Today's embarrassing controversy: Dinger-gate

Four different people whom I follow on Twitter independently compared this mix-up to something you’d see on a Larry David sitcom.

Agreed, although it’s more “Curb Your Enthusiasm” than “Seinfeld.”

Yesterday afternoon the Colorado Rockies made a shocking announcement:

My goodness. You don’t hear ugliness like that around the ballpark anymore. It was newsy enough that the Times even filed a story on it. Although … it seemed strange that the team didn’t immediately identify the culprit. Everyone around him would have been shocked to hear a racial slur yelled at a player. Presumably security would have been called right away.

Unless he was sitting in a section full of racists. Maybe the Rockies have a real problem here.

Or maybe people are imbeciles.

Here’s what happened:

There’s a black player at the plate and someone’s clearly yelling a word with the letter “N” in it that ends in “ger.” Was he yelling that word?

He was not. He was yelling “Dinger,” a term commonly heard at major-league ballparks since it’s slang for “home run” and very commonly heard at Coors Field, the Rockies’ home park. And not just because the altitude means lots of homers end up being hit there.

Meet “Dinger”:

They named the mascot Dinger. Care to guess where Dinger was when the mysterious “slur” was yelled?

He was in the stands, not far away from the fan down the first-base line. The guy was obviously trying to call him over. Which, just as obviously, explains why no one around him batted an eye after he started yelling. Everyone in the vicinity presumably clearly heard “Dinger.” But it wasn’t as clear in the TV audio, probably due to the distance between the fan and the mic that picked up his words.

Local reporter Steve Staeger confirmed today with the team that, uh, yeah, the guy was yelling “Dinger.” But because this is now a social-media outrage and social media is populated by vindictive sanctimonious subhumans, the fan doesn’t want his name out there:

Doesn’t matter that the team, Staeger, and everyone who was around the guy will vouch for him. Some people heard what they wanted to hear and a few may try to punish him over it. Which makes this more of a “Black Mirror” episode than a Larry David sketch. Exit question: Will the Times retract its story?