Field intruders usually are dealt with by the police before being ejected from the ballpark for a given incident. Law enforcement officials decide whether those fans should face criminal charges.
Clubs may separately penalize field intruders by banning them from their ballparks.
On top of that, the commissioner’s office reviews all such incidents and might impose further penalties on field intruders, up to and including a lifetime ban from all MLB ballparks and facilities.
Monday’s situation appeared to be somewhat unprecedented: Usually, fans parade around the outfield for show. This time, they sought Acuña and made contact with him.
“I was a little scared at first, but I think the fans were out there and asking for a picture,” Acuña said after the game, through interpreter Franco García. “Security was able to get there, and so I think everything’s OK, everyone’s OK.”
Added Braves manager Brian Snitker: “You don’t want to see that happen, I know that, because you don’t know what those people, what they can do when they come out there. So it’s a scary situation.”
The consensus among the Braves seemed to be that while the fans didn’t have harmful intentions, their actions still were inappropriate and dangerous.
“I don’t think they had any ill intentions,” said Kevin Pillar, who was warming up in left field when the incident occurred. “I think that was pretty evident early on. Still, I mean, we have these rules and regulations in place. We’re supposed to feel safe on the field. Thankfully, they weren’t there to do any harm. You just never know during those situations what people’s intentions are. Luckily, they were just extreme fans of Ronnie and wanted to get a picture or put their hands on him. But in no way is it appropriate for people to leave the stands, even more to put their hands on someone else. You don’t ever really expect it.”