An underaged fan was arrested at last night’s Giants-Cardinals game at Busch Stadium for using a laser pointer to distract players, after manager Mike Matheny personally fingered the suspect from the field.
The 17-year-old boy was booked on suspicion of peace disturbance at an athletic event and was released after posting $150 bail. But the events leading to the arrest are a little disturbing.
The boy was present in a suite leased by Mercy Health. After players and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny noticed a green laser was pointing to Giants pitcher Shane Loux, they informed umps and ballpark authorities, who were dispatched to the suite. A search yielded alcohol smuggled into the ballpark after the only adult in the suite put up resistance against authorities; the suspect and two other boys fled. (They were not suspected of partaking in underage drinking, however.) Authorities caught up with them.
This is a big deal: there’s no difference between a laser pointer and a sight on a high-powered rifle, at least from a distance. Given the heightened attention to security these days in the wake of high-profile massacres in Aurora and Milwaukee, ballpark officials are working on a higher level of suspicion when it comes to things like laser pointers.
Matheny said Tuesday he had never seen anything like what happened in the bottom of the seventh inning Monday night. Giants’ pitcher Shane Loux was winding up to pitch when Matt Holliday saw a laser on Loux’s jersey and stepped out of the batter’s box. Umpire Marvin Hudson called a timeout. Holliday and Hudson looked around the stadium for a few moments before Hudson resumed play.
“One, Matt being distracted by a 90-mile-an-hour-plus fastball coming at him … you’ve got a chance to get a player hurt. And two, it’s a crazy world right now,” Matheny said. “You start seeing lasers and big crowds. I don’t think the kid knew the severity of what he was really doing. But there were a couple things that could have really gone bad there.
“It’s not like he did it the one time and said, ‘Ooh, that’s probably not a good idea.’ The whole dugout jumped up trying to find him, and then he kept doing it.”
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