Imagine a banana hurtling through the air in slow motion, end over end, toward a black baseball player from a visiting team inside a major league baseball stadium.
This happened in San Francisco’s AT&T Park on Aug. 11 and Baltimore Orioles All-Star center-fielder Adam Jones was rightly pissed off. The Giants were embarrassed and apologetic and the fruit launcher, according to an interview he gave to the San Jose Mercury News, was in shock, claiming he was merely frustrated at the Giants and not a racist.
"In hindsight, I wish I didn't do it and I apologize,” Alexander Poulides, of Northern California, told the paper after he realized his banana was big news in the bay area.
This didn’t happen in Philly, (thank god) where Poulides’s explanation (where do you find a banana at a ball game?) would have been more closely scrutinized and forever etched in the annals of our bad behavior. No one pressed any charges against him in California, though. The Giants have moved on, a spokeswoman told me.
If you’re not convinced that all news – the important stuff, the insignificant tidbits, and the plain, old strange items that settle in your brain for days – have connections to Delco and Jersey, let’s travel 2,963 miles from San Francisco with Poulides to Morey’s Surfside Pier in North Wildwood.
On Saturday, police in North Wildwood got a report of a disorderly person arguing with a Morey’s Piers employee there at 9:28 p.m. It was Poulides, here at the Jersey Shore, though he allegedly lied about his identity when police first confronted him.
It turns out that Poulides, who police said lives in Willits, Calif., grew up in Delaware County and still has family here, and was visiting the area when he decided to go to the shore, police said. Poulides, 37, clearly understands what hindsight is, he said so himself, but he apparently knows nothing about foresight.
North Wildwood police say Poulides was a fugitive in Pennsylvania on retail theft and drug charges out of Upper Darby. He also had outstanding warrants from Sea Isle City and Ventnor, police said. According to news outlets in California, he was arrested in 2012 there for driving under the influence and again in April for “suspicion of drunk driving.”
He’s currently in the Cape May County Correctional Facility, also facing a hindering apprehension charge.
When I contacted Poulides’s family here, they assumed I was calling about the banana. A male relative, who declined to give his name, said Poulides was just “drinking and having fun” at the ballpark last month, all bent out of shape that the Orioles were mopping up the Giants when he threw the banana toward the end of the game.
When asked about the recent arrest, the man said he believed the warrants were old. He described Poulides as “rambunctious.”
Poulides told the San Jose Mercury News he found the banana on a catering cart, something his relative said isn’t hard to believe if you understand the Northern California lifestyle.
“They don’t like hot dogs and cheesesteaks,” the man said.
Jones hit a three-run home run in the ninth inning off Barry Zito, just a few minutes before the banana landed.