In case you missed it, Adam Jones of the Orioles recently reported that someone threw a banana near him during a game. Jones is African-American. There are no witnesses, still pictures or video of the incident which is still under investigation.
In another (possibly unrelated) act of racism, an unknown fan threw a sheaf of wheat at Baltimore Orioles right-fielder Nick Markakis.
“Showing his ignorance,” tweeted Markakis after the game, “some idiot hinted that all Greeks are goat-fuckers. That simply isn’t true.”
While there is no footage of this happening, it reportedly occurred in a part of the outfield not covered by television cameras. "I just picked it up between innings and put it behind the bullpen wall" said Markakis, one of the few part-time sheep farmers in baseball.
Sadly, Major League Baseball Players have struggled with racial and sexual abuse for years.
In 2012, Boston Red Sox star Shane Victorino, nicknamed the “Flyin’ Hawaiian,” was the subject of abuse as well. During a routine foul ball, a hotdog was thrown on the field by a fan “because,” as Victorino tweeted after the game, “everyone knows Hawaii has a problem with feral swine.”
He continued: “Way to show your ignorance, jackass, the pigs are under control now thanks to a Federal Initiative by the Department of Wildlife.”
During an interview later on ESPN’s SportCenter, Victorino decried the fans who think racism is still appropriate in modern society.
“It would have made more sense if it was a coconut. And I could have used it at the luau I was planning for after the game.”
Another memorable instance was the 2012 “Gaygate” in which Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera was subjected to a fan waving a multi-colored cloth as the star pitcher was called from the bullpen in the 8th against the Toronto Blue Jays.
“I could see him up there in the fifth row, waving and prancing around cheering when I walked to the mound,” recounted a trembling Rivera. “He was wearing tight shorts and obviously stuffing them, probably with a sock.”
“The faggy (sic) way he looked at me only showed only his own ignorance,” said Rivera during an offseason segment on the CBS show 60 Minutes, "because I'm married so I can't be queer. When will fans learn that on the field we’re all the same? We’re just fit and handsome men with really cut arms and thick thighs... but we don’t see race or sexual orientation, (we) just see ‘teammates.’”
No Yankee player has publicly announced that they’re gay, but MLB watchers have been expecting an announcement for some time.
Insulting players isn’t new. In 1903, Pittsburg Pirates pitcher Gene Curtis was taken out of a game after raucous fans started chanting, “Where’s your sister?” an obvious reference to Curtis’s being born in West Virginia. Even then it was pretty common knowledge that not every guy from Appalachia dates his kin. In fact, some guys don't even have sisters.
In 1956, catcher Yogi Berra, a Yankee, was mocked incessantly by fans for being a moron. It was reported at the time “the stress of a hostile workplace caused heavy lines to form on his face giving the appearance of wizened old man with a comb over who has the memory-span of a titmouse.”
As of press time, we’re unable to determine if that was an insult.