Let's go on a trip back in time to the year 2002. It was the month of October and while people all over the country were falling in love with Good Charlotte's "Young and the Restless" and flocking to local theaters to see "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," there were new cultural phenomenons taking place in southern California. The Los Angeles Angels were on their way to winning the World Series, and introducing us all to the Rally Monkey and the Thunderstick in the process.
In my entire life as a baseball fan I have never seen fans do anything more annoying than bang those two inflated sticks together repeatedly for hours. Joe Morgan and Tim McCarver included. It was a plague that had been unleashed on the sport -- in 2005 they were handing them out at White Sox playoff games -- and thankfully they've since died out. For one man in Los Angeles, though, they didn't die out soon enough.
Back in 2004 when the Angels and Red Sox were facing each other in the playoffs, then 29-year old Daniel Slama was in attendance at a game rooting for his Angels. He also took the time to make sure he chanted "Boston sucks" repeatedly, which is fine, but he then made a fatal mistake. He hit a Red Sox fan in the head with a thunderstick.
A Red Sox fan who assaulted an Angels fan after he was bopped on the head with a balloon "thunderstick" following a 2004 playoff game was convicted Wednesday of battery causing serious injury.
David Hackman, 37, a former deputy sheriff in San Benito County, showed no emotion when the verdict was read after four hours of deliberations. His parents held hands silently in the courtroom.
Deputy District Attorney Israel Claustro told the jury that Hackman launched an "intentional, vicious" attack when he grabbed Slama by the neck and shoulder, threw him down stairs, and followed up by kicking the victim when he was on the ground.
Which seems like an appropriate response, it's just that unfortunately for Hackman, Slama suffered a concussion and two broken vertebrae from the attack. Now Hackman is facing up to three years in prison, but I'm guessing it was all worth it after the Sawx finally won the World Series later that month.