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Red Sox

Report: Fan Who Slept During Red Sox-Yankees Game Now Suing ESPN, MLB For Mockery

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
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Yankee Stadium (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Yankee Stadium (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) — The ESPN Sunday Night Baseball crew of play-by-play man Dan Shulman and color commentator John Kruk are not afraid to engage in some good-natured ribbing. This was most evident recently during a long Red Sox-Yankees broadcast, in which Shulman consistently made cracks about Kruk’s lack of healthy eating. Kruk responded by talking about his own lack of intelligence. And then he ate a steak.

So clearly, the broadcast partners like to have a little fun, and they’re not afraid to take it if it comes at their own expense. One fan who was the “victim” of some of the most lighthearted joking, however, is not willing to take it.

According to The Smoking Gun, a Yankees fan who was shown sleeping during an April 13 Red Sox-Yankees game on ESPN, is suing the network, MLB and the Yankees for emotional distress.

The fan, whose name is Andrew Rector, is seeking $10 million in damages.

In real life.

Here’s exactly what Shulman and Kruk said about Rector, who was conked out and looked to be sleeping peacefully in the fourth inning:

Shulman: This guy’s oblivious to how good [MLB TV] is. …

Kruk: Sometimes you have to turn it off to get some sleep. This is not the place you come to sleep. I tell you what though, how comfortable is that? Probably won’t have any neck problems tomorrow.

Shulman: I mean, is that guy to his left his buddy? Is he just letting him sleep, or is he here alone? What’s the deal with this guy?

Kruk: Maybe that’s his buddy and he likes him a lot better when he’s asleep.

Shulman: I think the other guy’s more concerned with the food and the game.

Kruk: Chicken fingers are a special item at the ballpark. Why share? Get ‘em while he’s asleep so he won’t ask for one.

Shulman: We’ve gotta see how long this guy’s out for.

Kruk: It’s only the fourth inning, you don’t think he could sleep through–

Shulman: Did he sleep through the Beltran homer? I mean, 45,000 people stand up and cheer and he sleeps through it?

Kruk: You’d think it’d be tough to, but he seemed comfortable. It didn’t look like he just started to sleep.

Again, the fan is seeking $10 million for being subjected to an “unending verbal crusade.”

The lawsuit, according to the report, also lists mean-spirited comments made by online visitors and wrongly attributes them to Kruk and Shulman.

A closer look at the suit shows some odd language choices, full of typos and lacking some articles (all sic’d):

On or about April 13, 2014, the plaintiff was at the rivalry game between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankee. It is well known that the rivalry between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox is always the biggest in all of sport. For decades millions of people all over the world turn out or tune in to watch these games. Plaintiff accordingly was at this game.

ESPN Cameras focused on the plaintiff, Announcers like Dan Shulman and John Kruck unleashed avalanche of disparaging words against the person of and concerning the plaintiff. These words, include but not limited to ‘stupor, fatty, unintelligent, stupid’ knowing and intending the same to be heard and listened to by millions of people all over the world, including people that know the plaintiff in person or interacted with the plaintiff.

The defendant MLB.Com continued the onslaught to a point of comparing the plaintiff to someone of a confused state of mind, disgusted disgruntled and unintelligent and probably intellectually bankrupt individual.

Nothing triggered all these assertions only that the plaintiff briefly slept off while watching the great game something or circumstance any one can easily found them self.

The final paragraph of the lawsuit takes a sharp right turn:

Plaintiff alleges that M L B. Com, juxtapositions of photos and text of two men kissing each other and caption “sleeping Yankee’s Fan cares not for your rivalry talk” falsely implied that plaintiff engaged in that type of conduct described or portrayed by the picture. In light of all the surrounding circumstances.

(As a reminder, all of the typos and mistakes you see in this text is what actually appears in the lawsuit that was written with the intention of earning someone $10 million.)

So, in short, some people on the Internet said mean things about this young man, and John Kruk (or Kruck, depending on whether you can be bothered to spell names correctly in your lawsuit) is responsible for all of it.

Is it a horrible attempt at gaming the justice system for some undeserved cash, or it sneakily the most brilliant plan of all time? We’ll find out the answer … likely when this lawsuit gets thrown in the trash.

(If, however, Rector does somehow win millions because people said mean things about him in online comments, then you, my friends, are reading the words written by one soon-to-be-very-very-very wealthy writer.)

Read more from Michael Hurley by clicking here, or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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