PITTSBURGH • While video of Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams shoving a fan in the stands during Thursday’s game went viral, leapfrogging from social media to broadcast media and back again, Major League Baseball also chose to review the event for possible discipline.
An official confirmed that the commissioner’s office was looking at what occurred during the third inning of the Cardinals’ 7-6 victory at Great American Ball Park. The official declined any further comment. Baseball only publicly releases punishments if a suspension is delivered.
Based on precedent, Adams faced, at most, a fine.
“If I hear from them, I hear from them,” Adams said. “That’s not the kind of person I am. I didn’t do it on purpose. It wasn’t intended for that. I was just trying to get back to my feet and get back out on the field.”
Adams was trying to make a play on a pop-up in foul territory that was drifting toward the seats. He lunged over the rolled-up tarp and toward the ball, but a fan, identified by media as Chris Smith, caught the ball with his glove before it could get to Adams. By rule, Smith had every right to the ball because it was in the stands and not in the field of play. Had he reached into the field of play, an interference call was possible.
As he gained his balance and tried to get off the tarp and onto his feet, Adams placed his glove on Smith’s chest and pushed. Smith stumbled back. He then made an obscene gesture with his hand that was not in the glove as Adams returned to his position.
Baseball had to take a look at the video of the event and any reports, because had the fan shoved Adams he would have been removed from the ballpark by an usher. Major League Baseball considers the intent of the player and the past history of the play when ruling on incidents. It’s possible that Adams would receive only a warning. Baseball is expected to make a decision by Monday at the latest, but the commissioner’s office would not publicize any punishment that is a fine or a warning for the slugger.
“I understand the position we all need to take is that we’re not in the business of making a movement toward fans,” manager Mike Matheny said. “That just didn’t seem like the one to start using as an example.”
Adams said he did not talk to the fan.
He heard calls from that section, though, for the remainder of the game.
“Cincy is a rowdy place,” Adams said. “We’re two good teams going at it. Whether that situation happened or not, I think anybody is going to hear it from the fans. I don’t worry about it.”