Too close for comfort
There's cause for concern whenever a fan runs onto the field and approaches a player. Even if they just want a hug.
A fan ran onto the field late in Thursday's Astros-Yankees game and approached second baseman Jose Altuve.
The fan — who was wearing an old-school Craig Biggio jersey — wanted a hug, and Altuve obliged. He also wanted to take a selfie with Altuve, but security showed up and took him away before that happened.
After the fan was tackled and led away, Houston hung on to win the game, 3-2.
My book Playing Through the Pain: Ken Caminiti and the Steroids Confession That Changed Baseball Forever is available wherever books are sold.
Altuve later told reporters that the fan suggested that Houston needed to win because he had used all of his money to buy tickets.
Fan interactions aren't always so harmless. Like the one that happened during a Sept. 24, 1999 Brewers-Astros game in Milwaukee, when a fan attacked Houston right fielder Bill Spiers.
Spiers' teammates raced to help, kicking the fan and getting him away from Spiers, who was left with a bloody nose, a welt under his eye, and whiplash.
That incident rattled Houston. How couldn’t it?
"By the time I got there, rage had taken over," Astros pitcher Mike Hampton said at the time. "I remember Bill on the bottom and I was trying to get him off. Bill couldn't see it coming."
Thankfully for Houston on Thursday, the fan wasn't being violent or hostile and didn't impact the team's performance.
But there's cause for concern whenever a fan runs onto the playing field. Even if they just want a hug.