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Public Service Announcement: You Are Not a Professional Baseball Player

Sep 5, 2011, 3:13 AM EDT

Don't interfere with a ball in play.

To every person who ever argued reaching into the field of play for a live ball is understandable because it’s instinct or reaction:

Quit being a willfully ignorant fan, and keep your hands where they belong.

You are not a Major League Baseball player. You don’t belong on the field, your hands don’t belong anywhere near a live ball, and if you can’t understand these basic principles, you don’t even belong at the game as a spectator.

Earlier this year, many baseball fans came to the defense of the kid who interfered with a ball in play at Citizens Bank Park. Their points ranged from it’s natural to reach for the ball, to the misguided idea that the play in question actually assisted the Phillies.

To the latter, let me make this simple for you. When you enter the field of play, the results are unpredictable. Maybe you cause a triple to become a double for the opposing team. Who knows, maybe you get tazed!

Then again, maybe you are responsible for taking an extra base hit away from your own team and cost them an out–you know, essentially blowing the game when those runs don’t eventually come across.

(Before anybody chimes in and says the Phillies have nobody to blame but themselves for the loss, I don’t entirely disagree, but let’s not pretend the impact of this particular play was minor.)

And if you are one of those people who react to an airborne baseball the way a cat does when a shoelace is waved in front of its face, it’s time you take some responsibility for your actions. This is elementary school stuff.

Chances are if you are sitting in the front row, this isn’t your first rodeo. You know the rules of the sport, and are aware of several highly publicized incidents of fan obstruction from the last decade or two. In short, you don’t touch a ball when it is in play.

Is it instinct to reach for something flying toward you? To some extent, sure. However, I’ve seen numerous instances of people CONTROLLING THEMSELVES and not blatantly breaking the rules, so I KNOW FOR A FACT this can be done.

You don’t see people sitting courtside at Sixers games colliding with Andre Iguodala when a loose ball is heading out of bounds, do you?

Just save it, people. If you can’t sit in the front row and behave yourself, leave those tickets for the real fans who can appreciate that they are not supposed to project themselves into the action.

You are not a professional athlete. You are not funny. You are not cool. You are not needed at all. The end.