So I didn’t get to see the early parts of the Red Sox last night. I kept up with the score, but I was at a meeting and didn’t get home until 9:30 or so. I saw the incident with the fan and Gary Sheffield. My immediate reactions were: 1) The guy wasn’t trying to go for the ball, so what was he doing? Trying to knock his hat off? Nothing good, in any event. 2) Sheffield’s reaction seemed way over the top. 3) The media loves this stuff, even as they decry it. Finally the game resumed to its thrilling finish.

I wanted to see highlights of the game from the time I had missed. I wanted to see Renteria and Varitek hit their home runs off of Randy Johnson. I wanted to see some of the bad umpiring that led to Ron Jackson and Terry Francona getting tossed. There was a lot of action in this game.

But as you would imagine it was completely overshadowed by the incident with Sheffield and the fan. ESPN, ESPNEWS both went into full coverage of this one incident, teasing upcoming segments with phrases like “Stay tuned for coverage of this breaking story from Fenway Park” and Sheffield and fan “exchanged swings” and Sheffield getting into a “scuffle” with a fan. Given the recent events such as the Pistons/Pacers brawl in the stands, and other fan/player run-ins it’s understandable that this event was somewhat noteworthy. But this was “Airliner crashes, killing all 185 on board” type coverage.

I immediately knew what topic would dominate WEEI today, and likely for the next week.

It’s interesting to me that all media types immediately take the side of the player. Let’s be clear here – I am not excusing the actions of a knucklehead fan who chooses to insert himself into the action of a game – but would this have been even noticed if Sheffield doesn’t react in the manner in which he did? He went twice. I would venture to guess that players get brushed by fans quite often as they’re chasing balls in the stands. Do they come up swinging and confrontational? Sheffield claims that he thought his lip was split. Obviously I can’t make a judgment on that. And the flying beer…tossed or spilled?

The media types lauded Sheffield for showing “restraint”. Huh? If he showed restraint, none of this would even be talked about. Perhaps he really did feel threatened and reacted to that threat. I could understand that. It just seemed like an over-reaction to me. I could be very wrong. In any event, my problem is more with the over the top coverage from the media than Sheffield’s reaction.

Anyway. David Scott also has thoughts on the media coverage from last night.

I’m running way behind this morning, so I don’t have the usual links. I hope to have some more stuff later today, some links, perhaps some transcripts from the radio talk of this incident…I need to check a few things out.