11 Memorable Fan Field Invasions
Don’t you hate it when you’re watching a game and a fan runs out on the field, but the announcers get all sanctimonious and talk about how they aren’t going to show it on TV because they don’t want to glorify this guy’s behavior?
I mean, yes, we all know you shouldn’t run out on the field, and the players must hate it because they never know what the person is going to do. But come on, let’s be real. Yes, sometimes these incidents can be scary, but they can also be entertaining and hilarious. So let’s not all act like we don’t enjoy it on some level.
Today, in honor of the bizarre fan field invasion that occurred during a Dutch soccer game earlier this week, Total Pro Sports brings you a list of some of the most memorable fan field invasions of all time. While some of them are scary, for the most part these incidents involved harmless drunks making fools of themselves and getting creamed by security and/or players.
What’s not to like about that?
Okay, don't be fooled by the title of this video clip. The guy running on the field here isn't naked (thankfully). However, that didn't stop the player from giving the guy the old "flying knee to the chin" maneuver. I can't tell for sure what league this is from, but if I had to take a guess I'd say Turkey.
11. Pitch Invader Gets Knee to the Chin
This fan field invasion occurred during an international club match between Blooming (Bolivia) and River Plate (Uruguay). If you jump ahead to the :47 mark, that's where the action begins. A crazy fan runs out onto the pitch and attacks a player before the extremely heavily armed security forces swarm and apprehend him. And as the grapple with the guy, you can see something fall to the ground that may or may not be a knife. Scary stuff, but it looks like the player comes out alright.
10. Knife Wielding Fan Jumps Player
This beauty occurred on Christmas Eve 2005. A drunk Cleveland Browns fan runs onto the field, but Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison body slams the guy and restrains him until security arrives. My favorite part is how the guy says it didn't hurt.
9. James Harrison Body Slams Drunken Idiot
At a White Sox game in 2002, two shirtless gentlemen hopped over the fence and onto the field at U.S. Cellular in Chicago, then proceeded to pummel Kansas City Royals coach Tom Gamboa.
It was later discovered that the dynamic duo were father and son. Dad said that Gamboa provoked the fight, but I'm thinking alcohol might have had something to do with it as well.
In fact, I'm pretty sure alcohol probably had a large part in most of the fan invasions on this list. Maybe all.
8. White Sox Fans Attack Royals Coach
This one happened just the other day. Maybe you read about it on this site.
In a Dutch soccer match between Ajax and Alkmaar, a fan invaded the field and went after Alkmaar goalie Esteban Alvarado. Naturally, Alvarado defended himself against the unruly spectator—and quite well, too.
But that's not really what makes the incident noteworthy. No, what makes it noteworthy is the fact that the referee inexplicably gave Alvarado a red card. Because I guess he should have just stood still and taken one for the team?
7. Fan Receives Beat-Down From Alkmaar Goalie
This one is one of the funniest fan invasions you'll ever see.
During a 2009 soccer match between Russian powerhouse Spartak Moscow and now-dissolved FC Saturn, just as a Spartak player was about to take a penalty kick, a portly fan in a lovely sweater dashed out onto the field and took the kick.
But while I'm sure most people will marvel at the fact that he actually scored, I'm still more impressed with his timing. You see, he had to wait for just the right moment to start his sprint from the sidelines to arrive just a moment before the kick was taken. If he were a few seconds late he would have missed his opportunity.
6. Fan Takes Penalty Kick
At a May 2010 game between the Cardinals and Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, a 17-year-old high school senior named Steve Consalvi called his dad from the stands to ask his permission to run out onto the field. The kid's rationale? It would be a once in a lifetime experience.
Dad Wayne Consalvi said he didn't think is was a good idea. He was right.
The cop whose task it was to chase after the sprightly teenager didn't have a whole lot of patience for shenanigans, so he busted out the taser and pumped the kid full of 50,000 volts.
Look, the kid may have been an idiot, but the taser was a little unnecessary wasn't it?
5. Philly Fan Tasered at Citizens Bank Park
Our next entry comes from the most recent MLB season, and it is one of my all-time favourites.
At a game between the Mets and Astros in Houston on May 13, a fan delayed the game by running onto the field. However, this apparently wasn't just some drunken, spur-of-the-moment adventure. The guy had the whole thing planned out, complete with a brilliant escape route.
He darts from the first base area out into center field and up that stupid Tal's hill. At that point he hops up and over the center field wall, evading one security guard. Then, when confronted with another security guard, he makes and amazing climb up and over another wall, runs up a grassy knoll, and makes his escape underneath that giant bridge with the train tracks.
I know you're not supposed to encourage fans to run out onto the field, but you have to admit this is pretty awesome.
4. The Great Escape
Mark Roberts is a world famous streaker who has interrupted over 500 different sporting events. None of his escapades was more memorable, however, that the 2004 Super Bowl between the Patriots and Panthers.
What's that? You watched that game, but the only naked person you remember seeing was Janet Jackson? Yeah, well, the American broadcast didn't show Roberts run out onto the field dressed as a referee and then strip his clothes off and do a little dance.
But thankfully the Dutch broadcast did.
Incidentally, Roberts struck the NFL again in 2007 at the first ever regular season game played outside the United States. Here's that clip, just so you can get a better look at his routine:
3. The Stripping Referee
At a 2005 game between the Packers and Bengals in Cincinnati, a drunk Cincinnatian (is that what people from Cincinnati are called?) ran out onto the field during the final minute of the game and snatched the ball right out of Brett Favre's hand.
While it was kind of funny, it might also have affected the outcome of the game. You see, Green Bay was trailing 21-14 at the time, and Favre had driven the Packers all the way to the Bengals' 28 yard line. The 5-minute delay caused by the hijinks gave the Bengals D enough time to catch their breath and make one last stop to close out the game.
2. Guy Steals Ball From Brett Favre
Up until now, most of these fan field invasions have been pretty harmless or even funny. This incident, however, serves as a reminder of why athletes get freaked out when people come running out onto the field toward them.
In April of 1993, with tennis star Monica Seles at the top of her game (having already won 8 grand slam titles by the age of 19) a deranged fan stabbed her in the shoulder during a changeover in a match in Hamburg, Germany. It was later revealed that the man was obsessed with German Stefi Graf, who had been defeated by Seles in 3 of 4 meetings in grand slam finals.
The injury to Seles was not that severe, and she only took a few weeks to recover physically. However, quite understandably, she couldn't bring herself to compete again for two years. And while she was only 21 when she returned to action, she would never be quite the same again.
And THAT, folks, is why athletes like Esteban Alvarado will karate kick a fan who's run out onto the field.