Thursday night, a man ran through the Busch Stadium outfield buck-naked after losing a bet. He was a man of honor, if not clothing.
I have welched on bets before. Years ago, I made a bet with Nick of The Dugout fame over the result of a Braves-Red Sox interleague series. The loser, we agreed, would have to write an entire blog post about cash registers. Just cash registers.
The Braves lost, so I lost. I didn't want to write about cash registers, so in desperation I proposed a follow-up bet on a Chiefs-Patriots game. The previous bet would be stricken from the record, and the loser of this bet would have to write five posts about cash registers. I lost that one too. I still have yet to write a single post about cash registers.
There is no truer act of integrity than to pay one's debt, especially when welching on the bet would carry no significant penalty. As such, I stand in this man's shadow as a moral zero, a rotten excuse for a man.
This time around, we have a special treat. An intrepid Cardinals fan managed to record the tail end of the run at 120 frames per second. This, I believe, is a first.
It's really something. You can almost hear David Attenborough narrating the spectacle.
Anyway, this man said later that he lost a bet. We know not the conditions or structure of this bet, but we do know that he lost and that he made good on his debt. He spent the night in jail for his trouble. He will probably suffer a fine, and he might even have to go back to jail for a bit. I'm certain he knew his fate the second his feet hit the field.
Consider also that streaking through the field buck-naked is a profound act of bravery. This is the 15th field-storming study we have undertaken. We have witnessed brave acts from fearless people. And yet, this gentleman is only the third we've seen to have streaked completely naked. (The other two, if you're curious, are the Sun Life streaker and one of the field-stormers from the Safeco Field debacle).
And now consider this: all the others stormed the field because they were bold, or bored, or wasted, but there was a spark in them that spurred them to run through the field completely of their own volition. This fellow did this because he lost a bet. He probably didn't want to do this. He faced his fear, and then he stomped it out with bare feet.
Estimated run time: 35 seconds
Estimated run distance: 400 feet
Indignant gestures: 1 (nakedness)
Articles of clothing worn: 0
Security guards in play: 8
If we're strictly talking about security agents in active pursuit, this may be an all-time record. He was absolutely swarmed. Escape was impossible, and it was amazing to see him evade this mob on two separate occasions.
And finally: yes, he was naked. Maybe that's not your scene. That's fine. Consider, though, the reaction from Cardinals third baseman David Freese:
"He was naked. He's not carrying much," Freese said. "That relaxes that aspect of the drama. I guess naked's better. I don't know. Less to worry about."
It's an issue of safety, you see. If you run through a baseball field naked, you might upset or disgust people. But you are also saying this: "I run in peace. You may well hurt me, but I will never hurt you."
Click here to read more adventures in field-storming.