Sunday, June 22, 2003

They're no angels in the outfield


When fans hit the playing surface, wild times ensue

By Ryan Ernst
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Streakers have grabbed headlines at golf and tennis tournaments in recent weeks. And William Ligue Jr., the living embodiment of the Jerry Springer Show who attacked a first-base coach with his son, recently called a press conference after it was revealed he had worked at golf's U.S. Open.

Has the whole world gone mad?

Yes, but it's not a new thing. Fans have been itching to embarrass themselves on the field for decades. Here are a few of the highlights:

• One of the first and most entertaining incidents of fans taking to the field came in Baltimore in 1970. A fan drunker than Fenwick in Diner ran on the Memorial Stadium field during a Colts game and thought it would be funny to scoop up the ball and run. And it was. Problem was, linebacker Mike Curtis thought it would be funnier if the guy caught the business end of a WWF-style clothesline tackle. And it was. Curtis' take on the encounter: "The guy broke a city ordinance, and I enforced it." That's Eastwoodesque.

• The next year, a 17-year-old Kentucky native named Morganna climbed over the railing at Riverfront Stadium and planted a kiss on Pete Rose. A local sportswriter dubbed her "The Kissing Bandit." A star - as well as a stripper - was born.

• In 1974, two college kids pulled off the Mona Lisa of fan interference when they rounded second base with Hank Aaron on his 715th home run, which broke Babe Ruth's record. Some thought the duo planned on attacking Aaron, but the two longhairs simply congratulated him and kept running. It's as enduring a baseball image as Carlton Fisk waving his home run fair in the 1975 World Series.

• Two years later, a 23-year-old raised the ante for running on the field, streaking at the closing ceremonies of the 1976 Olympics. Michael Leduc reportedly "cavorted nude" in the midst of 500 costumed, dancing young women. Ironically enough, the first Olympics were held with participants in the nude. The Montreal police, however, apparently missing the obvious reference, beat and kicked the man while escorting him from the festivities.

• Young fan Andrew Teller had an urge similar to Leduc's, when at a 2000 Dodgers-Braves game he ran on the field and mooned closer John Rocker. "Everyone should be allowed to speak his mind," Teller said, "and that's what I did." Great. Just great.

• Other streaker incidents: Three charging horses almost trampled a male streaker in 2000 at the finish line of Haydock Park in England. In 2002, 21-year-old Tim Hurlbut climbed the glass at a Calgary Flames-Boston Bruins hockey game, wearing nothing but a pair of red socks. Hurlbut fell on the ice and was knocked unconscious and carried out on a stretcher.

• The following year, Cincinnati was the site of a streaking. During the two-minute warning of a Bengals-Titans game, a fan danced on the mid-field logo with his pants down, then took off as loud speakers blared "Born to Run." Whoooaaa. Oh, oh, oh, oh.

• In one of the more creative on-field dashings of all time, Saints fan Otis Henry ran into the 49ers huddle last season. He then pulled out a marker and attempted to sign center Jeremy Newberry's jersey. Once he made bail, the 50-year-old Henry asked Pamela Anderson if she'd like to take him on a date, invited Stephen Hawking to learn the theory of relativity from him and offered spiritual advice to the Pope.

• Last season during a Fenway Park rain delay, Josh Dixon ran on the field and did a Fisk impression. After waving the imaginary home run fair and rounding first base, Dixon slid about 50 feet on the tarp into center field. The move was historically inaccurate but was to the hyped-up Beantowners "wicked awwwesome."

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E-mail rernst@enquirer.com




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ENQUIRER PAGE TWO
They're no angels in the outfield
Morganna vs. William Ligue Jr.
Page Two power rankings

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