Sunday, June 2, 2013

Tragedy at Camden

Writing a baseball blog is supposed to be a fun hobby. I get to write about my favorite team, post funny memes and basically faff about on the internet in between responsibilities both professional and personal. But every so often something happens that I simply cannot ignore and I have to take a detour in the world of politics and my general disdain for most of humanity.

Today is one of those days.

Last week the forces of machismo, alcohol, rivalry, idiocy, and adrenaline combined in the stands of Camden Yards. When these things happen it is never a good thing, and it does happen often but it rarely ever ends in anything significant. Last week it did. At Wednesday’s Orioles – Nationals game Matthew Fortese from Hagerstown was with a young lady on their second date. Matthew made the, apparently, cardinal sin of wearing a Yankees hat at a baseball game and thus incurred the wrath of Gregory Fleischman and Michael Bell, a couple of 20-somethings from the greater Baltimore area.
The complete circumstances of what transpired throughout that night will likely never be entirely known. What we do know is this: The two men are accused of harassing Fortese and his girlfriend most of the night. This culminated with a full beer being lobbed at the couple. Fortese then stood up and confronted the two men. A punch was thrown, Fortese stumbled and fell backwards over the railing of their section. He landed on the concrete five feet below fracturing his skull in the process.
He is currently in the Intensive Care Unit of the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Shock Trauma center. Bell and Fleischman are out on bail.

We now have to have a discussion on fan behavior at games.

First and foremost let us dispatch with the fake shock over this. Allow me to channel my inner Claude Raines when I say I am shocked, SHOCKED, to hear someone got seriously hurt at a baseball game fight. And please, do not mistake my flippancy for callousness. I have nothing but the deepest sympathies for the Fortese family and friends and I genuinely wish him the speediest and full recovery. I also have nothing but pity for the pathetic pair of boys that are charged with the assault. The bottom line is they did not intend to seriously hurt this man. Sure, they seem to be the guys who started it and one of them threw a punch but I do not believe that in their wildest dreams they expected something like this would happen.

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