He didn’t mention it in the post-game interview on Sunday, but later that evening Orioles center fielder Adam Jones took to Twitter to vent about a San Francisco Giants fan who threw a banana in his direction in the ninth inning:
I want to thank whatever slapd— threw that banana towards my direction in CF in the last inning. Way to show ur class u jackass.
— Adam Jones (@SimplyAJ10) August 11, 2013
The gesture is no more original than it is sensitive. Black athletes across the world have regularly been targeted by banana-wielding bigots. ThinkProgress.org’s Travis Waldron says the practice is “still maddeningly common in sports like European soccer.”
Nevertheless, a 42-year-old man claiming responsibility for the incident says his choice of missile wasn’t intended as a bigoted statement, just an unfortunate coincidence. Alexander Poulides says he was so angry at the Giants’ poor performance he grabbed a banana randomly from a catering cart and tossed it onto the field on his way out.
Some have doubted the plausibility of that story. Radio host Glenn Younes speculates that sending a banana close to an outfielder would take something more than an offhand toss. Younes also finds the presence of a banana cart “three rows from the outfield” dubious.
The Giants have not been able to confirm that Poulides is really the guy. They are investigating the incident and have issued a formal apology.
Whatever the real story, Jones says he’s moving on: “We have games to win. It’s mid-August. I’ve got a bigger concern on my head than someone’s ignorance or act of whatever.”