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At least one player has a problem with tasing fans

May 6, 2010, 4:01 PM EDT

So many of the people taking issue with my position on the tasing incident have cited the players’ fear of rampaging spectators and their approval of the tasing as a basis for their arguments. But it’s not a universal sentiment.

Here’s Brent Mayne, former major leaguer and the on-deck hitter during the Tom Gamboa incident, writing about the Philly tasing incident on his blog:

I think what’s called for is a little common sense. I mean, if someone is
running around the field trying to not get caught, let him run. Unless it’s
Lance Armstrong or someone, how long do you think one person can keep running?
The guys gonna peter out eventually, right? And in the meantime, there’s a
possibility of some pretty fun entertainment to spice up the ball game.

Now on the other hand, if someone is coming out hot (and believe me, you can
tell immediately if that’s the case) zap away. I’ve seen a lot of people jump on
the field in my day and I knew right away when those two events at Comiskey
happened that they were different. Everyone on the field felt it. There was
violence and purpose on those fans minds and it was very obvious. Like
I said, for these clowns, let the police get involved and taser away.

Mayne goes on to note that corralling a streaker or a harmless drunk is often a groundskeeper’s highlight of the year.  I’ll take his word for that, but if true, it’s a twist on this that I have yet to hear. I can see it, though.

As to his general point, that’s basically my position too. Police and security people are in the threat-assessment business. Let them assess threats and leave the shoot-first-ask-questions-later stuff to the movies.

  1. YankeesfanLen - May 6, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    Wait…isn’t Lance Armstrong a bicycle rider? That would be pretty good during the seventh-inning stretch.

  2. Tim - May 6, 2010 at 4:46 PM

    After reading your “shoot-first-ask….” comment, I had to go back and re-read the account of the Philly fan-on-the-field incident to make sure that I didn’t miss that the kid had been capped with a .45. I bet Paul Blart was at greater risk of a heart attack as he chased the goofball than the kid was of dying from being tazed…bro.

  3. Palooka Joe - May 6, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    Um…about that tag…it’s not nice to make milk shoot out my nose.

  4. rob - May 6, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    craig, it may be time to at least *see* the other side of this. i mean, it seems like you’re trying way too hard to find others who agree with your pov. your perspective is valid. so is the perspective of those who say that security acted rationally. i mean, let’s be honest here — if brent mayne is saying he can *tell* from the moment a fan jumps on to the field what that fan’s intention is, he should be in homeland security or something. that’s quite a skill. i’d like him next to me the next time i board a plane.
    and while you say that police and security people are in the threat assessment business and they should, you know, assess threats, it seems like you’re only ok with that if they assess the threat the way you would.

  5. jwb - May 6, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    “I bet Paul Blart was at greater risk of a heart attack as he chased the goofball”
    Unless 35 police officers per year die of heart attacks while pursuing goofballs on foot, which is of course possible, you would lose that bet.

  6. Joey B - May 6, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    “As to his general point, that’s basically my position too. Police and security people are in the threat-assessment business. Let them assess threats and leave the shoot-first-ask-questions-later stuff to the movies.”
    Cool, but just to refresh your memory, your opinion is that he should not have done it. That’s different than leaving the assessment to those in the assessment business. As a matter of fact, you implied he should be fired.

  7. MJ - May 6, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    Tasing is such a big deal! AHHHHHHH!!!!! Jesus throw your energy behind a more deserving topic like sex trafficing or aids in Africa.

  8. Craig Calcaterra - May 6, 2010 at 5:05 PM

    I think the police should assess threats. I do not think that their assessments are always right. I think the Philly cop assessed wrong if, in fact, he actually assessed. I think a strong argument can be made that he was going to tase the guy no matter what.
    That said, this post is directed more at the overwhelming number of commenters who said that police should not assess the perpetrator’s conduct and wait to see if he means harm. In fact, most people said that the police cannot afford to do such a thing and must, instead, assume the worst and take the guy down the moment he got onto the field.

  9. Charles - May 6, 2010 at 5:26 PM

    I certainly agree with Brent’s assesment of the field “jumpers.” Tasing a fan like that is uncalled for. Our police have better things to do than to chase a drunk or delirious fan on the field. Furthermore, most of the police are so big an fat, they can’t run anyway. That is why the policeman probably said to himself, “the hell with this all of this running.” And that is when he decided to zap the fan. While a lot of the people in Philly are for tasing people, it is not a surprise. These are the same Philly Cheesestakes who booed Santa Claus and Michael Irvin while he was lying helplessly on the ground during a football game. People are still buzzing about how that kid was zapped and went down like a Clint Eastwood movie, “go ahead….make my day.”

  10. Charles - May 6, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    I certainly agree with Brent’s assesment of the field “jumpers.” Tasing a fan like that is uncalled for. Our police have better things to do than to chase a drunk or delirious fan on the field. Furthermore, most of the police are so big an fat, they can’t run anyway. That is why the policeman probably said to himself, “the hell with this all of this running.” And that is when he decided to zap the fan. While a lot of the people in Philly are for tasing people, it is not a surprise. These are the same Philly Cheesestakes who booed Santa Claus and Michael Irvin while he was lying helplessly on the ground during a football game. People are still buzzing about how that kid was zapped and went down like a Clint Eastwood movie, “go ahead….make my day.”

  11. Tom - May 6, 2010 at 5:42 PM

    I think that Brett Mayne meant to say that he gave Taser Boy an “ocular patdown.”
    http://www.hulu.com/watch/99807/its-always-sunny-in-philadelphia-ocular-patdown#s-p6-n5-sr-i1

  12. mick-7-1961 - May 6, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    I couldn’t agree more with Mayne….this kid would eventually have been run down…it’s not part of the game, but it happens every now and then. More often then not, when they catch a runner, he’s usually slammed down pretty hard…in any case, using the type of violent behavior this cop diplayed could have ended much more tragically.

  13. AJ Gallo - May 6, 2010 at 7:08 PM

    It is so easy for the rest of us to say, during a reflective moment, about how others should, or should not, act or react. That they should be able to do this or that. None of us knows how we would react at a moment’s notice to an incident. I sympathize with police officers and security officers who are now asked to be mind readers and immediately ascertain whether some moron jumping onto the field is intent on harm or not. And then to immediately decide on what is, or isn’t, the proper response to it. That’s bullcrap. Rarely does one have the advantage of being able to sit back, analyze, ask questions, discuss, consider alternatives, then make a decision. A decision, by the way, that needs to be made in a heartbeat. Give me a break. Could Mayne have been able to immediately sense that those two father and son jackasses who ran onto the field and proceeded to beat up that poor Kansas City first base coach meant harm to him? You trespass, you do something you know is wrong or illegal, then you accept the consequences.

  14. Charles Gates - May 6, 2010 at 7:16 PM

    Damn, ya beat me too it.
    If anything, this whole tasing thing reaffirmed my belief in the Electoral College. Average Joe apparently has no idea how ‘He had it coming to him when he stepped on the field’ seriously infringes on Constitutional rights.

  15. mick-7-1961 - May 6, 2010 at 7:20 PM

    Jesus,Paisan….the guy ran on to the field….how many times has that happened in the past?…how many have been tased?..what’s next, the cops shoot at them? It’s not about second guessing or analyzing. It’s settling a long-standing (tradition?) by running after them and throwing them to the ground.

  16. mick-7-1961 - May 6, 2010 at 7:27 PM

    What this incident might ‘accomplish’ is that it might serve as a deterrent to any would-be future runners.

  17. Kevin C - May 6, 2010 at 7:45 PM

    Finally someone with common sense. He is right: You can tell immediately when someone is fooling around compared to attacking. Considering someone can die from tasering, it is, pun intended, overkill.

  18. ralf - May 6, 2010 at 7:48 PM

    I’ve read a few online news stories about this incident, and I’m really troubled by how many commenters (and some “journalists”) implied or openly stated that this guy “had it coming.” That shows a serious lack of understanding about the job of a police officer. We have them around to keep the general public safe by intervening when individuals are doing dangerous or violent things. Punishment is not part of their job. A fan that runs onto the field during a game is an idiot, and there’s a chance he could be dangerous. The police need to restrain him as quickly as they can. It’s hard for me to argue that a taser was inappropriate. But any real punishment he receives (aside from the team giving him a lifelong ban from the stadium) should be decided by the courts.
    A lot of cops seem to have become confused about this issue since tasers were introduced. There are stories every week about people who are extremely unlikely to cause physical harm to anyone (kids, the elderly, even a pregnant women sitting in her car with her seatbelt buckled), but who get tasered for simply arguing with or fleeing an officer. Stories about bad cops get far too much exposure while most good cops go unnoticed, but it’s clear that a scary number of officers see the taser as a legal way to cause pain to someone who pisses them off. That’s punishment, not protect and serve.
    p.s. When used as a verb, is it “taser” or “tase”? They both look ok for present tense but “tasered” and “tased” both seem wrong for past tense.

  19. jwb - May 6, 2010 at 7:49 PM

    “What this incident might ‘accomplish’ is that it might serve as a deterrent to any would-be future runners.”
    Because that worked SO well.
    http://twitter.com/THETHOROBRED/status/13396289546

  20. SVAZ - May 6, 2010 at 7:59 PM

    Didn’t stop another dumbass from running on the field the next night. And getting busted for pot possession. Funny, though, that some of the crowd were chanting “Tase him. Tase him.”

  21. Palooka Joe - May 6, 2010 at 8:44 PM

    As a law enforcement professional it’s his job to think clearly in these situations. That’s why they spend so much time training and devising policy. We don’t want the people tasked with the protection of the peace to get caught up in the and do something rash. Sure it’s a tough job, especially in a situation as emotionally charged as this one. But that’s why the police officers who do their job well are worthy of an extra measure of respect.
    .
    By now there must have been hundreds of incidents where fans have run onto the field and (as far as I can tell in five minutes of research) this is the first time an officer has felt the need to subdue one with a taser. A lot of us are looking at the footage and wondering what made this kid so special. Even if we’re not police officers ourselves, we know how many, many of them have dealt with the problem in the past. We have never seen an officer draw a projectile weapon, and fire it on the run at a moving target (ignoring the friendly target who was also in his field of fire. The person who trained him to use that taser probably cringes every time he sees that.).
    .
    To us, this looks like a poor decision by someone who let his emotions get the best of him. We’re glad that the situation ended without injury, but it didn’t do anything to build our faith in the the officer’s good judgment.

  22. AJ Gallo - May 6, 2010 at 9:00 PM

    First of all, a disclaimer; I am not a police officer nor is anyone in my family one. However, to your comment, I don’t know if I agree, but I certainly respect your opinion. I just think that judgements made on outward appearances can sometimes lead to tragic ends. This incident notwithstanding, sure, a police officer or security officer’ job is to protect others. But they need to protect themselves also. There’s no telling what weapon is hidden on a person, a knife, anything. I genuinely believe that when someone does something knowingly wrong, he deserves the consequences.

  23. Cincy G - May 7, 2010 at 2:03 AM

    “And the sign says anyone caught trespassing will be shot on sight, so I jumped the fence and yelled at the house HEY!!….” BANG BANG BANG

  24. Michael - May 7, 2010 at 2:10 AM

    Yeah, I have a HUGE problem with the “you just don’t KNOW whether random towel-waving kid running in a random direction is going to knife a player” argument:
    – If that’s the case, police training is useless and teams should just pick guys off the street, hand them a taser and tell them to watch the stands for runners.
    – There’s no “protecting yourself” involved in tasing someone in the back.
    It’s interesting to think the kid put more thought into HIS actions than the guy who tased him, but that’s what happened.

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