4 Unforgettable Sports Fan Moments from Bartman to the Malice at the Palace


Apr 19, 2023

Fans are a crucial part of every sporting event. That was certainly the case last week in Toronto, when DeMar DeRozan’s daughter, Diar, went viral for her blaring screams during the Bulls-Raptors Play-In Tournament game. Diar’s shrieks could be heard every time the Raps (her Dad’s former team) attempted a free throw – Toronto ultimately shooting a season-worst 18-36 from the line in the 109-105 loss. 

There are other moments in sports history when fans get involved in memorable ways, for better or worse.

Here are a few that stand out.

The Steve Bartman Incident

In Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS between the Chicago Cubs and Florida Marlins, a Cubs fan by the name of Steve Bartman reached over the railing and tried to catch a foul ball. The move interfered with Chicago outfielder Moises Alou, who was in position to make what looked to be a surefire second out. The Marlins went on to score eight runs in the inning en route to winning the game and, eventually, the series. Bartman, meanwhile, received death threats and was forced to go into hiding. All was forgiven, however, after the Cubs captured the 2016 World Series, with Bartman even receiving a World Series ring.

The “Fan-Man” Incident

A bizarre moment occurred in a 1993 heavyweight boxing match between Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield when parachutist/paraglider James Miller crashed into the side of the ring during the seventh round. Miller, who was quickly dubbed the “Fan-Man” for the paramotor attached to his harness, was pulled into the crowd and immediately attacked by security and fans, causing a 21-minute delay.

The Malice at the Palace

On November 19, 2004, the Detroit Pistons were hosting the Indiana Pacers in an NBA regular season game. With 45.9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and the Pacers leading by 15 points, Pistons center Ben Wallace went up for a layup and was fouled hard by Indiana forward Ron Artest, leading to a heated altercation between the teams.

After the players were separated, a fan threw a drink at Artest while he was lying on the scorer’s table. The former All-Star immediately went into the crowd and grabbed whom he thought was the culprit. Artest’s teammates followed him, players and fans exchanged punches, and the brawl spilled back onto the court. A total of nine players were suspended in what is widely regarded as the darkest night in NBA history.

The Jeffrey Maier Game

In one of the most controversial plays in MLB history, the Yankees received a little help from 12-year-old fan Jeffrey Maier in Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS against the Baltimore Orioles. Down 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth, New York’s star shortstop Derek Jeter hit a deep drive to right field. Maier reached over the fence and snagged the ball, interfering with Orioles right fielder Tony Tarasco. Umpire Rich Garcia surprisingly ruled a home run, etching Maier’s name into Yankee lore. New York would go on to win the game 5-4 on a Bernie Williams extra innings walk-off homer.

Thumbnail photo via USA TODAY Sports Images

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