Throwing balls back onto the field after the road team hits a home run is a long-standing tradition in Major League Baseball. However, as Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner found out on Sunday, if the fans aren’t careful, the tradition could turn dangerous.
After Toronto’s Jose Bautista hit a home run in the fourth inning of the Blue Jays 2-0 win over the Yankees, a noble fan decided to throw Bautista’s homer right back where it came from. Unfortunately, their aim was not so great, and they ended up hitting the All-Star outfielder directly in the back of the head.
Gardner was not seriously injured, telling ESPN: “It’s unfortunate it hit me where it did, but it is what it is… I got a hard head, so it’s all good.”
In all seriousness, throwing the ball back is pretty dumb. Who cares if the road team hit it. It’s a souvenir. Give it to a kid. But it becomes even more stupid, and seriously unsafe, if you throw it anywhere near the players on the field. If Gardner had been seriously hurt and damaged the Yanks playoffs chances, that fan would have become public enemy No. 1 in the Bronx overnight.