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    • Keenan
      Keenan Wells

      I've been fascinated by the developing story of a Cubs fan who was caught on camera appearing to "steal" a ball from a kid in the stands. You can view the original video here.

      When I first watched the video, I thought to myself "what a jerk!". Thousands of others, mostly on Twitter, piled on as well. On its face, it looks pretty bad: like the man in the 2nd row is gloating after snagging a dropped ball from the kid in front of him.

      If you're a baseball fan, you might be aware of the unwritten rule about this: you're supposed to give any baseball you catch in the stands to any kid seated in your immediate vicinity, and you never ever snatch away a baseball destined for a kid's outstretched hands. If you don't immediately give it back to the kid, and are caught on camera in this despicable act, you're destined to be publicly skewered on Twitter and on Sportscenter. Usually, it's deserved.

      However, as Deadspin points out in this article, it appears the Cubs fan in question isn't quite the villain he was initially made out to be (referring to a post-game photo of the kid with two baseballs):

      So, in case you were wondering where the kid got two balls in the photos the Cubs sent out—the non-signed ball appears to be one the man grabbed and gave to the kid earlier. The story’s very different, now.

      Another fan sitting nearby also points out (via Twitter) that after the incident, the man gave the ball to a different kid sitting nearby:

      I was sitting next to this guy. That ball was between my feet. The kid already had a ball the same guy helped him get. He handed it to his wife. She took a picture of it and they gave it to the kid next to them. This guy was great. This story is BAD.

      Now I feel bad for thinking this guy was a jerk!

      It appears official Twitter accounts from Sports Illustrated and Cut4 initially tweeted out the video with comments like "Don't be this guy," which probably galvanized the perception of him as a ballpark villain. This was surely an attempt to be funny, get retweets and likes, but in hindsight, perhaps seems maybe a tad irresponsible. It clearly put this guy in the crosshairs of public scorn we now know he may not have wholly deserved.

      Granted, the stakes here weren't very high. It's a baseball game, after all. But what if they were? It begs some more serious questions that might be relevant in more serious circumstances. What responsibility do media outlets have to the subjects of these kinds of incidents? What role do we, the average media consumers, play in this?

      The only thing I know for sure is that I will always immediately give the ball to a kid nearby, so as to avoid any ambiguity!

      (The Cubs, to their credit, ended up giving the kid a baseball singed by Javier Báez after the game.)

    • Shay

      I watched the video you linked to: the fielder tossed the ball to the kid, kid dropped the ball, ball rolls under the kids seat and man behind snatches it?

      From the video, it appears that the fielder (correct term for the baseball player?) intended the kid to have the ball.

      It wasn't a case of a home run, caught by the man behind..

      imo, the adult is an asshole and wouldn't qualify for a job at Cake 🤣

    • Keenan
      Keenan Wells

      I thought the same thing when I first saw it! Admittedly, the video does look bad, and if I were in that situation, I'd immediately give the ball to the kid who it was initially intended for.

      But, as Deadspin pointed out in this article, what the video doesn't show is the very same man giving that kid a baseball earlier in the game, or him eventually giving the ball in question to the other kid next to him. (Although I still think he should've given it to the kid it was intended for). From Deadspin:

      The man, it now appears... indeed gave away every ball he got—including, earlier, one to that very same child.

      Do you still feel that way about him knowing that he was generous in other moments not shown in that video clip?

    • Shay

      hey kid, I gave you a ball earlier- do you mind if I give this one to the kid behind you ?....

      And problem solved Taking it - without asking / when ithe coach meant it for that child - is still wrong.

      It was rude - imho

    • vegasphotog

      For life of me I cannot remember the name of the show or movie and I dug into my Netflix history....but, as I remember it it was sort of a Sci-Fi adventure where there were cameras watching you at all times and you either got points or demerits and the only police where that everyone was watching everyone on big screen tv's everywhere all the time. If you got caught doing a serious infraction, you would basically be killed if you exceeded x-amount of points. Sort of lame in some regards, but, with social media, the court of public opinion has already showed it's power and ruined careers, relationships and reputations to the tune of billions.

      This might have been the flic

    • Ridge

      I don't watch sports, so take my opinion as from an outside, big-picture, perspective. I believe that society, at large, is too quick to knee-jerk a response in this, ever-connected, age.

      Everyone has a camera, and every app now seems to have a video feature to it that will catch a moment in time, post it to the Internet, and there it is forever held as the exemplar. Most of those video snippets are posted completely without context and many are posted as an intentional provocation for a response, clicks, "likes", etc...

      The people taking these videos, snippets, photos, GIFs, etc... have no training nor belief of social responsibility/courtesy to offer contextual information that tells the whole story... or at least enough to make an informed decision of.

    • wx

      It feels like a modern problem, but I'm not sure it is. Try vaguely resmbling a witchy-type person in Salem in 1692.

      We seem to be built to have knee-jerk responses to stimuli, and dare I say we often resist reversing our opinion, once reached, even when we have time to reconsider.

      Also, the irony that Deadspin -- and outfit that prospers by appealing to our worst instincts -- is taking the high road here is amusing. It can only mean that their own twitter account was beaten to the punch and they needed to find a new angle on the story!

    • Keenan
      Keenan Wells

      It feels like a modern problem, but I'm not sure it is. Try vaguely resmbling a witchy-type person in Salem in 1692.

      That's a good point. I still think it's worth trying to understand how current methods of information consumption play a role in exacerbating some of these issues.

      Also, the irony that Deadspin -- and outfit that prospers by appealing to our worst instincts -- is taking the high road here is amusing. It can only mean that their own twitter account was beaten to the punch and they needed to find a new angle on the story!

      It's funny you say this. Deadspin actually did post something reactionary about this story before all the facts came out. I remember seeing it, but I can't seem to find it now. So they fell into that trap too, just like I did.

      Deadspin can be a little smarmy and crass at times, but I tend to enjoy their writers for the most part. At least they went out of their way to update the situation after new information came to light (credit also goes to writer Barry Petchesky who penned the article). I don't think any other outlet did so, or at least Deadspin was the first to do so. A lot of other outlets don't do that sort of thing at all.

    You've been invited!