Security at Yard stays same after attack in Chicago

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

2 fans went after coach

`we prosecute to fullest extent'

DuBose debuts

September 21, 2002|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

The Orioles played last night's series opener against the Boston Red Sox with the usual security measures in place at Camden Yards. The ugly images from Thursday's game at Comiskey Park, where two fans hopped over the railing and attacked Kansas City Royals first base coach Tom Gamboa, didn't force club officials to make any drastic changes.

Roger Hayden, the Orioles' director of ballpark operations, said the events staff held its daily meeting and made the usual preparations.

"Our feeling is this is a family atmosphere and nobody has the right to ruin someone else's night here," he said. "And if somebody does something stupid, we prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. You're going to spend at least 20-24 hours in a Baltimore City lockup, and that's quite an experience."

A father and son ran onto the field during the ninth inning of Kansas City's 2-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox and knocked Gamboa, 54, to the ground with a series of blows. A folded-up pocket knife was found at the scene.

Gamboa, an Orioles scout from 1973 to '75, escaped with scratches on his forehead after the Royals poured out of the dugout and came to his rescue.

"It was shocking," said Orioles first base coach Rick Dempsey, who was bullpen coach with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2000 when players went into the stands at Wrigley Field after being harassed by fans. Dempsey was fined and suspended.

"They picked on the nicest guy ever. Tom Gamboa wouldn't hurt a fly. That's pretty scary when a guy brings a knife with him on the field. You just never know.

"Nothing like that would ever happen in Baltimore. We've got the greatest fans. Chicago? They've been down there plenty of times. It's a rough place. I'm just glad nobody got hurt."

First baseman Jeff Conine said he tries not to worry about it, knowing that being preoccupied would affect his play.

"Obviously you get the occasional fan who likes to run on the field and parade around and slide into second base, and while they're doing that, you often wonder, what if they don't like one of us and decide to charge us?" he said. "But incidents are so few and far between, you sort of forget about it until it happens again. And then you realize it's very difficult to prevent."

Manager Mike Hargrove remembered the riot that ensued in Cleveland during 10-cent beer night in 1974. He was a first baseman with the Texas Rangers and took cover in the dugout.

"There were a lot of people on the field and none of them were very friendly," he said.

"The deal last night, that's spooky because they went out there with the idea of hurting one person. I don't think anything excuses behavior like that."

The Orioles have uniformed Baltimore City police officers on the premises rather than using a security service, "which makes a huge difference," Hayden said. "We also work very hard with our events staff to watch out for people, and we closely monitor the alcohol consumption."

But, as Dempsey pointed out, "you can't get everybody."

"There are too many people here," he said. "All you have to do is just be aware. You have those guys running down the seats with no shirts on, you know they're going on the field. It's just two who slipped away."

DuBose debuts

Eric DuBose sat nervously in the bullpen during Thursday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays, waiting for the phone to ring. DuBose sensed that he would make his major-league debut that night. He just didn't know when.

The moment arrived in the ninth inning. Added to the roster Monday, DuBose gave up a single to Josh Phelps on the first pitch he threw before striking out Jose Cruz and getting Chris Woodward to ground into a double play.

"One pitch out of the windup, and I was right into the stretch," he said. "I was just glad it was a strike."

Aberdeen GM honored

Aberdeen Ironbirds general manager Jeff Eiseman, 32, has been selected one of Baltimore's Top 40 under 40 (years of age) business figures by the Baltimore Business Journal.

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