Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Heckler Spring Training: When Athlete's Fight Back

After posting the first part in this now three-part series on heckling, I recieved a comment from Dan (hershey-squirt.com) about how his friend heckled a player and the fan spat on him. This inspired me to run around the internet and collect stories of other occasions when athlete's fought back against the fans. What I found was interesting and quite humerous on how things got out of hand.
If you do not want to be a victim of revenge, make sure you read the 10 Commandments.

Frank Francisco arrested after hitting two fans with thrown chair (Rangers at Oakland, 2004)
The Texas bench and bullpen cleared when fans were razzing the players in the bullpen and Francisco was arrested on a charge of aggravated battery after he threw a chair into the right-field box seats near the Rangers' bullpen. The chair hit a man in the head, then bounced and struck a woman on her left temple.

The rumble at Wrigley (Dodgers at Chicago, 2000)
Rowdy Cubs fans were showering the Dodgers' bullpen with beer and tried to steal catcher Chad Kreuter's cap in the ninth inning of a tight ballgame. Dodgers coaches John Shelby and Rick Dempsey joined Kreuter and a slew of other Dodgers, going into the stands down the right-field line to retaliate. The Dodgers got a close win, but nine days later, 16 players and three coaches were handed suspensions for their involvement in the melee.

Home ain't what it used to be (Astros at Milwaukee, 1999)
In the sixth inning of an Astros-Brewers game in Milwaukee, a 23-year-old fan ran onto the field and jumped Houston right fielder Bill Spiers, a former Brewer. As Spiers tried to shake him off, his teammates came to the rescue, led by Mike Hampton, who got in some nasty kicks. Spiers suffered whiplash and was bloodied and bruised. The fan was arrested and held on a $250,000 in bail on charges of battery and disorderly conduct.

Randy Myers marshals his martials (Astros at Chicago, 1995)
In the eighth inning of a wild contest between the Cubs and Astros at Wrigley, Chicago reliever Randy Myers surrendered a two-run, pinch-hit home run to James Mouton that gave Houston a 9-7 lead. As Mouton circled the bases, 27-year-old John Murray ran out of the stands and toward the mound.

"I felt the look in his eyes, that he wanted to hurt me," Myers said. "He reached for his pocket and I thought it could be for a knife or a gun, so I dropped him with a forearm."

Myers, it seems, was well-trained in the martial arts and pinned Murray to the ground until he was taken away. The reliever got big cheers from the Wrigley crowd when he exited after facing one more batter.

Albert Belle's hell: a perfect throw earns a suspension (1991)
Albert Belle, who disliked being called "Joey," was in the Cleveland Stadium outfield when Jeff Pillar yelled from the left-field stands, "Hey, Joey, keg party at my place after the game, c'mon over." In retrospect, it sounds like a friendly invitation. But at the time, it was a particularly nasty heckle, as Belle had spent much of the previous summer in an alcohol rehab program.
Belle retaliated by picking up a foul ball and throwing a perfect strike at Pillar's chest from about 15 feet away, leaving Pillar with a weltering souvenir.
This was one case when Belle had the clear support of the fans, who gave him a hearty round of applause for nailing Pillar. But Belle got a one-week suspension and a fine from the AL.

Reggie Smith, in the stands at Candlestick (Dodgers at San Francisco, 1981)
Smith, a Dodgers outfielder, had been jeered for half of the game from behind the Dodgers' dugout at Candlestick Park. His stoic stance vis-à-vis the abuse snapped in the sixth, and he went charging into the stands to take on Michael Dooley, a 6-foot-4, 218-pound Giants fan later described by his wife as a "rather mellow guy." Smith got in one good shot, but then the crowd pounded him. Other Dodgers came to the rescue, and pounded the fans back.
Smith was ultimately ejected. Eight fans were charged with misdemeanors. Dooley went to the hospital after his brief visit to jail. And almost immediately, Mrs. Dooley talked about suing.

Piersall's punch, kick and catch contest (Indians at New York, 1961)
In the first game of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium, Cleveland's Jimmy Piersall was minding his own business in center field when two fans came out of the stands in the seventh inning and tried to attack him. Piersall immediately scored a knockdown punch on one. The other, mustering all his courage, ran away as quickly as possible. But Piersall took off after him, getting not-quite-close enough to land a rough kick on the kid. No problem. By then, Piersall's teammates, Johnny Temple and Walt Bond, had arrived to land a few solid blows.
Barely missing a beat, Piersall made a spectacular catch at the fence to rob Johnny Blanchard of a two-run homer. Dig this: Yankee fans gave Piersall a huge cheer as he left the field.

Babe the "big bum" challenges all (The Polo Grounds, 1922)
The Bambino was battling a slump in late May and tried to stretch a single into a double, was thrown out, and expressed his displeasure at the call by throwing dirt in the umpire's eye. The ump responded by tossing the Babe. Episode over? Not even close.
The New York fans booed and hissed as the Babe exited the field, pausing only to take a theatrical bow. Then, as Robert Creamer recounts in "Babe," a heckler behind the dugout shouted, "You god damned big bum, why don't you play ball?" Ruth immediately jumped onto the dugout roof and into the stands, chased the heckler until he was too far out of reach, then returned to the dugout roof.
Ruth got a brief suspension and a $200 fine for the episode.

Ty Cobb bloodies "Otto Blotz" (Tigers at Yankees, 1912)
A couple of days worth of heckling by Yankees fans finally got to Cobb at the old Yankee home, Hilltop Park. Cobb vaulted into the stands behind the Tigers' bench and went right after a man identified, pseudonymously, as "Otto Blotz." The Peach pummeled Mr. Blotz, who couldn't fight back with his fists -- he only had one hand, and that hand had only two digits.
Cobb was suspended, and probably for the first time in his career was backed by his teammates. They went on strike, vowing not to return until he was reinstated. After a team of replacement Tigers lost 24-2, Cobb told his teammates thanks, but no thanks. The "real" Tigers returned to the field, and Cobb was back a week later. No word on the ultimate fate of Blotz.


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BallHype: hype it up! Posted by Steve Kenul at 5:48 PM


  • Blogger star8278 posted at 12:35 PM  
    Welcome to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area. Can't wait to see the AAA Yankee's in action.
  • Anonymous dan posted at 8:46 PM  
    Other way around :)

    He was heckling the player, and the player turned and spit on my brother and his friend which was seen by the entire skydome on big screen rofl

    thx for the mention!
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