Yankees Fans Pelt Opponents During Routine Game - Is Civil Society a Thing of the Past?

Yankees Fans Pelt Opponents During Routine Game - Is Civil Society a Thing of the Past?
(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The breakdown of civil society continues. Over the last several years, we’ve seen mass riots, increased violence on airplanes, soaring murder rates, a rise in road rage incidents, and more. The latest: New York Yankees fans Saturday pelted Cleveland Guardians players with trash and empty beer cans at the tail end of a routine and frankly unimportant game in New York.

While the violence didn’t approach the level of 2004’s Detroit’s infamous Malice in the Palace, it was still pretty ugly. According to the NY Post:

In an extraordinary scene, Gleyber Torres’ walk-off single was immediately overshadowed by altercations in the outfield, in which fans threw beers and debris from the right field bleachers toward Guardians players, prompting Yankees such as Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton to try to calm the hecklers and to prevent anyone from getting hurt.

The game was almost over when the Yankees staged an impressive comeback. Trouble started when Isiah Kiner-Falefa smacked a game-tying double into the left-field wall. Guardians outfielder Steven Kwan crashed into said wall trying to make a spectacular play, but was injured and crumpled to the ground.

Instead of being concerned, Yankees fans began heckling the player. Guardians center fielder Myles Straw blasted the mob:

[Kwan’s] chin was messed up, his forehead was messed up, just give him a breather. You can chirp all you want, say whatever you want. But when someone’s hurt, that’s not something to joke about.

Straw was so outraged he scaled the left-field wall to confront the abusive crowd. While one can understand his motivations, this is exactly the kind of behavior that led to the Malice in the Palace debacle. Players going into the stands is a recipe for disaster.

Said Guardian outfielder Oscar Mercado:

They need to be held accountable and I think there should be rules set up for that because that’s ridiculous and that should not happen. Say whatever you want to say and do whatever you want to do, but at the end of the day there’s got to be consequences for behavior like that.

This comes as we’ve been seeing many reports of fan fights at stadiums across the country.

None of this is new, and fan violence is hardly unheard of. English soccer fans are notorious for bringing mayhem to wherever their teams are playing.

Yet there’s a noticeable trend in America life: People are getting ruder, routine interactions are becoming ugly confrontations, and civil society seems to be well… not so civil.

The Atlantic agrees:

During the pandemic, disorderly, rude, and unhinged conduct seems to have caught on as much as bread baking and Bridgerton. Bad behavior of all kinds —everything from rudeness and carelessness to physical violence—has increased…

While The Atlantic isn’t normally my go-to source, I actually agree with their conclusions. They posit that A) the spike in bad behavior is due to “the rage, frustration, and stress coursing through society” caused by the pandemic, B) rudeness can be contagious, C) people are drinking more, and finally, D) we’re social beings, and isolation is changing us.

Yeah, that about sums it up.

This Yankees game kerfuffle isn’t on the level of the Ukraine war, and on its own it wouldn’t be a huge cause of concern. But taken with all the other examples of the breakdowns of civil society we’ve been seeing, it’s yet another concerning sign that we’re descending into an uncivil society.

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