Unruly crowd gives Yankees another chance to run over Red Sox 'Last out' replayed after fan's trespass

September 19, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- After 10 tries in two days, the rowdy Yankees fans finally got it right.

What most observers considered to be inevitable happened here yesterday, when a spectator running onto the field directly affected the outcome of a game. Actually, there were two trespassers, but it was an unidentified youngster who came out of the third-base stands who prompted umpire Tim Welke to call time out just before Mike Stanley hit a fly ball to left field for what should have been the third out.

Given the extension, Stanley singled through the left side as the Yankees rallied for three runs and a pulsating 4-3 win over the Boston Red Sox. Don Mattingly provided the game winner with a single to right after Wade Boggs had driven in a run with an infield hit and Dion James drew a walk on a 3-and-2 pitch.

Red Sox general manager Lou Gorman said he would file a protest with American League president Bobby Brown. "Originally, I thought we had to protest right away," Gorman said. But if it involves the last play of the game, you have until noon the next day. The league rules stipulate that the home team has to control the crowd."

The Red Sox's appeal, however, undoubtedly will be denied. Even though Stanley's fly ball would have been the final out, it wasn't. The game continued, and Mattingly's game-winning hit constituted the final play.

The Red Sox were particularly incensed because the incident was hardly isolated. "After what went on last night . . . it's not like there was only one fan on the field," said manager Butch Hobson, who nevertheless remained relatively calm.

"We had a thousand chances to put the game away," Hobson said.

Harris had retired the first two batters before setting up the weird ending by hitting Mike Gallego with a pitch. That's when Stanley, batting for Randy Velarde, hit a routine fly to left on a 1-and-1 pitch.

"I saw the fan and some security people come out of the stands, and I called time right away," Welke said. "Time was called before Harris began his windup, but he couldn't hear me.

"You try to be as loud and as demonstrative as possible, but I was just doing my job. You can't wait to see if the guy is going to make an out. If he [Stanley] had hit a home run, it wouldn't have counted either.

"It's a shame something like that has to happen -- it detracts from a very good baseball game," said Welke, who said the only preventive measure he can suggest is strict punishment. "That person should spend the night in jail and be given a heavy fine -- and that's something [the punishment] that needs to be printed."

The Yankees reacted to their improbable victory as though they had just taken over first place, rather than merely catching another breath. "A lot of negative things have happened that have caused people to say it isn't meant to be," said Stanley, who said he saw the fan out of the corner of his eye. "This is !! something positive, so maybe it is meant to be."

Mattingly was worried more about getting a good pitch to hit than he was about what fate had in store. "I just didn't want to swing at a bad pitch," he said.

For Yankees manager Buck Showalter it was especially rewarding that Mattingly was meant to be the hitter with the game on the line. "When Donnie came up to hit . . . it's tough to reflect on what that was like . . . for him to hit in that situation was really special," Showalter said.

The night before, when an unruly mob produced enough trespassers to field a team, Showalter indicated his

distaste for the actions.

He wasn't ready, however, to concede that the fan had decided the outcome. "Mike said he saw the fan, so it had to affect his concentration -- maybe he would've hit a home run and tied it right there," Showalter said.

For the Red Sox, the experience proved once again how tough the last out can be. Especially when it's the 28th of the game.

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