It was a good day for Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones in San Francisco in all ways except one.
The banana part.
First the good. In the top of the 8th, Jones gave his team some insurance with an RBI double that padded the O’s lead over the Giants to 5-2.
Just for good measure, in the top of the 9th, Jones hit a a three-run homer to pad the score even more, 10-2.
In the last inning, some frustrated fan apparently got Jones’ attention. And Jones tweeted the incident.
The Giants are reviewing the surveillance shots to see what exactly happened. If it’s true, and there’s no reason to doubt Jones, then it’s a sad fact of fan hooliganism. When the game is uninteresting, fans can be unruly. Giants fans, generally are better than that. But fans are fans and the lack of civility in our culture only encourages behavior like a banana throwing incident.
What’s worse is that a banana thrown at a black athlete like Jones, is a racial thing. Hadn’t heard of that, though I have heard bananas used in context of Asians and Asian Americans. Specifically, Filipinos were often referred to by racists as “monkey.”
This I know because my father told me stories of being called that regularly in San Francisco—in the 1920s, where “monkey” was a racial epithet.
So a thrown banana isn’t so innocent when the target is a person of color.
San Francisco of the ’20s is a much different city from the tolerant, multi-cultural San Francisco of today. Or at least, we’d like to think so.
If Jones was a victim of a stupid and ignorant act, the Giants, their fans and the city, owe Jones and the Orioles, an immediate and unequivocal apology.
Let’s hope one comes quickly, and because Jones is an avowed “foodie,” maybe the Giants can toss in some Dungeness crabs. Jones probably has enough of those Blue Crabs from the Chesapeake.
Sports is a multi-billion dollar enterprise. But that shouldn’t mean we’ve lost our values and sense of sportsmanship.
UPDATE FROM SF CHRONICLE’S JOHN SHEA, regarding apology from the San Francisco Giants:
Statement from the San Francisco Giants Regarding Incident at AT&T Park Yesterday
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — We were extremely disappointed to learn about the incident involving Adam Jones at AT&T Park yesterday. The Giants have a zero tolerance policy against this type of behavior, which results in immediate ejection from the ballpark. While we have been investigating the matter since we learned of the situation, unfortunately we have been unable to identify the person responsible. We would like to extend our sincerest apologies to Adam and the entire Orioles organization for this unfortunate incident. The inappropriate actions of this individual in no way reflect the values of our organization and our fans.
UPDATE : 8/14/13 2013
New report yesterday identified a fan coming forward saying banana throwing wasn’t a racial incident. He threw the banana out of frustration. It was just a coincidence it went Jones’ way.
Jones still concerned about safety. We should be too. Not sure about fan’s credibility. According to the report I saw on (KOVR-TV), fan grabbed a banana from a cart and hurled it on the field. Of course, just like that lost verse from the ballpark anthem, “Take me out to the ball game,” the part that goes,”Buy me some peanuts and bananas, I don’t care if I never get back….”
Maybe the fan should throw crackerjack next time. Won’t be seen as a slur, though it is caramel in color.
Certainly won’t do any physical harm. Or how about not throwing anything, period. It’s baseball, not soccer!
More concerned about surveillance cams. I suppose at a ball park you are in a de facto TV studio. And you do give up your rights. If fans thought of that, maybe they’d behave better. Though we see how well they behave on Kiss-Cam, Fist-Cam, etc.