Wednesday night, a fan ran on the field in Rogers Centre and did the unthinkable: he attempted to run through the infield. Let's watch the spectacle, and reflect on baseball's outfield countryside and infield metropolis.
We are off, friends. Just a week after the 2012 baseball season began in earnest, we have our second field-storming. Perhaps we're simply paying closer attention, or perhaps we're in for a banner season of unauthorized ladies and gentlemen running around on baseball diamonds.
Wednesday night's field-storming, which took place at Rogers Centre in Toronto, was a rather standard endeavor, with one exception: our hero ventured into the infield. To the blackboard, please:
Unfortunately, we have video of only (an estimated) 60 to 70 percent of the run. Regardless, I would like to thank all you Blue Jays for coming through and delivering the evidence we do have. This is perhaps the best video:
Let's take a moment to appreciate the territory he covered. If you're a field-stormer, the outfield is where you want to be, isn't it? It's a vast, beautiful expanse. In fact, it counts as one of the reasons you'd want to run around on the field in the first place. Never mind the thrill of the chase or the instant notoriety: You get to run around in a field. If you live in the city, that's one thing you never get to do.
The infield, on the other hand ... well, if the outfield is the wide-open, lawless countryside, the infield is the city: compressed, densely populated, full of industry. There is the stock market of the pitcher-catcher battery, where the value of the change-up rises after the second strike, where the umpire determines the market price of a splitter at the knees. The baserunners career neatly through the basepaths like cars around a city block. The outfielders are roving hunter-gatherers; the infielders, with the exception of the shortstop, are middle-management, forever assigned a particular station.
If you are in the infield, you must have a job. And if you don't have a job, brother, the city will spit you right out. That is what we saw Wednesday night. That is what we see whenever a fan attempts to run through the infield. Remember the deer you once saw in a suburban backyard? We've all seen one. He's terribly lost. He's sealed in by a vast network of roads. He surely isn't long for this world. But now, right now, you can't help but stare out your kitchen window and appreciate the majesty of a creature Man has forgotten.
Sigh. Let's round up the statistics:
Estimated run time: 45 seconds
Estimated run distance: 450 feet
Indignant gestures: 0
Articles of clothing worn: 5 (underwear, two socks, two shoes)
Security guards in play: 6 (four apparent stadium personnel, two police officers)
Statistically, our field-stormer did not leave much of a mark. That's fine. Some of them won't. Some of them wish only to run free in the prairies, as our ancestors did. After they stood upright and before they could count.