Guthrie talks fan safety at suspension appeal
Royals right-hander was fined for throwing ball into upper deck on May 1
DETROIT -- For Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, it was more than appealing a fine. It was a chance to tell Major League Baseball officials about his concern for fan safety.
Guthrie was fined an undisclosed amount for throwing a ball into the upper deck on May 1 at Kauffman Stadium. It happened after he caught Jose Reyes' liner on the mound for the third out of the sixth inning, just after Toronto had taken a 4-3 lead in a game it would win, 7-3.
Frustrated but not angry, Guthrie said, he just lobbed the ball into a largely unoccupied section as a souvenir, but MLB fined him.
"Under the premise that I was putting fans in danger and so when I had a meeting, I appealed it and it gave me the opportunity to speak with MLB about what I did as well as the issue of fan safety," Guthrie said. "It was a wonderful opportunity to do that with them and something that I'm passionate about and have been for a number of years -- about protecting fans at low levels."
Guthrie is concerned about fans being injured by flying balls or bats.
"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."
Guthrie called his phone conversation with MLB officials productive although it didn't get into proposed measures to improve fan safety. He intends to discuss that aspect with MLB in the future.
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 his appeal of the fine? No decision as of yet, he said. It's under consideration.