The relationship between sports fans and the actual action on the field of play has always been a very close and personal one. As many athletes often say in the post game interviews, or in their award acceptance speeches, they “do it for the fans.” It is universally understood that without fans there would be no sports, so naturally fans feel like they are part of the game, the issue in that line of thinking becomes a problem when fans actually do become part of the action on the field.
In today’s day and age every sporting event is overloaded with security guards and police officers. There are metal detectors outside of many sporting events now, as well as the occasional K-9 unit at some events. All of this heightened security is not for no reason, as throughout the history of sports there have been many many instances of fans finding a way to interrupt the competition.
I would venture to say that most of us have been to a game, or at least seen a game where a fan has had enough liquid courage to think its a good idea to run out onto the field. Usually we all think it is hilarious and all in good fun, and most times it is.
But there are those instances when a fan does not want to just run on the field and get a laugh while being tossed from the stadium. On too many occurrences we have seen fans take away from the game, and in some cases fans have even attempted to injure athletes while they are playing their respective sport. Today we will give a run down of the top 15 worst cases of fan interference in the wide world of sports.
As always feel free to let us know if we forgot any instance where a fan got too involved in the comments below.
Morganna Roberts was known as “the kissing bandit” throughout the 1970s, 80s and part of the 90s. She was the woman who would run on the diamond or hardwood, kiss players on the cheek and then run away. Marganna kissed many athletes including Cal Ripken jr, George Brett, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Johnny Bench, Nolan Ryan, and Pete Rose. Her stardom hit its peak when ESPN made a short documentary about her earlier this decade.
14. Dani Alves Eats Thrown Bananas
In 2014 Barcelona’s Dani Alves was playing in a soccer match when fans of the opposing team began calling him a monkey, and throwing bananas at him. In an attempt to be the bigger man, which he absolutely accomplished, Alves grabbed one of the bananas during a quick stoppage of play, peeled it and ate it. Alves is an amazing player, but many fans will always remember him as the guy who took an extremely racist moment and made light of it. Way to go Dani!
13. Tie Domi vs. Philadelphia Fans
In 2001, Tie Domi was serving a penalty in the penalty box when a Flyers fan threw beer and other items at him. Domi, who was known as a tough guy, decided to squirt water on the fan. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The fan reached over the glass– ultimately shattering the glass–and began a fist fight with Domi. The two landed a few good shots during the brief brawl, but the fan actually required stitches when it was done.
12. Sheffield And Redsox Nation
In 2005 Gary Sheffield was playing for the New York Yankees. I think we all know the rivalry between the Yanks and the Sox. During a routine play, Sheffield was retrieving a ball up against the wall, as he was picking the ball up of the ground he was struck in the face by a fan. Sheffield threw the ball in to his teammate and immediately took issue with the fan. Thankfully for Sheffield’s sake he was able to restrain himself enough to not escalate the situation too much, although he did take a quick short swing at the fan.
11. Michael O’Brien: The First Streaker
In 1974 during a rugby match in London, Michael O’Brien started a trend. He was the first person to streak at a major sporting event or at least the first person to get notoriety from it. O’Brien did it on a bet, which he won, but was fined the exact amount of the bet, so in the end he did not win much other than fame. O’Brien was also fired from his job for the stunt, but at least there were 48,000 people there to see history made, and O’Brien will always be able to say he was the first to make streaking popular.
10. Jeff Maier Steals A Homerun For The Yankees
In 1996 Jeff Maier was a 12-year-old baseball fan who was attending a playoff game between the Yankees and Orioles. Late in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, Derek Jeter hit a ball that was headed to the warning track, and likely going to be caught by the Orioles right fielder for an out.
That is when the 12-year-old Maier struck. He reached out and grabbed the ball from the awaiting outfielder and the umpires ruled the ball to be a homer. The home run tied the game and the Yankees would go on to win the game and the series.
9. Disco Demo Night
In 1979 at Comiskey Park in Chicago, the White Sox decided to have a promotion. They were having a double header with the Detroit Tigers and between games they had crates full of old disco records brought out onto the field. For some reason they thought it would be fun to blow all those records to pieces. When they did, all the fans rushed the field to celebrate the death of disco. Well, in turn, the field was torn to shreds as well, and the White Sox were forced to forfeit the second game of the double header.
8. Panathinaikos VersusOlympiakos: The Night of Shame
A soccer match was supposed to be played between Panathinaikos and Olympiacos, but instead a wild scene broke out. Before the game started, fans and riot police got into a tussle. The fans got a hold of some flares and began shooting them off at the players warming up on the field. The players fled for safety after nearly being hit by fireballs. The game was rendered a forfeit and never rescheduled. Thankfully no players were injured during the craziness, not sure we can say the same for fans.
7. Ten Cent Beer Night
In 1974 the Cleveland Indians held a promotion to attract fans to the ballpark. They offered fans all the beer they could drink, only charging 10 cents a beer. That sounds like a recipe for trouble. Sure enough, by the 9th inning of the game, the fans had become so drunk and so rowdy that the umpires had to call the game early to get the players off the field. What prompted the early ending was when visiting player Mike Hargrove was struck by a hot dog while on the field. The promotion was obviously never attempted again.
6. Steve Bartman
The Chicago Cubs have had a long miserable history as it pertains to success, so in 2003 when the Cubs were looking like real World Series contenders, it would only be fitting for the Steve Bartman episode to take place. Bartman was a Cubs fan who was sitting up against the left field wall during a playoff game, when a foul ball was coming his way, he did what most fans would do; he tried to catch it.
The only thing is that the ball was still in the field of play and Cubs outfielder Moses Alou was ready to make the catch. Bartman cost the Cubs an out on that play, and many Cubs fans still think Bartman cost the Cubs a shot at the World Series in 2003.
5. Fan Man
James Miller is the man known as Fan Man. He is a parachutist who, for whatever reason, likes flying into sporting events and crashing them. In 1993 he mad a crash landing at Ceasar’s Palace in Las Vegas during a Heavyweight Title fight between Evander Holyfield and Roddick Bowe. Sadly Miller was a troubled individual and ultimately committed suicide by hanging himself in a rain forest in the Kenai Peninsula.
4. Malice At The Palace
In 2004, the Detroit Pistons were hosting the Indiana Pacers in a regular season game. With about a minute left in the game, a fight broke out between players on each team. As the fight was winding down, Ron Artest laid himself on the scorer’s table, and that is when it happened; a fan threw a beer at Artest. Arrest then went into the crowd and a fight began with players and fans. Ultimately nine players were suspended for a total of 146 games, and over $11 million in salary was lost by the suspended players.
3. The Band Is On The Field
Know as “The Play” this is the most famous college football play of all-time. After giving up a field goal with only four seconds left on the clock, the Golden Bears of Cal were all but done and Stanford was ready to celebrate a major victory. With the clock winding down, Cal received the kickoff and began running. After getting through most of the Stanford players, Cal found the Stanford marching band on the field. Cal would find their way into the end zone, and find their way to one of the craziest wins in football history.
2. Gamboa Gets Attacked
In 2002 Tom Gamboa was the first base coach for the Kansas City Royals. During a road game in Comiskey Park in Chicago (gee, quite the rowdy place, huh?), Gamboa was brutally attacked by a fan and his son. The attack was unprovoked, and there was never any motive given by the attackers. Gamboa suffered permanent hearing loss during the attack. The attackers pleaded guilty to the assault and were merely given probation.
1. Monica Seles Is Stabbed During Tennis Match
In 1993 Monica Seles was on top of women’s tennis. She was the number one ranked female player, and had won three consecutive French Open Titles, including multiple wins over Steffi Graf. During a match in Hamburg in 1993, Seles was stabbed in her back during a break between games, by a crazed Steffi Graf fan.
Seles would take two years to get back into the game, but she would never regain her dominance after the stabbing. The saddest part is Monica Seles’ story is that she was only 20 years old when she was attacked, and she was on her way to possibly becoming the greatest female tennis player of all time.
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