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What will crazy sports fans do next? Most everything, from funny to irritating to tragic

RON COOK
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (TNS)
Animal rights activist Zoe Rosenberg is removed from the court by security after briefly stopping game action with a protest in the first half during Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday, April 16, 2022, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

I have been watching sports closely for more than half a century and thought I had seen everything.

A couple of events last week, however, proved I was wrong.

In the span of five days, I saw a woman glue herself to the court at an NBA playoff game and another woman chain herself to a basket at another NBA playoff game.

I am still in disbelief.

I also have been thinking about the many other things I've seen involving fans at sporting events.

Some were comical. Others were irritating or hurtful. A couple were purposeful. Too many were tragic.

Who doesn't need a laugh today?

The humorous: Let's start with the humorous:

►James Harrison body-slammed a man to the ground after he foolishly ventured on the field during a Steelers game at Cleveland Stadium. The man spent Christmas Eve in jail and surely woke up Christmas morning with a hangover and a variety of body aches.

►Eagles fans booed Santa Claus. Philly fans really earned their nasty reputation that day.

►Flyers fans jeer Sidney Crosby at every turn. Are they too dumb to realize that inspires him to torment their team even more?

►Morganna, the Kissing Bandit. She roamed on to baseball fields and planted a kiss on stars such as Nolan Ryan and Pete Rose. I normally have no use for fans on the field, but I made an exception for her. Google her and see why.

The irritants: Let's move on to the irritants:

►Fans who take infants to a game. If they can afford a ticket, they can afford a babysitter.

►Fans who take their shirt off. Don't you just hate the sight of so much fat?

►Streakers. Don't you just hate the sight of so much nudity?

►Fans who drink too much, constantly step over you to get to the bathroom, spill their beer, talk too much, talk too loudly, curse, use racial slurs and fight. All self-explanatory, right?

►Adult fans who take a ball or puck that was intended for a kid.

►The fans who threw snowballs at Cliff Stoudt at Three Rivers Stadium when he came back to Pittsburgh for a USFL game. His only sin was that he wasn't Terry Bradshaw.

►The jerk who yanked the cowboy hat off Houston Oilers coach Bum Phillips' head after a game at Three Rivers Stadium. How could anyone do that to ol' Bum?

►West Virginia fans who set couches on fire after a Mountaineers' win. Please, act like you've been there before.

The hurtful: How about the hurtful acts of a miserable few?

►Fans throwing batteries at Dave Parker at Three Rivers Stadium. Can you say racists?

* A fan pouring beer on Kordell Stewart after a game at Three Rivers Stadium? See racist observation above.

►Fans dumping garbage on Tommy Maddox's lawn after he had a bad game for the Steelers. Do we maybe take winning a little too seriously at times?

►A few Pitt fans dumped a cup of urine over the head of West Virginia play-by-play man Jack Fleming as a prank during a Pitt-West Virginia basketball game in 1975. Pretty disgusting prank, don't you think?

►The Boston Bruins spill into the stands at Madison Square Garden after a fight breaks out on the ice after their game against the New York Rangers in 1979. The result was three players being suspended, lawsuits filed and higher glass installed in the arena. An unusual twist to this brawl? Bruins defenseman Mike Milbury took the shoe off one Rangers fan and began beating him with it. With the man's own shoe!

►The Malice at the Palace in 2004. Just as fans have no business on the court, players have no business in the stands. That was ugly.

►Ten-Cent Beer Night at Cleveland Stadium in 1974. The Indians had to forfeit the game against Texas after their liquored-up fans stormed the field, putting hundreds in danger. Someone really thought this was a good promotion?

►Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park in Chicago in 1979. The White Sox had to forfeit the second game of a doubleheader against Detroit after their fans stormed the field to blow up disco records. I ask again: Someone in the White Sox organization really thought this was a good promotion?

►Riots after a team wins a championship. Hey, let's celebrate by starting fires and looting. Makes perfect sense to me.

The purposeful: Now a few purposeful interactions:

►Fans threw souvenir wooden flags on the field at Three Rivers Stadium, delaying a Pirates-Expos game early in the 1995 season for 17 minutes. It was an apparent protest of the 1994 MLB strike that wiped out the World Series. Or maybe it was in protest of the two throwing errors the laughable Pirates had just made on the same play.

►Dodgers outfielder Rick Monday sprinting across the outfield to stop a fan from lighting an American flag on fire. Monday's message was clear: No disrespect or desecration allowed here at Dodger Stadium.

The tragedies: And, finally the worst category, the tragedies. I could go on and on:

►A Giants fan was left with a serious brain injury after he was beaten in a parking lot at Dodger Stadium in 2011.

►A Dodgers fan was left with a serious brain injury after he was beaten in a parking lot at Dodger Stadium in 2019.

►Colombian soccer star Andres Escobar was shot to death in his hometown of Medellin nine days after he scored an own-goal against the United States during a World Cup game in 1994.

►At least 328 people were killed when soccer fans stormed the pitch after a questionable call during a Peru- Argentina match at Estadio Nacional in Lima, Peru, in 1964.

►In another of a long list of soccer riots, 75 people were killed and more than 500 injured after a match at Port Said Stadium in Egypt in 2012.

►Tennis star Monica Seles was stabbed in the back by a deranged fan as she sat courtside during a break in a match in Hamburg, Germany, in 1993. It took two years for her to get back on a court. She said she was never the same player or person again.

This week: So how do I categorize the two women at the NBA games?

I'm thinking comical. I have to admit I laughed aloud when I heard of the incidents.

Alicia Santurio glued her hand to the court at Target Center in Minneapolis on Tuesday night during the Clippers-Timberwolves game in an apparent protest of Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor's factory egg farm. Security personnel literally had to scrape her off the court. Santurio was not arrested but was banned from Timberwolves games for a year.

Zoe Rosenberg threw political flyers on the court during the Minnesota-Memphis game at FedEx Forum in Memphis on Saturday afternoon, then chained herself to the back of one of the baskets. After security people cut through the chain, they literally linked and carried the animal rights activist out of the arena. She was charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.

I close with two thoughts:

One, I've seen everything now.

And two, I can't wait to see what's going to happen in the next 50 years.