Sports fans can be very passionate, sometimes taking their excitement out of the sidelines and onto the field. From streaking for a cause to creating total chaos, here are some of the most memorable fan interferences in sports.
The Fan Who Wanted a Hug
Spectators were surprised and enchanted when a young boy ran onto the court during a 2016 New York Knicks versus New Orleans Pelicans game. The child entered the game and hugged Carmelo Anthony before being escorted out.
"It was a little kid," Anthony said when talking about his friendly response to the little intruder. "I was shocked. I didn't really know who was it until I actually looked over and saw that it was a kid." The athlete added that, however adorable, the event was "Definitely a security issue."
It Takes a Village
Drama ensued when a fan interrupted this play at the 2018 American League Championship game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros. Boston's Mookie Betts tried catching a ball hit by Jose Altuve, but he wasn't the only one giving it a go. "I was pretty positive that ball was going in my glove," Betts said.
"But as I jumped and went over, reached my hand up, I felt somebody was kind of pushing my glove out the way or something," he continued. While Altuve momentarily thought he was safe, umpires ruled him out via fan interference. Maybe this Astros supporter accidentally did the Sox a favor!
Chaos at the FIFA World Cup
At the 2018 FIFA World Cup European Qualification, one viewer decided he was ready to stretch his legs after some time watching the game. The enthusiastic fellow ran onto the field during the match between Slovenia and England at London's Wembley Stadium.
We're not so sure the queen of England would approve of such naughty behavior! The intruder wasn't wearing the proper cleats, but that didn't stop him from making his way around the confused players. The athletes patiently waited while security got a hold of the situation. Good chance to catch their breath!
Running Her Sox Off
This fan didn't seem intimidated by the security guard chasing her around the baseball field. The excitement occurred during game three of a three-game series at Fenway Park between the Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays. The interruption didn't last very long as security soon caught up with the woman.
But we'll likely see more Sox lovers interrupt games in the future, as these dedicated fans sneak their way onto the field quite often. Even at an audience-less match during the pandemic, a Boston resident surpassed security and climbed the Green Monster wall.
James "Fan Man" Miller
This interruption went down in the history books, and it's not hard to see why. In 1993, James "Fan Man" Miller crashed ringside during the Riddick Bowe versus Evander Holyfield World Heavyweight Title Fight in Las Vegas. It takes guts to parachute into a professional boxing match.
"I see this guy come crashing into the ropes, book," Evander said. "When he did that, the look on my face had Riddick turning around, looking." Bowe recalled the moment, saying, "I thought he'd [Holyfield] seen King Kong." The famous intruder was later hilariously recreated as a character on The Simpsons.
A Confederations Cup Intruder
While it might not be the final stage of the famous championship tournament, the FIFA Confederations Cup is undoubtedly an important event. So it might be surprising that a daring spectator was able to make his way past security guards and onto the field.
The man, wearing a black shirt, sweatpants, and a hat that flew off during the mayhem, interrupted the 2005 semi-finals between Germany and Brazil. He invaded the pitch in the game's seventh minute carrying a flag, which fell off its pole after a struggle with one of Brazil's players. Brazil ultimately won the match 3 to 2.
It's a bird... It's a plane... It's... a soccer fan dressed up in a cow suit running onto the field. We've never seen a cow sprint so fast! The hilarious interference happened during the second half of the inaugural game at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas.
Sporting Kansas City was playing a match against Chicago Fire FC during the 2011 Major League Soccer season. The game turned out to be entertaining in more ways than the fans and players expected. We're sure viewers were MOO-ved by the young man's enthusiasm.
Disco Demolition Night
Over forty years after the 1979 event in Chicago's Comiskey Park, Disco Demolition Night is still one of the more controversial events in pop and sports history. Steve Dahl was a radio DJ who hated disco and worked out a promotion with the White Sox that served as an anti-disco publicity stunt.
People could show up at Comiskey Park on July 12 with a disco record and get into the Sox versus Tigers game for 98 cents. The plan? Fill a dumpster with the records and blow them up. But after the stunt took place during intermission, the second match of the doubleheader was called off because of fans ruining field conditions.
While some sports fan interferences can be incredibly hilarious, they can sometimes get a team into some serious trouble. That's exactly what happened after a series of pitch invasions took place during the 2018 Premier League match between West Ham United and Burnley at London Stadium.
The man above, who grabbed a corner flag during his escapade, was one of multiple West Ham fans who ran onto the field during the game. The incidents led to an investigation of the team by the Football Association, who said they "strongly condemn" the crowd disturbances.
A Legendary Rivalry
Fans of college football might be familiar with the rivalry between Cal and Stanford. The competition was so intense that the Stanford Tree, the school's mascot, once received protection from undergraduates who made up the "Tree Protection Gangstaz."
Why was such a group necessary? Well, because of a years-long tradition of Cal students trying to destroy or steal the mascot costume. Above is a picture of one of the many football fans who attempted the task. The intruder had to deal with law enforcement after trying to attack the Stanford Tree.
Watching hands-on spectators try to catch the ball during a baseball game is hardly surprising, but these viewers' attempts took an unexpected twist. The incident occurred during game two of the 2001 Major League Baseball World Series, which garners millions of viewers every year.
Fans tried grabbing a foul ball during the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees game at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix, Arizona. But it looks like they were a little too enthusiastic, as the people lost their balance and fell onto the field. Oops!
When One Thing Leads To Another
This famous sports interruption might be a classic case of one thing leading to another until suddenly, everything seems out of control! It might not have happened during the game, but this on-field riot made enough headlines to be included on this list.
Hibernian fans invaded the pitch after the Hibernian FC's versus Rangers FC game at the 2017 William Hill Scottish Cup Final. Their team won 3-2, and the excited soccer lovers took to the field to celebrate. Sadly, fights and destruction ensued, as people broke goal posts and damaged the grass.
10 Cent Night
This night might be forever remembered as one of the craziest Major League Baseball events ever. To gather larger crowds, the Cleveland Municipal Stadium planned a special promotion on June 4, 1974: game-attendees could buy drinks for 10 cents all night.
What followed was a wild match filled with interruptions as the Texas Rangers, and Cleveland Indians battled it out on the field. In fact, so many people invaded the game that the Rangers were awarded a win by forfeit when the umpires called the whole thing off.
A Sporting Ban Didn't Stop Her
Kinsey Wolanski was already banned from major sporting events after invading the 2014 World Cup. But the notorious streaker somehow managed to pull yet another stunt at the 2019 UEFA Champions League Final in Madrid between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool.
The daredevil ran onto the field wearing a one-piece with Vitality Uncensored written across her chest, as the whole affair was a marketing scheme for the adult website."STREAKING THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE! Life is for living, do crazy things that you will remember forever," Kinsey wrote on Instagram afterward.
The Trickster in Disguise
This Italian player was probably confused when he turned to find an unrecognizable teammate standing beside him. Luckily, the security guards' arrival brought clarity to the perplexing situation. This intruder might take home the prize for "Most Effort," as he ran onto the pitch wearing the hometeam's uniform.
During the Serie A match between FC Internazionale Milano and SS Lazio at San Siro Stadium in 2014, a fan dressed in a Milano uniform, interrupted the game. And he was not a quitter - it took one man tackling him and two leading him out to resume the game!
Making New Friends
While some intruders get chased off the field, others get the chance to form new friendships. We're only joking, but it did seem like a bromance might bloom when this sports lover ran onto the field and had a short chat with Slovenian soccer star Kevin Kampl.
The friendly interaction happened during the third qualifying round, first leg match between Wolfsberg and Borussia Dortmund at the 2015 UEFA Europa League. Kampl dealt with the eager supporter, who was then escorted out. That's some legendary sportsmanship.
Baseball viewers don't exactly expect a partially-clad man to run across the screen during a World Series game. So imagine the surprise when that exact situation happened during the 2017 Houston Astros versus Los Angeles Dodgers match in Houston, Texas.
Security soon took down the patriotic streaker, who was sporting trunks with the U.S.A. flag printed and matching socks. But while it provided some momentary laughs (and annoyances), the Astro cheating scandal that erupted years later overshadowed this fan's time in the spotlight.
It's no secret that South American soccer lovers are some of the most passionate in the world, and this Brazilian fan took things to the next level with his dedication to the sport. The supporter scored an impressive goal, except he threw his whole body rather than the ball!
The interruption was a hilarious TV moment, although undoubtedly, some viewers were annoyed. After all, the full-body goal happened during the 2005 Confederations Cup match between Japan and Brazil. The game was intense and ended in a 2-2 tie (not counting the shot pictured above).
Italians are famous for many things, including their delicious food, but perhaps they should also get more recognition for their soccer fans' mischievousness. This supporter interrupted a 2014 Serie A match between AC Milan and FC Internazionale Milano at Stadio Guiseppe Meazza in Milan.
This naughty fan wasn't the only intruder to successfully make it onto the field during the tournament, but his exit out of the stadium was one for the books. The lucky guy was partly escorted out by two of the players. Talk about 15 minutes of fame!
Snowball Fight, Anyone?
Philly residents have a unique way of getting in on the sports action: it seems some of them love to throw snow at the opposing team! Below, Philadelphia Eagles fans are seen throwing snowballs during a 2009 game against the San Francisco 49ers in Pennsylvania.
The team's supporters have a long history of engaging in the activity. In 1989, they threw snow at Cowboys players, referees, and broadcasters. 20 Years earlier, Philly residents infamously snow-attacked Santa Claus during the Eagles' annual Christmas show.
A Happy Ending
Baseball aficionados might already know of the legendary Steve Bartman: the man who reached for a foul ball at Wrigley Field and was partially blamed for the Chicago Cubs' continued championship drought. Bartman was never again seen in the stadium after the 2003 incident.
That is until 2016 when the Cubs awarded him a World Series ring after their victory. "Although I do not consider myself worthy of such an honor, I am deeply moved and sincerely grateful," Bartman said. He added that he was "relieved and hopeful that the saga of the 2003 foul ball incident... is finally over."
A Soccer Game Turned Karate Match
If someone is planning on interrupting an important athletic match, they should probably consider that they're about to come face-to-face with some very fit players. When a pitch invader disrupted the Dutch Cup match between Ajax and AZ Alkmaar, a fight followed.
Goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado Brown of AZ Alkmaar retaliated after the Ajax supporter attacked him, and the soccer match turned into a karate competition real quick. When the referee gave the player a red card for his reaction, the Alkmaar team left the field in protest.
The Super Bowl LV Intruder
With just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers leading the Kansas City Chiefs 31 to 9, Yuri Andrade made his way onto the Super Bowl LV field. The event was a publicity stunt for Vitality Uncensored and a way for Andrade to get rich fast.
Unfortunately for the pink-suited streaker, things didn't turn out how he hoped. Yuri and his friends reportedly betted money with an offshore sportsbook that someone would get on the field during the game. The company, Bovada, is now voiding any wagers made by Andrade and others involved in the stunt.
"An Angel in the Outfield"
October 9, 1996, was an important day in Yankees' history. During Game 1 of the American League Championship against the Baltimore Orioles, Jeffrey Maier deflected a batted ball that resulted in a home run for the Yankees after the umpires controversially ruled it wasn't a fan interference.
Maier became a New York hero, with newspaper headlines calling him "An angel in the outfield." "It's pretty unbelievable. I didn't think it would ever happen to me," the delighted 12-year-old said at the time. "I feel like, just like, something amazing has happened. I can't really think of much else to say."
A High-Tech Invasion
This interference makes it on the list for its uniqueness. Featuring a flying drone over the field, this might seem more like something out of a futuristic book than a European soccer match. A flag with Albanian national symbols attached to the remotely operated device flew over a UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying game in 2014.
Playing on the field was Serbia and, as expected, Albania. Things took a tragic turn as the drone, which entered the stadium late in the first half, caused a brawl between players and fans. Match officials abandoned the qualifier as things became too chaotic to continue.
The Kenilworth Road Riot
Over three decades later, the events that transpired during the 1985 soccer match between Millwall and Luton are remembered as the "Kenilworth Road Riot." Millwall fans arrived in Luton and overcrowded Kenilworth Road until the action moved into the stadium.
"After about 15 minutes, fans started climbing over barriers and on to the pitch. The referee stopped play, the players came off, and it all started. There were 31 police officers injured," recalled Luton supporter Nick Owen. The riot that ensued is often referred to as one of the most shameful nights in soccer history.
Keeping a Sweet Promise
In 2014, Katrina Torres ran onto the field in Honolulu's Aloha Stadium. The young woman interrupted the 2014 Pro Bowl, and she reportedly did it for a sweet reason. "I did it for my cousin Gary," Katrina said. "He lives back home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and it was always his dream to come with me to the Pro Bowl one year."
"He got into a motorcycle accident about two years ago, which left him unable to walk," Torres continued. "Since he can't walk, I made a promise to him that I would run across the field in honor of him. I just wanted to make him happy knowing that he would be watching back home."
Europe's Wildest Derby
Games between Greek soccer teams Olympiakos and Panathinaikos are often referred to as the 'Derby of Eternal Enemies,' referring to the fierce rivalry between them. During a 2014 Greek Super League Football game, the competition went to the next level.
It started with a flare thrown by an Olympiakos supporter at Barcus Berg, an opposing team member. Soon, fans from both sides were throwing flares, fireworks, and seats over the dividing fence. Riot police were brought in to regain control after this significant interruption.
A Yankees Interception
In another case of fervent baseball fans, this young man intercepted a ball hit by the New York Yankees' Alex Rodrigues as the Baltimore Orioles' Adam Jones tried to catch it. Jones lost the play, but it surprisingly went unchallenged by his coach, Buck Showalter.
"It never would have been called, especially in New York," Showalter explained after the 2015 game at the Yankee stadium. "I don't know why when they build these stadiums, they don't have some quality control... I wonder why they don't have a mandatory distance there between the fence and the [fans]."
A Lifetime Ban
It looks like rugby fans are not exempt from getting overtaken by athletic passions. This man was rewarded with a lifetime ban from the ABSA Kings Park Stadium in Durban, South Africa, after his on-field stunt. What was the damage done by the happy-looking fellow?
He planted a Springbok flag under the New Zealand goalposts during the All Blacks versus Springboks Tri-Nations rugby match. Unfortunately for him, it looks like the intruder won't be returning anytime soon, and his team lost despite the intense support.