For the most part, all was quiet last night on the Jose Canseco heckle-and-Jekyll front. The fans at Memorial Stadium showed the Oakland slugger more respect than their Yankee Stadium brethren, which was no great feat.
Not that Canseco got off easy. As he trotted to rightfield in the first inning, a group of nine bleacher fans took off their shirts and stood in line to reveal the message, "I Love Madonna," on their chests, substituting a heart sign for the word "love."
Canseco also was booed lustily while going 2-for-5 in the A's 6-1 loss to the Orioles, but there was no repeat of Monday's incident in New York, when he engaged in an argument with a fan near the A's dugout.
His verbal sparring match occurred the same day Indians outfielder Albert Belle was suspended one week for hurling a baseball into the Cleveland Stadium stands and hitting a heckler in the chest.
The fan in New York was ejected for disorderly conduct. Canseco reportedly was upset by his racial slurs and the taunts, "Hey Jose, how's Madonna? Where's Esther?"
Canseco, who recently reconciled with his wife Esther, was seen leaving pop star Madonna's Manhattan apartment building early last Thursday, according to photos published by the New York Post.
"Another boring year," he said before last night's game, adding that the fan in New York was "just getting out of hand. On top of that, he was very close to me. I don't feel bad about what happened at all."
Heckling isn't exactly unusual in major-league parks, but commissioner Fay Vincent and American League president Bobby Brown again called on players yesterday to block out jeering from the stands.
"There's not a whole lot you can do," Orioles second baseman Bill Ripken said. "The first thing you try to do is ignore them. If you don't and they're good, they're going to get under your skin.
"The minute you do have them, you hope the heckler comes up with something original. Then you can turn around and be amused by it. But if it's stupid, it just gets you ticked off."
Other Orioles agreed, but some banter with hecklers. "I usually just turn around and ask if they want a baseball," reliever Mike Flanagan said. "They go from screaming at you to smiling at you. But you don't give them the ball."
Closer Gregg Olson said he often summons ushers to eject especially rude hecklers. He said the roughest fans are in Boston, where the bleacher creatures are fond of playing with beachballs that often land in the bullpen.
Here's his favorite (printable) anecdote.
"For my amusement, I popped all their beachballs," Olson said. "Then I got a 'hate' beachball. They all signed their names. But one guy signed his name and crossed it out. He thought I was going to find him."