Pitcher should've taken a seat, not thrown it

September 16, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

Apparently, the term "common sense" is an oxymoron these days. There's nothing common about it anymore.

On Tuesday, ran a poll asking who was at fault for the ugly brawl at Oakland Coliseum on Monday night: Rangers reliever Frank Francisco, who threw a chair into the stands - apparently at one or more hecklers - and broke the nose of an innocent woman; the hecklers; or ballpark security.

Uhmm ... oh, I dunno ... maybe, just maybe, it was the guy who threw the chair? You don't think?!

Well, apparently, most of you don't think. Ballpark security was in the lead when I last checked.

Excuse me?!

Like it or not, hecklers are a part of the professional (and major collegiate) sports scene, and have been for decades. It isn't exactly a new phenomenon when some idiot in the stands launches a variety of colorful slurs and accusations.

Let's say you're Francisco. Let's say - and there's no indication this happened, but for argument's sake let's assume the worst-case scenario - some idiot is yelling racial slurs at you. Let's say nothing's been done about it to that point. What do you do?


If you're responsible, you find a ballpark official or security member, explain the situation and get the idiot thrown out. Even if you believe security hasn't done its job to that point, you go find security and insist they do their job.

If you're irresponsible, you throw a chair at the guy and others who had nothing to do with anything but just happen to be in the way.

Seriously ... where is the debate in this? Are we rationalizing a guy throwing a chair into the stands?!

Yes, the heckler is a jerk. Jerks exist. Good luck eliminating all the jerks from the world.

And yes, Francisco was rightly arrested, should be prosecuted, should be convicted and should serve time behind bars.

There's no gray area here. Really. It scares me to think how many people believe there is.

Francisco threw a chair at people. Any rationalization that his doing so was OK is completely devoid of common sense, and any rationalization that anyone other than Francisco is to blame is ludicrous. It's embarrassing we even have to take a poll on this.

n Hey, I don't know if you've noticed (if you're like most of the country, you haven't), but the NHL is about to stage a lockout and no one cares. You think the NHL might be in trouble?

Dan Kauffman is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7520, or by e-mail at

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