As the World Cup in Brazil continues to captivate millions across the globe, it seems that baseball (not soccer) is the sport putting fans to sleep. Just ask Andrew Rector, a baseball fan who recently fell asleep during a nationally televised New York vs Boston game. ESPN cameras caught Rector dozing off, at which time announcers John Kruk and Dan Shulman began to poke fun at his expense. Embarrassed and humiliated, the fan consulted a lawyer and filed a lawsuit to the tune of $10 million. He specifically named all parties involved, including ESPN, the announcers, the Yankees, and Major League Baseball.
Andrew Rector is seeking damages for defamation and slander, claiming he has come under personal strife and discomfort. Much of the fallout seems to have happened on social media, as fans took to sites like Twitter and Facebook to mock the sleeping fan. It is unclear at the time if any of the fans in attendance accosted Rector, as fans in the Bronx are more fiery than most other cities. The plaintiff also claims specific hurtful insults were hurled his way by the ESPN commentators (although the tape clearly shows otherwise). Although it is unclear exactly where Mr. Rector’s seat is at Yankee Stadium, it appears to be relatively close to the field, where tickets are generally anywhere from $150-$450.
As a die-hard Yankee fan and baseball enthusiast, even I feel bad for Mr. Rector. Baseball is often labeled as a “thinking man’s sport”, which is a nice way of saying “sometimes it gets boring”. To that point, Yankees-Red Sox games have become notoriously drawn out and often take longer than most normal MLB games. I doubt the lawsuit will get anywhere, specifically because a lot of the plaintiff’s claims are false. The right thing to do would be for the Yankees to offer Rector some tickets to come back to the stadium… although this time, I’d recommend a day game.