OAKLAND, Calif. -- The woman whose nose was broken when
Texas reliever Frank Francisco threw a chair into the stands said
Wednesday she plans to seek compensation for her injuries once
prosecutors and baseball officials complete their investigation.
Francisco, who made his initial appearance in court Wednesday
after police booked him on a charge of felony aggravated assault,
also may file a civil suit, his attorney said.
Meanwhile, Alameda County Assistant District Attorney Norbert
Chu said he needed more time to investigate before deciding whether
to formally charge Francisco in the fracas. "As of right now,
charges have not been filed. The case is still under
investigation," Chu said.
Jennifer Bueno, 41, appeared with her husband, Craig, at a news
conference with a large white bandage covering her nose and purple
rings under her eyes.
"We definitely feel the Texas Rangers are responsible for this
and that they should pay for this," personal injury lawyer Gary
Francisco showed up 20 minutes early for his initial court
appearance, trying to avoid photographers by holding his head in
his hands as he sat in the hallway. He talked quietly with his
agent, Richard Thompson, and a friend, Ray Ramirez, and made no
comment to reporters before entering the courtroom. His next
appearance was set for Oct. 29.
During Texas' 7-6, 10-inning loss to Oakland on Monday,
Francisco threw a chair into the right-field box seats and hit two
spectators in the head.
Craig Bueno acknowledged that, before the fracas, he was part of
some "bantering" with the Rangers that included such taunts as
"Who is going to take the loss?" and "When are you going to
lose?" but "no swear words."
"It's an American tradition," the 42-year-old fire battalion
chief said of his heckling, adding that he and his wife bought
season tickets near the visitors' bullpen just "so we can get on
them a little bit." He said he had never been ejected from a game
for being overly aggressive or rude toward players.
"It's part of going to the baseball game," said Jennifer
Bueno, a homemaker who cares for the couple's three teenage sons.
"I don't think (Craig) did anything wrong."
Craig Bueno said that when "a sea of blue" Rangers led by
reliever Doug Brocail approached their seats, he "took a defensive
position" by standing in front of his wife to shield her, but
ducked when he saw the chair winging his way. Jennifer Bueno said
she doesn't remember being struck, but that she was "fearful for
my life" when the confrontation turned ugly.
She said "it would be a little while" before she attends A's
Francisco's attorney, Rick Minkoff, gave a dramatically
different account of what happened. He said Francisco rushed out of
the dugout to defend his teammates, and was pushed up against a
fence in the crush of fans and players.
"He was grabbed, hard and forcefully, on his left wrist. He
didn't see who did it. Fortunately, it's not his pitching hand, and
he was able to get free," Minkoff said outside court.
Minkoff said the fans are to blame, and that Francisco may sue
in civil court. He wouldn't comment on who the targets might be.
The Athletics and the Rangers also disagreed over who was to
blame for the altercation. David Rinetti, A's vice president of
stadium operations, said Tuesday a review showed the fans' behavior
wasn't over the line according to baseball's rules of conduct that
are posted at every ballpark entrance.
He said the incident didn't turn violent until the Rangers
players left the bullpen to approach the seats.
Texas manager Buck Showalter said his team has had problems in
the past at the Oakland Coliseum, and asked for more security in
the area where the altercation took place. Rinetti said neither he
nor his security staff had been approached with such a request.