Was he a jerk, or perfectly within his rights to refuse signing an autograph?

Or maybe both. Being a ballplayer is a tough life. After a day game against the Angels in which Alex Rios went 0 for 5, striking out at all five at bats, a young fan asked the outfielder for a signature as he left a charity event. Mr. Rios was not being barraged by autograph requests; it was just the one kid. When Mr. Rios said nuh uh, a man, apparently unrelated to the kid, said to him, "The way you played tonight, Alex, you should be lucky someone wants your autograph. You're a bum!" A few more choice words were exchanged, including Mr. Rios dropping the F bomb at least four times in front of the kid. The worst word used by the heckler/observer was "bum." Mr. Rios clearly was in a bad, touchy mood, but he could have lightened the whole situation even by saying "Not tonight" or something. Here's the video. Good lord, what is this kid learning from adults?


Doubleplay said...

He just wanted to get out of there. He was coming off a bad game and just wanted to put it all behind him.

The best part is the guy heckling him is wearing a FREE promotional "Jay's Care" Hat.

A kid hearing a few choice words is a lot less harmful then a kid witnessing his hero get busted for roid use (the generations of kids that have looked up to the Clemens, Canseco's and Manny's of the sport just to be let down). I would much rather children hear some curse words then look up to and idolize performance enhanced monsters.

Children hear much worse things during games, when pitchers throw hissy fits, when managers get ejected and so on.

And a final note, isn't it past that kids bedtime?

Motherscratcher said...

This is a tough one. Obviously it would have been better for Alex to restrain himself and not drop f-bombs so easily out in public and in front of kids.

But, where the heck does that guy get off heckling him like that? Rios has a bad day and all of a sudden this guy has a right to be a complete jerk to him. Can you imagine how you would react, how you would feel if someone said that to you the next time you had a bad day at work?

I can't envision a scenario where I thought it would be acceptable to act in the way that this jerk does. Calling him a bum over and over again. And why? Because he struck out a few times and then didn't feel like signing an autograph.

Sure, I wish every ballplayer happily signed every autograph ever asked of him by every wide eyed and freckled youngster. But, it's a ridiculous standard to hold these guys to.

The more I think about it the more I think that guy was a class A jerk. He should be embarassed.

I'll bet that later, Rios may have wished he had just signed that autograph. And, I'll also bet anything that the guy calling him a bum STILL thinks he didn't do anything wrong.

night owl said...

Well, yes, Rios used bad language and wouldn't it be all nice and dandy if he didn't and he could let an 0-for-5 performance roll off his back?

But wouldn't it be even nicer if there weren't JERKS out there feeling entitled to everything a ballplayer has and PROVOKING people to act like that.

We are not entitled to every piece of a ballplayer's life. They don't owe us everything. And I think it's garbage that someone would get so indignant because Rios happened to refuse one autograph.

Get a life, sir.

MDA said...

I think that the kid learned that there are both four letter words AND three letter words.

Upon a second viewing of the video, Alex Rios clearly dropped the bomb before the heckler called him a bum.

The kid could also learn that TTM autos are generally a lot less abusive than asking for one in person.


tastelikedirt said...

The guy yelling at Rios is lucky he didn't get his butt kicked. It's also too bad Rios didn't sign for the kid. It would have taken seconds for him to scribble some chicken scratch for the kid. Looks like everybody get the short end of the stick in this video.

Tom said...

I say someone should just spank the kid.

Seriously though, both Rios and the other guy were out of line.
Yeah, he smarted off and there is such a thing as free speech, but he should have let it go, not call him a bum again and again. I'm thinking he called him a bum the first time because of the initial foul language...and just couldn't let it go.

gritz76 said...

Mantle would of tried to punch the guy and Cobb would've shot at him. All Rios did was suggest how the guy should spend a couple of minutes of alone time. Bad for the kids, Yes. Bad for Rios? Yeah probably. But really, how much of that could you put up with before you snapped. I suppose the Millions of dollars would help me cope. I can kind of feel for both sides of this story.

grant said...

I'm sorry but I can't stand this "why does'nt everybody just leave me alone B.S." You get paid millions to be in the spot light if it was good publicity he'd take it. Sign the kids auto at least acknowledge him trailing you "nuh uh" then F you over and over. He's supposed to be a profesional he was leaving a game? People were'nt knocking at his front door invading his privacy. He's just as much of a punk as the heckler except the heckler does'nt get paid to act Right he's just stupid. Poor Alex? Grant

MMayes said...

Sometimes we make good decisions and sometimes we don't. Here, Rios and the heckler didn't make good decisions. For the heckler, no consequences. However, for Rios there are. I'm sure the Jays PR staff is counseling with Rios to realize that he has to act as if his every movement in public is being videotaped....because somebody's always got their camera phone on.

To answer your question, Yes, Rios was perfectly within his rights to not sign the autograph. He wasn't a jerk until he chose to fire back at the clown who was getting on his back.

Joe S. said...

I always find it amusing when ball players don't sign autographs. I don't think should be expected to meet EVERY demand, but if nobody cared, they wouldn't make the money they do. It truly is part of what they 'signed up' for. On the other hand, everyone is entitled to a bad day or a break from what they do. And if Rios signs one autograph, I bet he's swarmed all of a sudden.

I wanted to say Rios was out of line before watching the video, but the guy shouting at Rios was the worst. What's the need for taunting?! Like he could do better... please. Guys like him make me embarassed to be a fan sometimes.

thehamiltonian said...

It would have been nice for Rios to sign for the kid, but after I have a bad day at work, I usually want to get things over with and get home as soon as possible.

And as for what I would do if someone stood outside my building and told me what a terrible day I had while I was trying to get home - well, it probably would have been just as unpleasant as Rios's reaction.

Two wrongs don't make a right. The kid was in the clear asking for an autograph, but both Rios and the fan could have handled things better.

timrooks said...

I have a good deal of sympathy for the players in situations like these. He went to work, had a bad day, and it looks like he's trying to go out for the night with his wife (or girlfriend, who knows). But because he's "famous" there are people waiting for him between his workplace and his car. One of them is a kid who wants his autograph. It's easy, I think, for us to say "aw, just sign for the kid," but I think Rios knows that you can't sign just one and be a good guy. As soon as he signs one there are ten more people lining up with sharpies, and if he doesn't spend the next five, ten, fifteen minutes signing (while his wife/girlfriend waits), someone will say he's a jerk.

Without the heckler and the video camera there, this would have been just another tough moment where a "famous" person has to disappoint a kid because of the realities of fame.

I think we also can't take Rios's initial "nuh uh" reaction to the kid out of context. It's entirely possible that he recognizes all these people, that they are there every night, that he's seen that same kid every night because his uncle gives him ten bucks for every autographed 8x10 he can get, and then sells them on eBay.

I really am glad I'm not famous, and don't have to deal with these things. It's hard enough just being very good looking.

Anonymous said...

While signing for the kid probably would have been the best / easiest course of action, I cannot fault Rios for declining. Sometimes after a horrific day at work, people don't feel like putting on their best face.

Also, it should be noted once again that Rios was exiting a Charity event. After that engagement concluded he probably felt as if he wanted no further work-related commitments for the day. He was with his wife & they were going home.

An athlete's salary is often trotted out as an excuse when abusing the person & holding them to some higher standard & I find that more than just a little offensive. These players are only human.

One more thing, I live in Toronto & I've read in a few places that the heckler in the video is a known autograph hound that sends kids to approach his targets.
Hard to say in this case but maybe Rios knew that.

mikepelfreyshouse said...

Wow, Poor kid. Welcome to the real world.