I have expressed before my dislike of the fact that cheating in baseball by tricking the umpires is not only not punished, but the players and media gloat over their success in duping on on-field officials. That strikes me as disgraceful. Another thing I dislike is not cheating but involves the fact that spectators can, in some instances, interfere with the action. This can happen because spectators can sit right behind the wall that designates the boundary. So if a ball is hit over the wall, you can have a situation where the fielder leaps to catch it before, or even after, it reaches the wall, while spectators, rather than moving away and giving the fielder room to make the play, also try to catch the ball and interfere.
Here is one such incident that happened in a high-stakes playoff game yesterday and may have cost one team the win.
That would have been an INSANE catch from Mookie Betts. pic.twitter.com/3EdbzyBJb2
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) October 18, 2018
The astounding this is that this kind of thing is considered perfectly acceptable. If I were running the game, I would put a gap between the wall and the first row of spectators.
I am trying to think of other games where spectators can and do interfere with the play. In cricket, there is a huge distance between the boundary line and the spectators. So too in football and tennis and rugby. The only sport where spectators are so close to the playing area is basketball but I am not aware of fans trying to interfere with the game, though they could easily do so if they wanted. I suspect that they would be ejected from the arena pronto.
Adding to this problem is that in baseball, there is a peculiar mystique attached to catching a ball that goes into the crowd, and people who catch one seem inexplicably proud of having done so, even though what they caught can be bought cheaply in any sports store. They don’t do this just for (say) some record-breaking event but even for run-of-the-mill games. This has even resulted in ugly fights among fans over ‘ownership’ of a ball that falls among them. Adults will even snatch a ball away from small children and then gloat over doing so, as this video clip compiled by an Australian shows. (Language advisory)