An umpire was hit with a beer bottle during Friday night’s National League Wild Card game at Turner Field in Atlanta.
The incident happened after fans took objection to an infield fly ruling by the umpires when Peter Kozma and Matt Holliday made a play for a pop-up into shallow left-center field.
A chorus of boos and a shower of bottles, cans, and food rained down on the field and caused an 18-minute stoppage of play.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports said on Twitter that he heard Tom Verducci of TBS report an umpire had been hit by a bottle of alcohol.
tom verducci on tbs reports umpire jeff kellogg was hit by an airplane-style liquor bottle. & he didnt even make the call.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) October 6, 2012
Players were sent to the dugouts as the grounds crew took to the field in an attempt to make it playable again after the continuous barrage from the crowd.
There have been plenty of fan riots throughout mainstream sports history. Recently, American football has seen uproar over replacement referees. A blown call cost the Green Bay Packers a Monday Night Football victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
Had that game been played in Wisconsin, there may have been a very similar outcome to the mayhem that went down in Atlanta.
The fact is that American sports fans are beginning to boil over with frustration as games continue to be decided by the "judgment" or opinion of officials. There are rules in place that give them the jurisdiction to do just that, but people aren’t happy and they’re voicing that displeasure with bottles and food.
We get it, officials should never decide the outcome of an athletic competition. Your team may or may not have been slighted by a bad call. It may or may not have cost them the game and their playoff aspirations.
However, that doesn’t give fans the right to wreak mayhem and endanger the athletes and officials who are the source of their entertainment.
At the end of the day this is all about entertainment and it should never change into a matter of security and safety for anyone involved.
Regardless of the call made on the field, the Atlanta Braves and everyone else should take a good look at the situation and act better the next time—and there will be a next time—a call doesn’t go the way of their team.
Mike Hoag Jr. is a Breaking News Team writer with Bleacher Report and also covers the NFL and the Cleveland Browns for the site.
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