On Wednesday night, the Cleveland Indians hosted the New York York Yankees for the third of 4 games at Progressive Field. The Yankees won handily, thumping the Tribe 8-0, but that wasn’t the big story. Unfortunately.
Out in the left field bleachers was a fan. A fan who thought…well, frankly– he didn’t do much thinking. Because arriving to a sporting event in Cleveland while wearing a LeBron James Miami Heat jersey is pretty thoughtless.
This is a free country and in most cases we’re all welcome to wear whatever we want. But that doesn’t eliminate the need for common sense. Cleveland was deeply wounded by James’ departure, perhaps moreso than any other city at the hands of any other athlete. To show up celebrating that proverbial slap in the face is inflammatory bordering on stupid.
And these days, the bleachers at progressive Field are far from full. In those half-filled sections, apparel that would have stood out in any size crowd is practically a buzzing neon sign pointing squarely at the wearer. This guy’s choice of wardrobe would have likely sparked a riot just about anywhere in Cleveland, but wearing the jersey to a stadium somehow takes the foolishness to a new level.
By the sixth inning, the crowd’s derision of the less-than-startorial fan had gotten out of control. With the Yankees in town and Alex Rodriguez sitting on 599 home runs, knots of people were gathered around the fences, each waiting to see if he or she could be the one to grab lucky number 600. That meant even more localized attention for LeBron’s #1 supporter. Hundreds of fans were chanting and screaming at the poorly attired man, forcing security to escort him from the stadium.
He surely achieved his goal of getting the crowd riled up. There’s little reason to wear such hostility-inducing garb other than to create controversy. Stadium security made the right move by dumping him, making sure that all he got for his clever little scheme was an early exit. It could have much worse…mob mentality and all that.
The “it’s a free country and I can wear what I want” defense, though technically true, falls a bit short here. It was at best an ill-advised decision and at worst a move made to intentionally provoke.
This isn’t someone wearing a Yankees cap into Fenway Park or a Dodgers jacket into Pac Bell. And after all, doesn’t Cleveland have enough woes without Jersey Jerry here throwing gasoline on the fire?
Though the Tribe needs every bit of fan attendance and though beggars can’t be choosers, I think that if I owned the Indians, that smart guy would be on my “banned from the stadium” list for a while.