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Question of the day: How much force is proper when a fan goes onto the playing field? [Updated]

May 5, 2010 | 11:11 am

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Four reporters from the Tribune Co. weigh in on the use of a Taser on a teenage fan Monday night in the outfield in Philadelphia. Check back for more responses throughout the day and feel free to leave a comment.

[Updated, 2:36 p.m.:

Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times

Whatever nonlethal force is needed to get the situation under control. Taser away, I say. If someone is dumb enough to run onto the field of play during an event, they deserve what they get.

How is security supposed to know what they are up to? The days of Morganna, the Kissing Bandit are long over. After all, remember what happened to Monica Seles. Or will it take someone like Albert Pujols getting stabbed on field before people see this isn’t a joke?

Ask yourself this: If someone came into your place of business and started running toward you, wouldn’t you be happy if someone Tasered them before they got to you?]

Dom Amore, Hartford Courant

How much force is needed when a fan runs onto the playing field? The appropriate amount is whatever it takes to get the situation under control as quickly as possible.

One way to solve the problem is to line stadiums with netting or Plexiglas so that fans cannot go onto the field in the first place. If that is not an option, the only other is to do whatever it takes.

This is not about disrupting or interfering with a baseball game, though that is issue enough with the price of tickets; it is about security. No one knows what will happen next when a fan gets loose in a packed stadium; there isn’t time to stop and think, ‘Oh, it’s just a teenager.’ He or she has to be corralled, and if Tasering shortens the process, do it. We’ve all seen enough ludicrous chase scenes.

And if potential perps know what to expect, there’s even less room for excuses when it happens

Mark Gonzales, Chicago Tribune

Did anyone see Philadelphia left fielder Raul Ibanez retreating quickly when the Taser chase headed in his direction? At least the officer had good aim when nailing the intruder.

It's time for some conformity of penalties throughout Major League Baseball so unruly fans know they face the consequences of a stiff fine for trespassing, delaying the game and perhaps putting a player's safety in jeopardy. The publicizing of increased fines reduced this problem at Candlestick Park in the late 1990s.

And if unwanted intruders are willing to face the penalty for their actions, then you can throw in the risk of being Tasered or absorbing a clothesline shot from Brian Urlacher. I'm sure Tom Gamboa would approve of this.

[Updated, 12:43 p.m.:

Mandy Housenick, The Morning Call

Fans are not allowed on the field -- period. So police, security guards or team officials should be allowed to do anything necessary to apprehend those who break the rules.

If teams start going easy on those who challenge their authority, it’s only going to become a widespread problem. Maybe the fan in Philly getting Tasered will make others think twice about doing something so stupid.

Rules are in place for a reason -- to keep order and to prevent people from getting hurt. Do we really need another Monica Seles stabbing? What’s going to happen if someone runs onto the field with a gun or a knife and threatens a player?

Should police take it lightly? No, stop the craziness now so something that we all would regret doesn’t happen later.]

Photo: A law enforcement officer chases down a fan who ran onto the field during a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals on Monday. Credit: Steven M. Falk / Philadelphia Daily News / MCT

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