[Ed. note: the son of the fan in question is six years old]

This morning we gave Troy Percival a bit of a pass because we were not certain that his antics following Sunday’s game were directed at a fan. However, several sources informed us that Percival was indeed directing his rant and obscenities at the fan.

To recap: With two outs in the ninth inning, Evan Longoria leaned into the stands to catch a foul ball that was ultimately caught by a fan sitting in the third row. While we understood Longoria’s frustration, we thought his reaction was a little over the top.

But what is absolutely inexcusable was the behavior of Percival. Several moments after the final out, Percival gestured toward the fan and yelled at least one obscenity in a fit of rage.

No matter what you feel is the proper etiquette of the fan in that situation, keep in mind that the fan did nothing illegal, and he did not intentionally interfere with the game. It may have been wrong, but it was at worst, an innocent mistake.

Under absolutely no circumstances is it acceptable for a major league baseball player to scream obscenities at a fan.

It is definitely unacceptable to scream obscenities at your own fans.

And it is downright unforgivable to scream obscenities at a fan who is standing with his young son.

While Longoria’s actions could be considered, “in the heat of the moment,” Percival’s came a couple of minutes later and were clearly premeditated.

If Percival is not suspended or at least fined by Major League Baseball or the Tampa Bay Rays it sends the wrong message to the fans and it will leave an ugly taste in our mouth.

And to Mr. Percival: You are an embarrassment. You haven’t done squat for this team in almost a year, so don’t think your hall-of-fame career has earned you any free passes with us. And last time we checked YOU have cost the Rays a hell of a lot more wins than that one fan.

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76 Comments

  1. James says:

    "You are an embarrassment."

    geez prof. tell us how you really feel.

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    • JohnF says:

      Wwhy wouldn't he say exactly what he feels; this is the forum for that; Mr. Too-Cool-for-Words Post-Irony Man; don't you think we've turned far too-many cheeks already for professional athletes?

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  2. Danny says:

    Great post. I completely agree. But I dont see MLB doing anything.

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  3. Steve M. says:

    That last post was a fantastic bitch slap if I have ever seen one. Excellent article Professor!

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  4. Steve M. says:

    I meant paragraph not post. oops :)

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  5. Justin H says:

    honestly a much bigger deal than I original thought it was

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  6. Scott R says:

    I was at the game and couldn't believe that redneck's reaction. Ironically this happened while Percy is try to show his 'support' for fans with the auction of his '70 Chevelle, which he made the Rays include the cost of that car in his contract. He hasn't contributed squat. He is a piece of crap pitcher and a piece of crap person! And none of his teammates like him, that I know for a fact!

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  7. Dave T says:

    I live very close to the Trop and feel like walking up to where the players come out to go home and tossing my Rays shit over the fence. This makes me sick. I will never look at Maddon the same way again if Percival is not publicly remanded. I'm finished rootin' for these scumbags 'til there is an apology to ALL fans. Go to HELL Maddon and Percival!

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  8. Jim from NPR says:

    GREAT editorial Professor, and I agree. Percy, you were brought here to provide LEADERSHIP, and you have not done so in your entire tenure you with the team. YOU PUBLICLY bitched to your manager last year when you almost blew another game, and you slinked off to Cali during the playoffs and World Series. I have NO RESPECT for you and your actions. Instead of yelling at some fan, who by the way was well within HIS rights to try and catch the ball, why don't you talk to your fellow relievers about the mental preparation it takes to be ready and either keep the game close, or, and this is shocking, NOT GIVE UP ANY FREAKING RUNS.

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  9. Bryan says:

    Compltely agree with you here Professor. These players complain when no one shows up at their games but when they get 32,000 they curse a man with his young son out for a natural fan reaction. It was bad enough when Longoria threw his little tantrum but Percival and Maddon's acts were just absolutely unnacceptable. MLB most likely will not do anything about it and Maddon won't stop snuggling with Percy long enough to slap him on the wrist for this either. What would be greast is if you could post some type of e-mail or address for people to write in to the Rays and complain about these actions formally. If this issue was made more public, I think this would be a much bigger issue and an absolute PR disaster for a ball club that needs all the fans it can get.

    Percival needs to have bigger worries than a fan in the third row. He is the same fat slob that he was last year and is batting practice fastballs and lack of control has only gotten worse.

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  10. Chris says:

    Prof,

    I wholeheartedly agree.

    Chris

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  11. krewezer says:

    The fan did not even see Longo approaching, as he was watching the ball. His catch of the ball was understandable. Longo overreacted and if Percy was yelling at the fan (I thought he was yelling at the Red Sox dugout) , he should be reprimanded.

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  12. JoeRayfan says:

    Thanks for a decent perspective on this. I can not believe the amount of people that think it is ok for these players to curse at, and abuse there own fans, in front of there children, for an honest mistake. I guess the man should just let the ball hit his kid in the head, just in case a player might have a play on it. I am really disappointed in our team and the stance they have taken on this.

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  13. Dirtbag Fan says:

    As the preeminent Longoria fan, I think thatthe brunt of the blame needs to be pointed directly at Evan, who in this case acted like, well... a dirtbag.

    Did you see the guys' face after Longo yelled at him, he honestly looked horrified, and genuinely hurt.

    I can tell you this, even as the world's biggest Longoria fan, if that were my son and I that'd be it... no more #3 jerseys, shirts, posters, usernames, nothing. I lost a little respect for Evan, that's for sure, but he's just a kid, so I'll cut him some slack (this time). I was at home thinking that he prob. realized his mistake shortly after and should go sign the ball, but not only did that not happen, but the poor guy gets Fatty McFluffnuts screaming at him 5 mins later and the "classy" manager mouthing off about it in his presser... unbelievable!

    I hate to do it, but if you head over to my blog a little later (i don't link to it on other blogs out of respect) you'll find Maddon, Percy and Dirtbag "on-notice".

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  14. GatorRaysHead says:

    Way too harsh. It looked like Percy just yelled "Nice Catch" at the guy. I wasnt there so I dont know if it was worse. Plus it was pretty loud in there so I doubt very many people in the stands can say for sure exactly what he said. He is a closer. They are all a little intense and crazy. He was out of line, but this is an overreaction.

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    • James says:

      he pointed his glove right at the guy and yelled "nice catch asshole". my buddy says he yelled "nice fucking catch asshole". either way, he definitely called the guy an asshole. And then he continued to glare at the guy for a good 2 seconds after that.

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      • GatorRaysHead says:

        With 30k+ celebrating the win/crying/leaving I have a hard time believing many fans could hear what Percy said. On TV you could tell he said something, but its really hard to hear what a player in the middle of the field yells from the stands. But again, even if he did curse at the guy, the talk of a suspension, boycott, etc. is a huge overreaction. The fans were wrong to get in Longo's way. Percy was wrong to curse on Kids Day.
        I think it was on Bugs and Cranks that someone suggested the Rays get the fan who caught the ball to do a funny video about fan etiquette. I think that is a great idea and would smooth things over with the fan and make this something we look back at and laugh. The good thing about all of this is fans WILL be paying more attention to the game in the future and I dont think this will happen again. I do remember a Red Sox player (or maybe it was the White Sox) coming into the first base stands during the playoffs and making a play and I was pissed the fans got out of the way. The Rays should use this moment to educate the fans about what to do in those situations and make this whole mess into a positive. Also, an autographed ball for the guy's son might be a good idea.

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  15. Jason says:

    Everyone on here is out of touch with reality. The fan messed up, plain and simple. Evan's reaction was fine. The reaction is the same reaction my guess every other player in MLB would have made given the situation. Percy should make a public apology and even a private one but the suspension and boycotting comments are beyond ridiculous. If you are giving the fan a pass for his error, let Percy apologize and go from there. People are jumping off the Rays bandwagon faster than they jumped on during the playoffs with these comments above.

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    • James says:

      "Evan’s reaction was fine."

      first of all, nobody on here is even talking about Longo. Second of all, how many times has a player had to fight fans for a ball. And how many other players jump up and down like a little girl afterwards. Could you imaine Jeter or Youkilis jumping up and down like that and losing their cool? NEVER! i love Longo, but that was embarrassing. He needs to grow up.

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      • Jason says:

        Youk would be crying like a baby and his reaction would probably be worse than what Evan did. I guess you have never seen Youk strike out or get called out on a close call at first. Jeter, he speaks for himself but can't believe you put Youk in this converstation.

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        • Dirtbag Fan says:

          Are you kidding with that bandwagon B.S.? what the hell does any of this have to do with being on or off a bandwagon?

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          • Jason says:

            If Percy is lights out like he was in the beginning of last year and we are 6 games over .500 instead of under, no one even bats an eye at this. Yet because Percy struggled at the end of the year and this year being a small adventure (even though 3 for 3) people are overreacting. Get off your high horse!

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        • Mike B says:

          don't look now, but your exception just proved his point. Youk is one of the only players that would and it is childlike, classless, immature and annoying.

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      • GatorRaysHead says:

        Yea. Youk would never jump up and down and cry like a little girl.... http://img131.imageshack.us/img131/7919/crybaby9az8nq.jpg

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  16. Possum Avenger says:

    Percival should publicly and privately apologize or face suspension.

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  17. James says:

    Grow up, Professor. The fan knows he cost the team an out and the players are there to win. This is about wins/losses and the Rays desperately need them - to react accordingly is accepted.

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    • Dirtbag Fan says:

      WRONG.
      Nothing is above professionalism. Period. That crap might be okay for the Raiders or Yankees, but classy organizations put professionalism first. Always. How can you try to tell Prof to "grow up" when it was the behavior of the players that indicates that they're the ones in need of "growing-up"- if you don't see that then you need to root for a different team- I hear Boston's always looking for pink hat wearing pukes.... see ya in Beantown.

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    • Mike B says:

      Then what exactly is the point of reacting like Percival did AFTER the game when the Rays have already won? There is no reason except to be fucking ass.

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  18. Jason D says:

    If your want Percival suspended then Longo should too.You can't tell me he didn't yell any insults at the fan.It might not have been cus words but it still could have been insults.In my opinion I don't think he(Longo) overreacted,your telling me if you or another player were in his position where one of the final outs was in your reach and a fan came out and grabbed it you would have not yelled either?Percival,yes it was sometime after the catch,but the only reason you all want him suspended and not Longo is because Longo helps us in games while Percy usually doesn't.

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  19. Dave T says:

    Longo's reaction was in the heat of the moment, just as the fan's reaction was. Percival reaction was a deliberate, premditiated assault.
    Huge differance. Percival is a scumbag and Maddon, his enabler.

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  20. Dan B says:

    Great column. I forwarded it onto editors @ Deadspin and The Big Lead, so hopefully they pick it up and get this story national.

    I still think it was a joke that they let this guy comeback after him not attending a single playoff game last year, because he was unhappy that he didn't make the postseason roster. Talk about selfish.

    Enough is a enough with this Percy. Time to bring Price up and let him close games for this season.

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  21. Jeff Arp says:

    I am extremely disappointed in Dirtbag and even more so in Percy. If the Rays start losing the team is going to expect the fans to show them grace and keep on coming through those gates. Why is it wrong for the fans of Tampa Bay to expect a little grace from the millionnaires they are making when they commit an error? If a team can't win between the lines one play outside the lines isn't going to make you a winner either. I agree with this post 100%.

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  22. Gus says:

    Percival's contiuned presence on the team for his performance is a joke. When you throw in stunts like this and ditching the team in the playoffs, you have to wonder about the double standard the organization is applying to good old boys versus young players. (Imagine the outrage had CC not attended the playoff games). His screaming is the sign of a desperate guy, seeing his major league career end right before his eyes. He will not be on the team by June 15th. Is there any doubt that if the team gave an honest, pure baseball evaluation, he would be the pitcher sent down/released when Izzy is ready? Only sentiment and a fat contract keep that guy in MLB.

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  23. Shoop says:

    Nevermind that the fan was, in fact, a "jackass"(which is what I got when I read Percival's lips).

    Look, Percival scares the crap out of me nowadays as much as the next guy, but I guess I'm the only one who remembers that for the 1st half of '08, he was lights out, but he was the one who came into the clubhouse (along with Floyd) and turned it into what Maddon described as "a major league clubhouse". Something that had not been seen around here.

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  24. Dirtbag Fan says:

    I don't agree that he's useless, and therefore expendable, but he certainly can no longer be called a "mature veteran presence"...

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  25. Jake says:

    "Hall of Fame Career"?? Are you serious? There is a 0% chance Troy Percival makes the Hall of Fame

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    • Dirtbag Fan says:

      Check your numbers.

      Fatty McFluffnuts is 8th ALL-TIME in saves (356 as of today)

      Sounds like better than 0% odds of making it to the Hall...

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      • joe says:

        Lee Smith has 478 to Percival's 355 and is not in. Two of his contemporaries, Hoffman and Rivera, have had far better careers, which will definitely hurt his candidacy. On baseballreference.com, the five most similar pitchers are Rob Nen, Jeff Montgomery, Armando Benitez, Rod Beck, and John Wetteland, none of whom are in or will be in. If it's not 0%, it's extremely unlikely.

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        • personally, I am a very hard grader when it comes to the Hall and if I had a vote I would not vote for Percival. It just seems that there is a groundswell of support nowadays for closers and above-average pitchers. So I think there is a good chance he gets in, whether deserved or not.

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  26. Mike G. says:

    First off, Longoria tweaked. It was three FULL rows into the stands. The guy didn't come close to reaching into the field of play. And we need to stop with the "these guys should help out the home team" garbage because as time and time again has shown: When a ball is coming at you, your instincts are to catch it.

    Chris Davis went hard into the stands Sunday night and guys were trying to catch the ball though it fell in the first row. GASP! This guy was farther back!

    The biggest point of all is that maybe pitchers shouldn't get their team in the position where a near foul ball should be the determining factor in the game. Was Steve Bartman really why the Cubs lost? Or was it the Cubs? And et cetera...

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  27. Mike G. says:

    Btw, Percival has no chance in the HOF and the fact that some BBWA writers will vote for him shows the idiocy of the baseball writers.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/p/percitr01.shtml

    27 for the gray ink

    And in an age where Brian Wilson, George Sherrill and such can get 30+ saves, he's got the odds stacked against him. Rivera and Hoffman will probably get in, and I'd boldly say that neither should.

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  28. Cary says:

    I'm not sure why everyone is so angry. Baseball is a game that never discourages swearing. If you go back and watch Dustin Pedroia at-bats, he'll audibly swear after almost every strike out. On live TV. And he's certainly not the only one.

    We give these guys millions of dollars to play a game, and they get into it. When they can't make a catch, they'll react. If you're in their way, watch out. That's it. Simple. Sure, go for a foul ball, but if you're a homer why wouldn't you expect Longoria to make a play? You want your team to win, right?

    And yes, you'll probably get a half-hearted apology soon. But don't worry, Percival will turn around and be the dumb, angry bully as soon as that's over. The sport is filled with jerks, and Percival certainly isn't the worst.

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  29. Chad Sexington says:

    Run you stupid f*cking closer, run.

    /phallus joke.

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  30. John says:

    Wow.

    You've got to be kidding me.

    Have you ever played a sport, let alone played one for a living? If a home fan is dumb enough to interfere with a potential out for his team, he deserves to get berated by anyone and everyone. I don't think you understand what the "heat of the moment" really is until you've been there. A few cuss words at a fan is really that outrageous?

    Never is it acceptable for a player to yell obsecnities at a fan? Really?!! But its alright for sports talk radio, newspapers, blogs, etc. to say anything and everything they want about athletes? You can't have your cake and eat it too.

    The guy is paid to get outs and someone took one away from him. That deserves an F-Bomb. Get off your fucking pedastal, your lucky you even have a sports team. Hopefully the league starts losing money and we can lose these expansion teams that have been ruining baseball the last 20 years.

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  31. Tricky says:

    Where else are kids going to learn vulgarities these days? Chill out, the F bomb was invented for a reason. Here is a perfect example of an acceptable application.

    Another acceptable use would have been if the "fan" (it's hard to give him that status since he screwed over his own team) shouted back to ole Percy "Hey you washed up bum, go F**k yourself. Try not to blow it you f**ktard!!"

    At least that's what I'd have said.

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  32. Trev says:

    Go Phillies!!

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  33. Dave Blig says:

    Oh gimme a break. The fan is to blame. Fuck you. Percival is the shit. You call yourself a Rays fan? Good just keep going to games and interfering with them.

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  34. jimborific says:

    "That crap might be okay for the Raiders or Yankees, but classy organizations put professionalism first." Classy organizations?????? Like the Rays????? Nice cow bell! at least you people know baseball starts in april now and not august! and yes, you still have a team if they're not in first place.... they don't go away in june just because they've dropped to 3rd place, i promise...... signed Phillies Fan

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  35. poolman9903 says:

    Percival needs to shut the F*** UP. First off the guy did not reach over the fence to grab the ball (ala Bartman). He had a legitimate reason to go after the ball. Second, the Ray hardly have any fans. Way to yell at one of your very own. Maybe he'll covert to a Marlins fan. Third, which I find very funny, the fan getting yelled at was wearing a Longoria t-shirt! Over paid cry babies.

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  36. Joe B. says:

    There's no excuse for this shit. Longoria busting a nut over that play shows how juvenile and self-centered he is, and Percival is a total piece of shit, plain and simple.

    Fans pay exorbitant amounts of money to go see these games and hope that maybe one day they can catch a foul ball or get an autograph. Instinct is to catch the ball when it's flying at you. If you think he interfered with you, give him a little stare, but don't flip your lid like a little pussy.

    These are the people that pay your salary moron, so how about a little god damn respect? A little perspective maybe, and remember that you wouldn't have fucking jobs if it weren't for the fans, much less all of the luxuries and obscene contracts you divas get.

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  37. Jeff says:

    Longoria is a punk. He's talented but he's also the only ML player that has autographed an item for me then responded, "Don't sell it!".

    My kids and I have been attending Rays games since 1998 and have had limited interaction with almost every player and coach and I can honestly say that Longoria's head is bigger than Jose Canseco.

    I didn't witness the Percival incident first hand but I can report that the few times I had the opportunity to chat with him he was very friendly and polite.

    Wish I could say the same for Longoria.

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  38. Steve says:

    "Hall of Fame career"....YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING?!

    and the fans being totally innocent when interfering with the game line of thinking is getting really really old.

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  39. tom says:

    When the Rays are in last place in August again no one will be at the ballpark to interfere with the game. If I were Percival I would be thrilled that someone was actually watching me play.

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  40. SS says:

    You posters make me ROFLMAO! Percival calls out the fan to his face. You posers only call out people anonymous hidden in secret behind the safety of a computer screen. You internet poster critics are nothing more than weenies who got cut from your Little League team.

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  41. J Rose says:

    What's funny to me is how everyone down here is so quick to jump on Red Sox players and fans when you guys are no better. Rays supporters for the most part are a bunch of bandwagon fans acting like they've been annointed the kings of baseball, and the players, like Longo, Percival, Upton, are smug, overconfident dicks who act like they have done something meanigful when they haven't done shit, other than grab lightning in a bottle one season in a row.

    Time to look in the mirror, Rays nation, and learn that you have turned into the team you despise the most. Pink hats? Every Rays hat should be coated in pink.

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  42. iladel says:

    Troy percival is a scumbag. Evan longoria is a bitch. Thats the bottom line. Just hope that longoria's ego doesn't get so overblown that it alienates his teammates (like gay-rod did)

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  43. whowhahuh says:

    Kenny. Powers.

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  44. baseballfan15 says:

    Wow, I know baseball is new to most of you guys but seriously. Home field advantage is very important and when you have idiots who are sabotaging your own team I couldnt imagine anything more frustrating for a player. Especially one who is struggling. Was he wrong for swearing... yeah. Is the fan an idiot who deserves to be yelled at ... yeah. Welcome to competitive baseball.

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  45. Gords7015 says:

    Gotta side with J. Rose here. First off, I agree that I love that all the Rays fans here jumping on the Red Sox and Yankees. Seriously? I mean, you do realize that until last year, you could have fit all the Rays fans into a high school gym. I've been to the Trop to see a game, and it was like watching a game in Montreal a few years back. All the fans there were from the opposite team, and people were rocking out Wade Boggs shirts. Look, I think all of baseball loved the Rays story last year. But to be honest, after the number of first round picks your team had, they couldn't suck forever. See me when you've gotten a title, or have good attendence for a couple of seasons.

    As for the reaction of the fan, I think you need to be a little aware if you're sitting in that section that something like this can happen, have your head up, but what bugs me is the reaction here. The Rays won the game. They won. Closers are nuts, you just need to ignore whatever they say as long as they get the outs, which Percival did in this case.

    Enjoy your moment of fame from last year, and let me know how the cellar tastes this season...

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  46. iladel says:

    I still can't get over the fact you guys had a ring ceremony to celebrate SECOND PLACE thats so funny

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  47. Mark says:

    Wins are all that matters in baseball.

    I do not care about some fan's feelings.

    It has no effect on the game.

    What I do care about is when a stupid A** fan gets in the way of victory!

    Thankfully, we were able to avoid a loss. (Cubs not so lucky)

    But anyway, congrats on getting linked on SI.com

    That's big time right there. lol.

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    • Slim says:

      did you just lol?

      i think you are in the wrong place. the Pokemon Chat room is over there.

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  48. Burnsie says:

    1 good year and you're all authorities on how professionals should act.........how would you know?

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    • Dirtbag Fan says:

      again, success and professionalism are not synonamous. You can be professional without tasting success...

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  49. Dirtbag Fan says:

    This should really be the last word on this situation:

    Longoria and Percival were wrong. period.

    People who say that either of them are talentless are idiots.

    People who think that you can't be classy or professional unless your fanbase is huge and you've had years of success are morons.

    Anyone who believes that because they support a team with a "storied history" that they automatically qualify as pundits, but that people who support a "perenial loser" are failures and morons by proxy are ignorant, mindless, blobs of self-loathing, pink-hat wearing, pin-stripe loving, meglomaniacal rejects.

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  50. I definitely agree with Dirtbag! They are not talentless. They have talents.

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  51. james says:

    Yeah, Percival took the low road there. You know what the best way to respond to that is? Obviously, by writing a whiney, repetitive blog, in which YOU take the low-road with irrelevant shots against Percival.

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