Small crowd, big problem.
Some of the 10,202 fans at Yankee Stadium made their presence felt in an ugly way Friday night when they began throwing baseballs and other objects onto the field during the bottom of the eighth inning of the Yankees’ 8-2 loss to the Rays.
“You are always concerned when there’s a chance people are throwing stuff onto the field,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “I don’t know if it was baseball giveaway day. For whatever reason, one or two did it and it seemed like there were 15 others that followed.”
The crowd would’ve been larger if not for New York’s COVID-19 restrictions. And by the point at which people started throwing things, the crowd was smaller than the announced figure: disgust in a game in which the Yankees committed three errors and had no runs on one hit through six innings had sent some to the exits.
Yankees manager Aaron Bonne is a third-generation baseball lifer and can’t remember witnessing a similar scene. He chose his words very carefully in saying “it looks bad for everyone.”
The apparent message — play better! — wasn’t lost on the Yankees, even if the form in which it was delivered was embarrassing.
“That was the first time that I think I’ve experienced that,” left fielder Clint Frazier said of the fans throwing items onto the field. “You never want it to come to that, obviously, and hopefully moving forward we play well enough to where that does not happen again.”
Giancarlo Stanton’s thoughts turned to player safety. The Rays did not return to the dugout for shelter.
“Hopefully it would stop immediately and that none of their players got hit,” Stanton said. “You never want it to get to that point, but I was just hoping it didn’t come to a point where they had to stop or call the game.”
It had “no effect” on the way the final outs were played, Cash pointed out.
“I have no idea what happened,” Rays designated hitter Brandon Lowe said. “All of a sudden there was a ball in center [field]. … Tossed it to the group of fans that looked like they were asking for it. They were excited when they got it. And then all of a sudden there’s 10 balls on the field.”