Sports fans can be ruthless, but for San Diego Padres outfielder Tommy Pham, some have crossed a line this season.
Pham, 33, told The San Diego Union-Tribune in an article published Tuesday that fans -- even at Petco Park where the Padres play -- have been "very disrespectful" toward him, often targeting him about an incident last October when he was stabbed in his lower back outside a strip club in California.
"Fans have been very disrespectful this year," he said. "I actually saw a fan who was talking (trash) to me. I saw him outside the stadium. I said, ‘What’s up? You still want to talk that (trash)?’ He went completely blank. That just shows you people feel entitled."
But Pham says the trash-talking isn’t just limited to the ballpark.
"Today, social media kind of makes it worse," he said. "Some fans think they’re better baseball players than me, I guess."
Pham was attacked outside the club on Oct. 11 after a fight that he wasn’t involved in broke out near his car. He required surgery for his injuries, but now he’s looking for Major League Baseball to do something about the hecklers.
"I need to talk to MLB," he said. "The vulgarity this year, the gestures, I’ve never seen it at this level. I want to know if this is just because fans have been gone for a year and now they’re back and acting a certain way. That (stuff) shouldn’t be tolerated."
MLB provided a statement to the Union-Tribune on Tuesday addressing Pham’s concerns.
"Preserving the safety of our on-field personnel and our fans is essential to us," MLB said. "We will continue to devote resources to emphasizing and enforcing the applicable laws and codes of conduct and providing an enjoyable experience at our ballparks."
Pham struggled to start off his second year with the Padres, but he’s rebounded well, currently hitting .242 with a .735 OPS and five homers this season.