Thursday, May 6, 2010

I Don't Party in Lynn, Massachusetts

I apologize to anyone who's already heard this story, but it is one of my all-time favorite stories. A few years ago, I went to a New Year's party with the Franchise. (This is also how the story of "why Coco Crisp gets the free pass for life" starts, but you'll have to wait until the book comes out to read that one in its entirety). Her friend's boyfriend lives in Lynn, MA, and he was hosting the party. Let's just say Lynn has a reputation as a rough neighborhood. There's a campy rhyme out there somewhere, and a few years ago they tried to change their name to Ocean City or Ocean Park or something because Lynn has such a bad name. But sure enough, as 07 turned into 08, I was in Lynn. And here is why I no longer party in Lynn.

At this party, a Taser was used as a toy. The kids there were shooting each other with a Taser. One kid got Tased like four times over the course of the night, and he was lying on the ground for about 15 minutes after every time he was hit. People might not believe us, but this really did happen. I was not hit, but seeing kids getting Tased every time they said something stupid made me want to keep my mouth shut and mind my own business.

From January 2, 2008 on, it's been my philosophy to not party in Lynn under any circumstances.

Maybe after some high 17-year-old brat gets Tased at Citizens Bank Park, that would similarly make people who would otherwise do it think, "oh, well, I shouldn't hop out onto the field." There should be a universal rule: You disrupt the game, you get Tased. I bet that would be enough of a disincentive. It's kept me out of Lynn.

This is obviously becoming a more relevant issue. Eighteen years ago, it cost the Red Sox a game against the Yankees because a drunk moron jumped onto the field as a Yankee flew out to end the game. Umpires called time before the pitch was thrown, but it was thrown, hit, and caught nonetheless. It was ruled out of play and the Sox bullpen blew it. We've seen streakers go through the Super Bowl, and I was at a game where a fan walked into the batter's box between at-bats with a giant inflatable bat.

But lately we've seen Royals coach Tom Gamboa get pummeled by two drunk White Sox fans. We've seen a defrocked priest walk across a NASCAR track and then tackle the leader of the Olympic event twenty miles in. What if the giant inflatable bat guy had a knife instead? Walking onto the field is not only an inconvenience for everyone, but it is a serious safety risk for both the players and the moron going out there. Using a Taser as an automatic punishment with no questions asked would make people think twice before acting like idiots. They also would have saved a Volkswagen, a TV tower, and Happy Gilmore's shoulder if they were used in 1996. Tasers don't kill anyone or even harm them long-term. They're a fitting punishment for the crime, bro.

ON MATSUZAKA, because I know people are going to want to talk about it, it's time to start worrying about the guy who started for the other team today. Kazmir singlehandedly ran up the score against the entire state of Texas when he was in high school. He threw over 100 innings at age 19 and 20. He hit 186 innings when he was 21. And now look at him. He's 26 and people think he's a has-been. He doesn't throw 97 anymore, or anything close to that. He doesn't dominate the Red Sox anymore--he doesn't really dominate anyone.

Matsuzaka is 29. When he came to the United States, he was known for his work ethic, but was known more for his workload. He pitched an 18-inning game in high school, and did a crapload of innings in real games in between the 200-pitch bullpen sessions (yes I wrote that correctly). Stat-heads warned that he was the all-time leader in pitcher abuse points for someone his age, and that it might eventually catch up with him. Two games is a little too early to start jumping off the Tobin Bridge, but we're now talking about two games plus an entire year. This is me worrying that Matsuzaka is Japanese for Kazmir. Except potentially much, much worse.

THAT SAID, if they hold on to win this game from behind, that is a very good sign. And also a sign that the Angels very well might suck.


Ross Kaplan said...

This is probably the soon to be lawyer in me speaking here, but tasing some idiot who runs out onto the field is way to harsh a deterrent considering the actions. Of course there's a chance the person who jumps on the field will brutally assault a ball player or coach, as DV mentioned it's happened before, but more often then not the person who is jumping out on to the field is just an idiot who wants their 15 seconds of fame or be able to tell people that they once ran out onto the grass of Citizens Bank Park. Running out onto a field doesn't constitute that great a hazard that would warrant the use of a taser to prevent. If the only way an idiot like that can be stopped is by tackling him then so be it, but using a taser is way too excessive. Besides, I think more suitable punishment for a person who does that is to ban that person for life from the stadium.

I think DV also downplays the possible injuries someone can suffer by being tased, anything from getting burned to a heart attack, and the last thing that a major league club needs is a wrongful death lawsuit on their hands.

Anonymous said...


In all my conversations with Bandi in recent months, not once did he inform me that you'd become a filthy hippie. I wish I'd known sooner.

Also, I'm trying to figure out where the liability on behalf of the ballpark/team is for using a taser to subdue a trespasser who may very well be a threat to the safety of players, team personnel and ballpark security. It is a rare circumstance when you can create a negative situation and then benefit from it. And in light of the fact that a taser is really no less a dangerous method than having four 250 pound security guards tackle somebody, I'm sure it would be considered a reasonable use of force.

the gm at work said...


Getting tackled and/or being banned for life is clearly not working, because people are still jumping out onto the field.

I also feel like most people jumping out onto the field are not people at risk for a heart attack--alcohol poisoning is probably more of a risk. But if there is a clear precedent and--shoot--they can print it on the ticket, people should know the consequences. If you act like an ass and jump onto the field, appropriate force such as tasing will be used on you.

Where do you think Monica Seles stands on this issue?

TimC said...

I'll take DV's side here. From the safety standpoint, problems occur when people start thinking of rules like, "Taser 300 pound dudes with no questions asked, gently tackle young girls, and use your judgment on those in-between." I say give all streakers a chance to stop running and, if they do not comply, tase their ass.

Also, let's keep our feet planted on the Tobin Bridge here. Maybe Dice was overworked, maybe he threw too much, maybe his right arm will actually break off as he delivers a gyroball and fly into the third base field boxes at some point in June. But the reality is that Dice would never have achieved the success he did as a pitcher without developing himself in the manner he did. Some are blessed with extraordinary talent, some with great physical power; Dice has a great work ethic and essentially pitched himself into a great player. For better or for worse, the Sox need to see how he can do while training on his own terms.

TimC said...

Oh and don't go to Lynn. Come to Norwood, we do not tase for fun.

Ross Kaplan said...

Well therein lies the problem, we don't know if the guy who runs out onto the field is just running laps around the basepaths or is looking to stab or beat someone until they actually pull that knife out or start punching. But the facts show that when someone does run out onto the field it's only in rare instances that someone else is assaulted. Until that guy starts throwing punches or pulls out a knife he's a trespasser and I don't think using a taser in that kind of situation is a reasonable level of force. Maybe tackling isn't a reasonable use of force either, but obviously you can't just let the guy run around the field and unnecessarily delay the game either.

Anonymous said...


I wouldn't be busting your chops if I didn't think you were better than this. But you are. Come on now--it's not like security is immediately going for the taser. They're telling him to stop running. They're giving him full and fair warning. Then, the guy still persists in resisting arrest. It's perfectly reasonable to tase someone in that situation. It happens in court houses all the time. If you can't use force of that nature to stop someone from persisting in resisting arrest, then exactly how do you stop someone in that situation? It's either tasing, or tackling, and tasing is clearly less time consuming and more efficient.

-the Gunn

Patrick said...

gm -

good post. the issue for me is one you mentioned - safety of the players, coaches, and umpires. there is no way they can do their job completely focused - which makes the sport go - and be aware of 50,000 people who might be able to sneak up behind them. they are incredibly exposed. it does not take a lot to seriously injure someone, especially when they get blindsided. there needs to be both better security to guard against this, and, since it is not possible to completely stop people from being physically capable of getting onto the field, there also needs to be incredible disincentive to do so as you mentioned.

Ross Kaplan said...

Way to take a principled stance on the issue Pat

Anonymous said...


What if they tase someone and his or her heart stops because of the electric current? Put that in your liability pipe and smoke it.


the gm at work said...

So we have two camps here: The "tase because they deserve it/tase because it creates a strong disincentive" camp and the "don't tase because of possible legal ramifications" camp. I'm glad we don't have anyone saying "don't tase because it doesn't meet the offense" around here.

I am not a future lawyer, but the way I see it, if someone's heart stops because of a Taser's electric current, they shouldn't have gone out onto the field.

Anonymous said...

To be clear I'm in the I don't really care but it's fun to contradict the Gunn in an area where he knows infinitely more than I will ever know camp.

However Gunn, you did raise an important point, which is the fact that from time to time Ross does exhibit hippie level behavior. I can only surmise that this occurs due to the amount of time he spends around Roslyn, which is unfortunate but what can you do?

Lastly, why don't they just use rubber bullets?


the gm at work said...


I'd be fine with rubber bullets too. But are cops on the field going to be packing both a gun with fake bullets and a gun with real bullets? Probably not. A Taser is distinguishable.

Plus, your question can be used pretty much universally--why are cops in general using Tasers instead of rubber bullet guns? I don't know the answer to that. If we have a law enforcement expert here, he would be the best person to answer that question.

jason said...

tase them, then if they try to get up tase them again for good measure

the gm said...

FTB's thoughts on Brett Gardner getting IBBed?