Playing the Field: Celebrating with Santana

Holy crap! Get that ginger off the field! He's attacking Johan Santana! ... Oh wait, nevermind, that's Justin Turner.

I don’t generally like to encourage people running on the field at a baseball game. After the whole Tom Gamboa incident, things got a little frightening.

But there’s a long history of celebrating major moments in history by running on the field. The latest example came on Friday night after Mets pitcher Johan Santana tossed the first no-hitter in franchise history.

Mets fan Rafael Diaz didn’t think watching the historic moment was enough. Why not rush out on the field with the team? Funny thing, no one really noticed right away. He actually made it out to the pile on the infield with Santana.

Here is the celebration photo, courtesy of Getty Images:

It’s really a beautiful moment. There’s back-up catcher Mike Nickeas in the middle and to his right it’s fellow starter R.A. Dickey and to his right it’s … wait, what the hell? Who is that dude in the jorts jumping on the pile? Yes, that would be Mr. Diaz. (Not to be confused with Mets’ “super prospect” Victor Diaz.) Diaz at least had the decency to wear a Gary Carter jersey as he joined the celebration.

Nonetheless, he was tackled by security shortly after this photo, arrested and charged with interfering with a sporting event. He faces up to a year in prison, a $1,000 fine and being barred for life from Citi Field. Hope it was worth it.

Of course it brings to mind the famous moment when Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record and two fans ran onto the field to congratulate Aaron as he rounded third.

Of course, with the racial tension of the 1970s, Aaron had no idea whether he was going to be attacked or congratulated. Thankfully, it was the latter.

Also, it gives me a chance to post one of my favorite historic moments in sports — when Yankees fans stormed the field following Chris Chambliss’s walk-off home run in the 1976 ALCS. (Granted they got destroyed by the Big Red Machine in the World Series.)
It comes right at the beginning of this interview with Chambliss:

I’m not sure there’s any better MLB video than Chambliss knocking fans over while trying to round the bases.

OK fine, maybe 1979′s Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park in Chicago.

I guess we can all be thankful no one set the field on fire after Santana threw his no-hitter. Hooray for small victories.


Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter
@MetroNYSports. He would never storm the field. Storming the court of a Maria Sharapova-Ana Ivanovic tennis match, well, that’s a different story.


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