a baseball diamond. How long do you reckon you could evade capture? The answer has less to do with your quickness, cunning, and stamina, and more to do with those of the security personnel who are trying to bring you down.
I realize that these field-storming reports (you can visit the full archive here) tend to celebrate the field-stormer more than the parties who work to bring him down, but don't be mistaken: the role of the security guard is every bit as significant and, yes, noble. Without a nemesis, the fugitive would simply be a fool frolicking on a lawn.
And when a security team is at its best, it's beautiful. The guards trap their prey with pinpoint coordination before treating spectators to a jarring tackle. I will sing their praises whenever they offer me an opportunity to do so.
During last Wednesday night's Mets-Cardinals game, Citi Field personnel offered me no such opportunity. This is the most comically awful security job I have ever seen.
Oh, goodness gracious. To the blackboard, please (click the image below to enlarge):
To turn and face your pursuers mid-run is usually a foolhardy action. To do so seven times and get away with it suggests a supernatural grade of incompetence. That is what happened here.
While it's true that the Citi Field personnel don't appear to be terribly fleet of feet, the true sponsor of this program is their abject failure to execute any sort of cohesive plan. The field-stormer turns and skips backwards at half-speed. They slow to a crawl. He turns on the jets. They simply follow him single-file, like ducklings waddling after their mother. It's hysterical, and a little adorable.
These security guards would have been more effective had they acted without the pretense of having a plan at all. As evidence, I cite Pac-Man: although the ghosts act randomly, at least they do so independently, which results in the occasional cornering. What we're seeing here is the same feckless string of programming, repeated four times.
At the end, I sensed something that almost certainly was not there: camaraderie. It's rare to see a field-stormer completely surrender himself, especially when he's outrunning his foes with such ease. That's just what he appears to have done. He seemed to have recognized that he had a role to play, and so did they. After a solid tackle that could not have possibly made up for the hurricane of incompetence we all bore witness too, the gentleman was led away in cuffs and presumably jailed.
I don't recall ever having seen a field-storming effort that lasted as long as this one did. The longest videos available document about 45 seconds' worth of action; given his position at the start of the videos, he was surely out there for a full minute. Let's go ahead and declare this a major league record.
Such a statement doesn't carry much currency, and I'll be the first to admit as much. I feel as though I'm a 19th-century weatherman, declaring a record high the year they started keeping weather records. This is unsteady territory; please know that I sincerely appreciate your patience and understanding.
One post-script: you have won my gratitude, Citi Field faithful, for documenting this event so thoroughly. You uploaded a dozen or so videos, and ought to be proud of yourselves. Thank you for making this work easier.