In case you missed it yesterday, in two sporting events, in two vastly contrasting sports, we witnessed two dispicable acts of "fandom" courtesy of some vile Mexican soccer hooligans and some tool at Wrigley field.
First, there was the incident at Estadio Azteca during yesterday's USA-Mexico World Cup Qualifier. I don't think I could adequately describe the putrid act of "fandom" in my own words, so I'll show you how Martin Rogers of Yahoo! Sports painted the picture:
"The man with the tri-colored mohawk took a swig of beer, stuck his fingers down his throat and vomited the mixture back into his cup. In the next seat another man, who was wearing a T-shirt with a cartoon drawing of the decapitated heads of Barack Obama and Landon Donovan, poured out what remained of the Corona beer he had been chugging and urinated into his cardboard drinks container.
Then, according to a neutral bystander who witnessed these disgusting acts, the pair stood on their seats, high-fived and hurled their vile concoctions in the direction of Donovan, the United States men’s national team star who was preparing to take a corner kick 15 yards away."
That's right, Mexican fans were tossing urine and vomit, among other things at US soccer players during yesterday's match.
Then, last night, during the Cubs-Phillies game at Wrigley Field, in the bottom of the 5th inning, Shane Victorino was fielding a flyball at the wall in left-center field. That's when this tool (seriously, a v-neck, "designer" shades, hat tilted slightly to the side AND an unnecessary armband) perfectly timed tossing a beer at Victorino while he caught the ball.
That guy (or someone that security thought was the culprit) was ejected and then there was outrage all over the place about the "classiness" of Cubs fans, some even coming from Philadelphia fans, as I saw on the video a Phillies fan trying to go after the Cub fan as he was being escorted out by security. Now that would be the pot calling the kettle "black," but I digress.
Anyways, that brought up this thought from me via Twitter. Then I wondered why misbehavior, and the throwing of objects onto the pitch, is accepted as commonplace in soccer/futbol while there is outrage when it happens in other sports (ex: the Wrigley incident and oh, how about the Ron Artest saga a few years back).
After conversing with a few other sports fans, including those who are more knowledgeable about soccer than I am, we seem to have an understanding now. As several people explained to me, soccer has a history of hooliganism from its fans, while baseball as (mis)conceived as more "noble and pure" and time-honored in America (that's why it's called America's past-time).
That right there held the answer to my inquiry of why there is more public outrage over a tossed beer than there is over tossed urine and vomit: tradition. Because baseball is regarded (by some) as America's past-time, and is held in such high esteem, we don't expect such stupidity from one of the fans. So when something to this extent occurs on national television, no less, there is outrage, some real and likely some feigned.
The incident in Mexico City on the other hand, occurred in a sport where there is a history of such fanaticism that includes riots and the like. It also happened to occur in a sport that many in the US do not show the same support for, despite it being the most popular sport in the world. Hell, even the US team downplayed the incident after the game, instead putting the focus on the "intimidated referee," while Victorino in turn filed a police report in Chicago following the beer incident.
Now I'm not saying that what the Wrigley fan did was right, in fact, it was stupid and wrong. What I am saying though is that what he did pales in comparison to the type of sportsmanship and fandom that Mexican soccer fans displayed yesterday in Mexico's 2-1 victory over the US. So perhaps we should turn the brunt of the focus away from the beer-tosser and instead lash out at the Mexican soccer fans who committed much more vile and disturbing acts.