Monday, April 13, 2009

Local Giants fan gets the Bartman treatment

Steve Bartman is the Chicago fan who robbed Moises Alou of a foul flyout in the eighth inning of what should have been the deciding game for the Cubs in the 2003 National League Championship Series.

Instead, the incident sent the Cubs’ psyches spinning out of alignment and turned what could have been a World Series celebration into another evening of soul torture for the “loveable losers” and their much-maligned fans.

As if it weren’t enough that the Cubs are always nine toes off the ledge anyway. They and their passionate, neurotic fans didn’t need another reason to jump.

Now, leap forward in time.

Enter Patterson’s Jennifer Cozart, who last week, committed a similar — albeit not nearly as historically significant — faux pas.

Like Bartman six seasons ago, Cozart must have been thinking: “Front-row seat. Left-field line. Cool. Maybe I’ll get a foul ball.”

But after she interfered with a double struck off the bat of Milwaukee Brewers infielder Bill Hall in the fifth inning of last Wednesday’s game at AT&T Park — Facebook users can see the video here — three words must have entered her mind:

“Passport. Sunglasses. Nepal.”

But, really.


If you were Bartman or Cozart, you’d have done the same thing.

You’d have stuck out your hand and tried to catch the ball. You wouldn’t be thinking about the count, or about how many base runners were aboard or about how many outs the Giants were or weren’t away from sealing the victory on the second day of the 2009 season.


Especially if you were talking on your cell phone with your sister-in-law.

You’d say, “Get outta my way, I’m catching this baseball.”

You would. Because you are a fan, and in moments such as that, fans are not rational.
Come to think of it, fans are rarely rational.

That’s why fans celebrate world titles and beating Michigan State by burning cars. It’s why Cozart left last Tuesday’s game, escorted by ballpark ushers, ducking food and beer showers.

Nobody who’s rational throws a $9 beer at someone. A $2 beer, maybe.

We realize that these days, fans make a larger emotional investment in their teams than players or management do.

But come on, Giants fans.

Cozart didn’t mean to do wrong. She tried to field a ball that she instinctively deemed foul. Distracted by her phone conversation, the ball, at least in her estimation, was out of play.

She had to leave with a security escort. She could no longer sit and enjoy the game with friends and family. In my opinion, missing a ballgame on a clear night under the lights at AT&T Park is punishment enough.

The ballpark is where we’re supposed to enjoy ourselves. We check our anger at the turnstile. We don’t bring in the hostility baggage. It’s not OK to pelt someone with concessions because they inadvertently interfered with the game.

Fans could stand to apply the emotional brakes. After all, a game is just that.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Patterson girls soccer thrives in league

League play is proving to be a remedy for what ailed the Patterson High girls soccer team the first month of the season.

After going 4-5-1 in non-league games, the Tigers have gotten off to a 7-2 start in the Western Athletic Conference.

The turnaround doesn’t come as a surprise to Patterson coach Cade Tomasegovich. After wrapping up non-league play with a loss to Johansen of Modesto, Tomasegovich said, “I am confident that things will improve during league play.”

The Tigers have outscored their league opponents 35-8. Their most decisive victory was last week’s 10-0 rout of host Gustine.

“Our ultimate goal is to finish on top of the WAC,” Tomasegovich said in a February interview. “I know that we are strong enough to finish first, but, our aspirations need to match our potential.”

Despite their terrific start, the Tigers season is far from over.

But, if the Tigers can beat Hilmar on Friday at Patterson Community Stadium, and win all the other games that they are supposed to win, they should be able to assure themselves at least a second-place finish in the league.

There’s a good chance the Tigers will rely heavily on junior co-captain Jessica Herrera, Anayl Diaz and goalie Geraldi Saucedo as the season winds down.

Herrera leads the Tigers with 13 goals and 15 assists. Diaz has added six goals and three assists. And Saucedo has 105 saves and boasts five shutouts.

Still, it’s been a group effort getting this far.

“There are a lot of players providing the foundation of our success so far,” Tomasegovich said. “ We’ve had resolute and inspired goal tending, our midfielders have dictated the rhythm of the game and we have physical play in the defense and goal-scoring abilities from the offense.”

Come watch the host Tigers (7-2 WAC) clash with first-place Hilmar (7-0-2) Friday at 4 p.m.