Identity is a major influencer in our lives. People identify with their in-group and exclude the out-group.
You’ve probably heard of Jane Elliott’s experiment with school children. In the 1960s, she instructed her students to treat other kids differently based on their eye color. The moment the in-groups and out-groups was defined, the kids treated their friends completely different.
Sport teams define identity for many people. Players and fans both identify themselves with “my team.” When a baseball player is traded, they’re suddenly “on the outs.” Team supporters no longer care for that player.
More than just support, however, in-groups are willing to injure a member of an out-group as punishment for the entire group. Check out this clip:
The baseball fans I’ve spoken with suggest that the pitcher should intentionally ‘bean’ or ‘plunk’ the next batter in response to that bat flip.
“[The pitcher] needs to be clear that it was a direct result of the bat flipper guy. That way his teammates get pissed off at [the batter] when he feels the need to do it. Cause they know he was the reason [the next batter] got plunked…not the pitcher’s fault.”
If inflicting injury is the encouraged response in a game, what’s the appropriate response in a more important venue?