Well, Seattle Mariners fan Brad Good, the young man whose pursuit of the foul ball overcame all social and legal inhibitions, can offer one answer.
“I’ve seen them come right by me and one time half my body was over the rail and the ball touched my hand,” he said. “… This one I wasn’t letting go.”
What Good, a 23-year-old college student from Everett, Wash., let go instead was any semblance of caution.
When a wicked line drive to right off the bat of San Francisco Giants outfielder Gregor Blanco was called foul, even though it appeared to this Giants fan to have hit the foul line, he jumped to his feet, took two or three steps down the aisle, neatly vaulted the railing and gloved the ball.
Speaking with a reporter the next day, Good said he intended to quickly climb back into the stands, where he figured he would be escorted out of the park with his treasured Rawlings in hand. Instead he was quickly grabbed by security guards, forced face down on the field, handcuffed and then taken away through a door in the outfield wall.
Courtesy Brad Good
Brad Good of Everett, Was., is subdued by Seattle Mariners security personnel during a game against the San Francisco Giants on June 15.
Impressively, Good managed to toss the ball over to the railing, where a friend attending the game with him retrieved it.
“When they were cuffing me, I had the ball in my right hand and I kind of … rolled it to my buddy, he said. “… I was totally focused on that ball and how it was going to go home with me. “
Good said he spent about three hours in the King County jail before being released with paperwork indicating he could face charges of criminal trespass in the second degree, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
But that’s an unlikely outcome, according to a Mariners spokeswoman and a Seattle prosecutor.
Rebecca Hale, the spokeswoman, said the team’s director of security and vice president of ballpark operations typically decide whether to press charges after consulting with the security supervisor who worked the game.
“It’s a consultative effort,” she said. “They can pretty well tell from the moment something happens what needs to happen (to the offender). It depends on the circumstances. Last year we had four fans run onto the field in one game, including one who was streaking. We look at those types of situations differently than someone who gets a little carried away with excitement.”
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“We’ll probably consult with Mariners security and ask how they want to handle this,” he said.
Goodhew has lots of experience with overly exuberant fans who venture onto the playing field. He even recalls his favorite arrest report from an on-field excursion, which read simply, “The subject elected to run out on the field of play before me and 42,000 other witnesses.”
He said even when the team presses charges, few trespassers receive the maximum penalty. “Most cases result in a deferred sentence and community service. And the charge is dismissed as long as you stay clean.”
The intruders also often are banned from the ballpark for a specified period, usually the remainder of the current season, Hale said.
Both Goodhew and Hale said that alcohol plays a role in most such lapses of judgment, but Good says that his mad dash wasn’t fueled by liquor. And despite his very public arrest, he doesn’t really regret his pursuit of the coveted trophy.
“Jail sucks, but I’ve got the ball, the story is incredible and seeing all the fans cheer when I got up was incredible,” Good said. “At this point it was worth it. But I certainly wouldn’t do it again.”
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