Fenway flare-up being probed

Red Sox, MLB investigating run-in between Yankee, fan

The Sheffield Incident

April 16, 2005|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

Major League Baseball and the Boston Red Sox are investigating the altercation between a fan and New York Yankees outfielder Gary Sheffield in the eighth inning of the Red Sox's 8-5 win over the Yankees at Fenway Park on Thursday night.

Sheffield was fielding Jason Varitek's two-run triple down the right-field line when a fan reached over the wall and apparently hit the outfielder in the face. Sheffield pushed the fan before throwing the ball back to the infield. He then confronted the fan before a security guard got between them. The fan was ejected from the ballpark but not arrested.

Sheffield met with baseball security chief Kevin Hallinan in the visiting clubhouse at Camden Yards before last night's Orioles-Yankees game. The player said he has been advised by Major League Baseball, his agent and the Yankees to not "say anything else" about the matter. Yankees manager Joe Torre said he doesn't expect Sheffield to be suspended.

"Obviously it's a hot topic," Sheffield said before last night's game. "But that's about it as far as I'm concerned. Everything happened so fast. We're on to the next series. All I am thinking about is [the Orioles] beat us two out of three last time. We have to try to reverse that."

With the Yankees in town for the opener of a three-game series, more security was present at Camden Yards. But that's standard practice when the Orioles host the Yankees or Philadelphia Phillies, said Roger Hayden, the director of ballpark operations.

"The [incident in Boston] hasn't done anything to change our program, but what we do throughout Major League Baseball is we are always in contact with one another about incidents and about how we can best handle something when it happens," Hayden said.

Asked what would happen at Camden Yards if a fan makes contact with a player during play, Hayden said, "We'd arrest him and we'd press charges."

Sheffield was jeered throughout the game, and one fan brought a sign that said, "Don't hit me Sheffield." The outfielder, who was second in the American League Most Valuable Player balloting in his first season as a Yankee last year, seemed intent on moving on.

He saw the play on tape for the first time yesterday morning and said he doesn't know what he could have done differently.

"You try to represent your game the right way and be a professional on the field, and you hope the fans do the same," Sheffield said. "I didn't know all that took place in that short period of time. You've got to look at the tape. You have to pass your own judgment. I can't sit here and try to convince you one way or another. I can only go out there and try to play a baseball game, and hopefully nothing happens."

Yankees manager Joe Torre complimented Sheffield for showing restraint and credited Steven Chin, the 23-year-old security guard who jumped in quickly and got between Sheffield and the fan.

"Fans have to know this is unacceptable," Torre said. "I thought Gary - after having our security meeting in spring training - exercised pretty much what was suggested to us. I thought he [showed restraint]. But the fans have to be made aware that somebody can get hurt. It's just a frightening thing."

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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