Going to see a professional sporting event is interactive on some level—the players do their thing, and the fans cheer. That’s supposed to be the extent of it…except for these times, when fans got a little carried away and threw objects onto the field, diamond, or ice.
A gruesome tradition began at a 2007 San Jose Sharks playoff game. During a game against the Detroit Red Wings, a man who had snuck a four-foot-long leopard shark into the arena tossed it onto the ice. The Sharks won the game, and the series, so now, any time the Sharks meet the Red Wings in the postseason, at least one person will bring a small shark to the game and throw it down.
During the 1995-96 hockey season, a weird story got out about Florida Panthers player Scott Mellanby. He found a rat in the locker room, and smashed it with a hockey puck. That day, he scored three goals in the game—usually a “hat trick,” but which fans nicknamed “a rat trick.” A few times throughout the rest of the season, fans dumped hundreds of plastic rats onto the ice when the Panthers scored a goal.
The Philadelphia Eagles were playing the Minnesota Vikings one snowy day in late 1968. There was so much snow on the ground in the Philadelphia area that the halftime entertainment, a man hired to dress as Santa Claus, couldn’t make it to the stadium. So a guy in the stands named Frank Olivo was hired to do it. When he hit the field…fans booed him. Yes, they booed Santa Claus. And then they started pelting Father Christmas with a barrage of snowballs. The reason? Well, fans were angry at the team, which blew the worst record in the league by winning two late games, losing them the #1 pick in the 1969 NFL Draft.
It was a common symbol of hatred in the 1920s and 1930s for baseball fans to throw lemons at the visiting team’s star player. The practice was especially popular in Chicago, and for the biggest star of the era: New York Yankees slugger Babe Ruth. When he’d play in Chicago, he’d be showered with citrus when he was walking to the plate, taking batting practice, walking off the field…