Snoozing Yankees Fan Suing Everyone, For Everything
On April 13th a New York Yankees fan used a home game against the division-rival Boston Red Sox to catch up on his sleep. Andrew Rector, 26, was out cold during the forth inning—head slumped over, left arm stretched comfortably over the empty seat next to him—when he was spotted by a cameraman during the ESPN broadcast.
Announcer Dan Shulman and color commentator John Kruk were both named in the suit for comments that Rector and his attorney insist amount to “an unending verbal crusade.” Which is remarkable, given the relatively innocuous nature of their commentary.
In an exchange that lasts all of a minute, Shulman referred to a zonked out Rector as “oblivious,” before wondering aloud if he had slept through a third inning home run by Carlos Beltran—a very legitimate question. For his part, Kruk added that the ballpark wash “not the place you come to sleep”—a very legitimate point.
The lawsuit, which was filed in State Supreme Court in the Bronx this month, alleges that Shulman and Kruk unleashed an “avalanche of disparaging words” against him and insinuated that he wasn’t worthy of baseball fandom and that he doesn’t understand the historical significance of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.
Rector claims he was portrayed as a “fatty cow that needs two seats” and a “confused disgusted and socially bankrupt individual.” To be clear though, those are his words, not the words of Shulman and Kruk.
Considering the time that’s passed since the original incident, it’s possible Rector was spurred into action by the particularly harsh treatment he received on various blogs and in the merciless wasteland known as the internet comment section. It may not be legally actionable, but it makes more sense than the claims against ESPN.
Rector, a used-car dealer, claims his “character and reputation” have suffered “substantial injury” and cites “mental anguish” and the “loss of future income and earning capacity” as cause for his decision to take legal action.
The $10 million defamation suit also names Major League Baseball and the Yankees as defendants.