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Friday, September 20
 
Oh, the bail bonds that bind father and son

By Ray Ratto
Special to ESPN.com

While we must properly sympathize with Kansas City Royals coach Tom Gamboa while he tries to piece together the events that led to his becoming a star, you have to give his two attackers this much:

Gamboa attack
William Ligue Jr., front, and his 15-year-old son rush onto the field to attack Royals first base coach Tom Gamboa.
At least it's a father and son, bonding at the ballpark the way the ads tell them to.

I mean, when mere catch in the backyard won't do, felony assault in front of 10,000 of your closest friends must be the next best thing.

Now Gamboa seems to be none the worse for wear after an evening of being punched in the head in the first-base coaches' box, for which we should be properly thankful. After all, trying to coax the semi-reluctant Royals around the bases is plenty full-time job for anyone.

But those of us in the psychology business (which is to say, we have a couch and plenty of time on our hands) can't help but wonder what Stephen Hawking and his son Skippy could have been thinking when they ran on the field seeking a victim for some good old fashioned felonious horseplay.

For one, they both had their shirts off, so they weren't killing a couple of hours away from the burdens of the University of Chicago research department --- unless, of course, they were studies.

For two, they were probably drunk beyond reason, given that they willfully attended a Royals-White Sox game.

And for three, their legal defense is likely to be "Jerry Springer and a hearty bowl of Methamphetamine Crispies made us do it.'' At least that's what they're going to have to tell Robin Roberts on tomorrow's "Good Morning Laughing Academy.''

But still ... the first base coach of the Kansas City Royals? I mean, what was the thought process here?

Now we mean no disrespect to Gamboa. Like most people in the great media conglomerate, we never spoke with the man. He is, after all, the first base coach of the Kansas City Royals, and until Thursday his story was destined to remain largely untold.

But let's be frank here. Even if your relationship to your son was essentially that of mass murderers Sante and Kenny Kines, at what point would you decide, "You know, that bastard over at first base needs a good beating''?

And even if its just the two quarts of warm Rumpleminze in the parking lot talking, at what point do you decide that nothin' sez Ozzy Ozbourne-endorsed fun like working over a first base coach?

I mean, doesn't this say volumes about how victims are picked out?

"Hey, he's just standin' there, Timmy. He's by himself. He's what, 55? He's smaller than Mike Sweeney. Let's go kick his ass.''

"But dad, what about the other players? What about the cops? What about the 10,000 witnesses?''

"Listen, son, you want to be on TV or not?''

"I love you, Dad. Geronimo-o-o-o-o!!!!''

Put another way, if you really need to lead your kid to jail and you can't come up with a more lucrative idea than beating up a guy on a ballfield WHO ISN'T EVEN CARRYING A WALLET, YOU DUMB ASSES, doesn't professional pride dictate that you make a run at pitcher Kris Wilson, who is 6-4, 225? Or at least that you do it before the Royals released Blake Stein, who was 6-7, 240?

William Ligue Jr., left, and his son can relive their moment in the spotlight behind bars.
I mean, where's your dignity, fellas? Where's your pride in the mugger's craft?

At least when that bond trader jumped Randy Myers that day at Wrigley Field, he was not only picking on a player, but a player who could and would twist a man's head off just to see the expression on his face. That guy did his time and paid his fine and had the satisfaction of telling his boys on the assembly line, "One time, I got so stupid on beer that I tried to beat up a guy who could kill me, skin me, gut me and serve me up with potatoes, two veg and an inexpensive but perky merlot. And THAT'S why I keep going to the meetings.''

These two yobbos don't even get a good story to tell their friends in the unemployment line. I mean, what's the boy going to tell his pals in five years? "Yeah, me and the old man beat up some first base coach. Don't know his name. I think he's still in baseball? Dad? Oh, he gets out of Stateville next spring.''

But let's be fair. Most families just watch TV together. They got to watch each other on TV together, when they're not arguing about whether "Oz'' accurately depicts prison life. Based, we suspect, on their first-hand experience.'

Ray Ratto is a columnist with the San Francisco Chronicle and a regular contributor to ESPN.com








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