Red Sox fan in scuffle with Sheffield loses season tickets for 2005

Updated: April 19, 2005, 8:35 PM ET
Associated Press

BOSTON -- New York outfielder Gary Sheffield isn't sure whether he wants to press charges against two fans who were involved in a scuffle with him during a game last week at Fenway Park. Boston police already have made up their minds to do just that.

Sheffield met Tuesday with officials from the baseball commissioner's office, and Boston police filed applications for misdemeanor criminal charges against the two fans -- one allegedly made contact with the outfielder as he attempted to get the ball near the right-field wall and the other tossed a beer at him.

A decision on possible discipline by the commissioner's office against Sheffield was not expected until Wednesday at the earlier.

Police asked a clerk magistrate to decide whether a disorderly conduct charge is warranted against the fans, according to Officer John Boyle, a department spokesman.

Boyle wouldn't identify the two fans, but Red Sox officials have revoked season tickets from Christopher House, a Bostonian who appeared to make contact with Sheffield while he was chasing down a ball in the right-field corner of Fenway Park.

The team also banned a fan who spilled beer on Sheffield from buying tickets this season. The Red Sox did not release the fan's name.

The charge, being a disorderly person and disturbing a public assembly, is a misdemeanor.

"I just want to see it played out first. I'm not going to make any judgments first," Sheffield said in New York after meeting with Bob Watson, baseball's vice president in charge of discipline, an attorney for Major League Baseball, Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost and Sheffield's agent, Rufus Williams.

The meeting lasted 20 minutes and the men watched the replay about five times.

"(They asked) What was my reaction? What was I thinking? And I told them what I was thinking," Sheffield said.

He credited a meeting in spring training where players were told how to react in certain situations -- with an emphasis on avoiding interactions with fans.

"It was more emphasized after the NBA," he said, referring to the brawl between Detroit Pistons fans and members of the Indiana Pacers on Nov. 19.

Sheffield was satisfied that baseball understood "that I listened to the meeting we had in spring training and I set the example for others."

It wasn't immediately clear whether court officials at Boston Municipal Court have scheduled a date for a hearing for House and the other fan. If a clerk magistrate decides that criminal charges are warranted, the two fans would appear before a judge.

House, in a statement issued Monday through his attorney, David T. Norton, said he had "no intention" of striking Sheffield and that he does not believe he made contact with the outfielder. Sheffield said he was hit in the face.

A message left at Norton's office was not returned Tuesday.

Of House's statement, Sheffield said: "He has the right to feel the way he feels and I have the tight to feel the way I feel."

On the play in question last Thursday, Sheffield was running along the 3-foot high right-field fence, chasing a hit by Boston's Jason Varitek, when House reached over it with a sweeping motion and appeared to make contact with the player.

Sheffield picked up the ball, made a shoving motion toward House, then threw the ball to the infield. He then turned toward House but did not touch him. A security guard jumped over the wall and stood between House and Sheffield.

Sheffield said the first time he saw the beer thrown was at Tuesday's meeting. He did not think the team's discipline against the alleged beer-thrower was sufficient.

"He'll just have his friend go buy (tickets). I don't think it's stiff enough," he said.


Associated Press Writers Michael Kunzelman and Howie Rumberg contributed to this report.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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