After Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes heaved a ball high into the Arrowhead stands to celebrate scoring a touchdown in yesterday’s win, former Royals pitcher Louis Coleman tweeted about a parallel memory from across the parking lot:
Hey @TheRealJGuts how come Mahomes can throw a ball in the upper deck and it’s ok but when you do it everyone gets upset and you get a fine?— Louis Coleman (@LouisColeman31) January 17, 2021
Coleman was referring to a game on May 1, 2014, in which Jeremy Guthrie got frustrated and chucked a ball into the stands at Kauffman:
You don’t see this everyday: Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, after catching a line drive for the third out in the sixth inning, took a few steps toward the dugout and hurled the ball about five rows up into the upper deck behind the first-base dugout.
With a runner on second and two outs in the top of the sixth at Kauffman Stadium, Jose Reyes smashed a liner back at Guthrie. Guthrie’s catch saved a run.
But it’s possible Guthrie was still fuming about giving up a home run earlier in the inning to Toronto’s Colby Rasmus, who came into the game hitting .194. That Rasmus homer gave the Jays a 4-3 lead. The Jays went on to win 7-3.
Guthrie was fined an undisclosed amount, and used the media attention surrounding the appeals process to push for more netting for fans in seats closer to the field.
“A lot of fans don’t understand how dangerous it is. They talk about not wanting a net in front of them and they talk about kids are vulnerable. If you’re living, you’re vulnerable,” Guthrie said. “I’m a Major League Baseball player and if I sat behind a dugout watching a game and a ball was hit at me, I’ve got roughly a 22 percent chance of catching it because that ball is moving and going so fast. And I understand there’s a great fan experience sitting behind a dugout, but there’s a ton of inherent danger and I think a lot of people are not really quite aware of just how dangerous it is for everybody, kids and adults alike.”
How about his own toss into the stands?
“It was nowhere near a group of fans. I don’t feel like there was any danger created by me throwing it up there,” Guthrie said. “If anything, I feel like it’s probably more of an embarrassment to myself to have done it than it is to have put a fan in danger.”
And the ball at the center of all this? A young fan who was celebrating her birthday at her very first Royals game snagged it.
Louis Coleman probably remembers that game extra vividly because he ended up pitching in it. Following Guthrie’s start, and a 2-run inning from Michael Mariot, Coleman pitched a scoreless frame.
Kansas City’s offense that day all came against Toronto starter Mark Buehrle prior to the ball tossing incident. Billy Butler drove in a pair with a double, and Justin Maxwell scored an unearned run courtesy of an error by José Bautista.
Back in the NFL, no fines have been announced against Mahomes yet for his throw into the stands, but San Francisco QB Jimmy Garoppolo and Tennessee WR A.J. Brown each were fined last year for doing the same thing.