At this point, you’ve probably already seen or heard about this tweet from Baltimore Orioles centerfielder, Adam Jones.
I want to thank whatever slapdick threw that banana towards my direction in CF in the last inning. Way to show ur class u jackass.
— Adam Jones (@SimplyAJ10) August 11, 2013
On Sunday, someone threw a banana onto the field, in the general direction of Adam Jones, who is African-American. Understandably, Jones took exception to the act and voiced his disgust on Twitter, which then set off a chain reaction that led to someone emailing the San Jose Mercury News and admitting he tossed the piece of fruit … BUT HE ISN’T RACIST, NO SIREE.
Alexander Poulides turned on the news Monday and learned about the outcry surrounding the unidentified Giants fan who threw a banana at Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones. His heart sank.
“Oh, my god,” Poulides said. “I threw a banana on my way out.”
Poulides, 42, said he grabbed a banana off a catering cart and hurled it toward the field in disgust near the end of the Giants’ 10-2 loss Sunday at AT&T Park. The banana landed near Jones in centerfield. Jones, who is African-American, tweeted about the incident after the game.
As the Giants launched an investigation, Poulides reached The Mercury News via e-mail and subsequent phone call to claim responsibility for what he called “an indiscretion.”
Above all, Poulides stressed repeatedly that the incident was not racially motivated, as some had speculated. His action was not directed at Jones, but at the Giants and their poor performance, he said.
“I’m embarrassed and shocked by the outcome,” the Northern California resident said. “In hindsight, I wish I didn’t do it and I apologize. I’m very sorry.”
That story was published Monday afternoon, but not early enough to stop so-called eyewitnesses from blaming everyone’s favorite scapegoat — the creatures who attempt to stage an aviary coup in the seventh inning of every game. That’s right, AT&T Park was infiltrated by an especially intolerant ratbird.
Damon Bruce says he is getting “reports” from fans at the game yesterday, who say that a seagull dropped the banana in centerfield. — LOL KNBR Callers (@LOLKNBRCallers) August 12, 2013
Caller to the Damon Bruce, who was sitting in the bleachers, says a seagull dropped a banana peel in CF, which Jones then tossed over fence. — LOL KNBR Callers (@LOLKNBRCallers) August 12, 2013
There are so many inconsistencies and misconceptions surrounding this incident, but let’s focus on three.
1. The fruit-filled catering cart
I’ve sat in the CF bleachers anywhere between 20 and 50 times over the years, and not once have I seen a “catering cart,” let alone one filled with fruit. If you’re at the Conservatory of Flowers at Golden Gate Park, you can probably buy a banana or an apple if you’re so inclined. But at AT&T Park? There’s no way an employee can wheel a cart down those stairs, and nobody’s buying fruit in the bleachers anyway.
2. Poulides: hungry, then angry?
— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) August 12, 2013
If Poulides wanted to make a racist statement, it’s hard to imagine what would’ve led him to confess. But it certainly is hard to fully believe his side of the story.
3. What’s racist about a banana? Well, about that …
I’ve seen a few people who don’t see the big deal. The “what, would an apple be better?” argument.
But racist jerks throwing bananas is nothing new in the world of European football (or “soccer,” if you prefer). AC Milan’s Mario Balotelli has dealt with flying bananas, racist banners and even inflatable bananas displayed by fans in the stands (the abuse Balotelli experienced led to the Italian League fining Inter Milan €50,000 in February — Balotelli was fined €10,000 for an “insulting gesture” during the same game). In other words, even if Poulides didn’t have racist intentions there’s no way anyone can blame Jones for believing the banana toss had something to do with the color of his skin.
A couple weeks ago, Barack Obama announced the Giants will install an “edible garden” in centerfield next season. China Basin isn’t the right climate for banana trees, but unless the team plans on installing an electric security fence they better think twice before planting organic tomatoes.
This is just the last stupid incident during what has been a horrendous season in terms of fan conduct at AT&T. Interfering with balls in play is one thing, but throwing anything on the field — for any reason — is far worse. (I wouldn’t mind seeing an end to the dumb tradition of throwing home run balls hit by the opposing team back, but apparently we’ve all agreed that’s okay.)
Security is already too invasive and inconvenient for 99.99% of the fans who attend major sporting events. It’s going to be a shame if the acts of a few stupid people like Poulides lead to a Giants games featuring the same overwhelming security seen at American airports, both at the gates and in the stands.