Rene Henry
Rene Henry

At almost every baseball game you’ll see a fan so anxious to catch a foul ball that they interfere with a player trying to catch the ball for an out. Some people have complete disregard for other fans and cause them to spill their food or drinks. Last year one Philadelphia Phillies fan even fell into the team’s bullpen in a game against the Boston Red Sox. Fortunately no one was seriously injured.

A Chicago fan cost his team a game and possibly a championship on October 14, 2003. During the sixth game of the National Leaue Championship Series the Chicago Cubs led the Miami Marlins 3-0 in the eighth inning when Moises Alou tried to catch a ball next to the wall in left field and a fan deflected it. The Cubs were so demoralized after being only four outs from their first National League pennant since 1945, they lost not only the game but the series a well.

Cubs fans were so outraged that the fan, Steve Bartman, had to be safely escorted from Wrigley Field. He was further harassed and blamed by fans for the Cubs’ 95-year championship drought. Bartman continued to apologize. The team blamed the loss on their performance. To compensate for the way Bartman was treated, when the Cubs won the 2016 World Series 13 years later they gave him a championship ring.

Major League Baseball rules today that if interference by a spectator clearly prevents a fielder from catching a fly ball that the umpire shall call the batter out.

An overzealous member of the Royal Perth Yacht Club did not cause the loss of the America’s Cup but did ruin a festive day planned for members of the club, media and fans. On September 20, 1983 the 12-meter Australia II, which was sponsored by the club, beat Liberty in the America’s Cup race off Newport, Rhode Island. It was the first time the U.S. had ever lost the race and for the first time since 1851 the trophy would no longer be displayed at the New York Yacht Club in New York City..

The member invited two friends for a sneak preview of the trophy. He stood in front of the secured display case saying that with this security no one would be able to steal the cup. He then pounded on the glass to show how strong it was and immediately set off horns and sirens and steel doors came crashing down on all sides of the trophy case. The event was cancelled and postponed a week later because the manufacturer had to be contacted and send a specialist to restore the case.

The trophy was gone in 1987 when Dennis Connor, sailing Stars & Stripes for the San Diego Yacht Club, defeated Kookaburra III 4-0 in Fremantle, a Perth suburb. Connor had lost the cup in 1983 but has won the prestigious race four times for the U.S. A hand-carved wood replica of the America’s Cup is now in Perth and the trophy case still empty in New York where the NYYC-sponsored boat has failed four times in races to even represent the U.S.

A very special and spectacular event is a sabrage and Champagne Cascade. A senior executive at Moët & Chandon was well known for this presentation. Several hundred champagne glasses are stacked high on a table in a tower and the wine master uncorks a bottle of champagne with a swipe of a saber. He pours champagne in the top glass and it fills it spills to the glasses below until all of the glasses are filled. Waiters then serve those attending taking glasses from the top. This event always receives excellent media coverage and publicity for Moët.

During the 1980 Long Beach Grand Prix one person attending the event was so anxious for a drink that he decided to serve himself and pulled a glass from one of the middle rows. The entire cascade crashed. The wine and saber master was in tears. The event was widely reported by the media.

There is always one in every crowd. They are all around us. Aways be prepared for a crisis.


Rene A. Henry spent more than six decades of his career in public relations and sports marketing. He is the author of 10 books and writes on a variety of subjects.