Sheffield praised for 'not overreacting'

NEW YORK -- Yankees outfielder Gary Sheffield won't be
punished for his role in a scuffle with fans at Fenway Park last

Bob Watson, baseball's vice president in charge of discipline,
made the decision Wednesday, a day after meeting with Sheffield and
the right fielder's agent at Yankee Stadium.

"It just proves that I was right," Sheffield said before
Wednesday night's game at Toronto. "I'm just glad I was an example
of how to handle a situation without making it worse or hurting the
Yankees or any organization for that matter, or any sport.

"It wouldn't have been just me involved if I would have went
into the stands, it would have been my teammates. I would have put
them at risk. I'd have put the organization at risk and also
baseball," he said.

The commissioner's office said Watson concluded the fan reached
over the barrier near the right-field corner during the April 14
game in Boston and "struck Sheffield on the head as he was
attempting to field a ball in play."

"Sheffield in response swung his arms in an effort to extricate
himself from the situation and to avoid further abuse, then
completed the play and returned to confront the fan," the
statement continued. "At that time no further altercation
occurred, Red Sox security stepped in promptly and order was
restored. Under the circumstances, Bob Watson concluded that
discipline for Sheffield was not warranted."

Commissioner Bud Selig, in a statement, said: "We do not
condone any interaction between fans and players whether initiated
by either fans or players. I am pleased that Gary Sheffield showed
restraint in not overreacting to the improper and clearly
aggressive action of the fan in question."

Yankees manager Joe Torre was happy the issue had been settled.

"If it was anybody but Gary Sheffield, I don't think people
would have been holding their breath waiting for it," Torre said.
"Things follow him. It was unfounded to me. Maybe at times he says
things that may not come out right. He doesn't have a bad
reputation, but a reputation as someone who's a little hard to

On Tuesday, Boston police filed applications for misdemeanor
criminal charges against two fans -- one who allegedly made contact
with Sheffield and another who allegedly tossed a beer at him. A
clerk magistrate will determine whether a disorderly conduct charge
is warranted against the fans, police spokesman Officer John Boyle

The Red Sox officials revoked season tickets from Christopher
House, the fan who appeared to make contact. The other fan has not
been identified, but the Red Sox said he will not be able to buy
tickets for games at Fenway this season.

"I also commend the Boston Red Sox for their swift and decisive
actions regarding the involved fans," Selig said.