Gary Sheffield Hit By Boston Fan
New York Yankees outfielder Gary Sheffield was hit by a fan during last night’s game with the Boston Red Sox but restrained himself from beating the crap out of the guy.
Gary Sheffield was fielding Jason Varitek’s two-run triple along the low right-field fence in the eighth inning of the Red Sox’s 8-5 victory over the Yankees Thursday night when a fan swung a short uppercut in his direction, appearing to graze the side of the slugger’s face with his right arm. “Something hit me in the mouth. It felt like a hand,” Sheffield said. “I thought my lip was busted.” Sheffield turned to the Boston fan who hit him, his fist cocked and his temper hot. Then, the Yankees outfielder stopped himself from doing something foolish.
“We have to give Sheffield a lot of credit,” Boston’s Johnny Damon said, “for him to restrain himself the way he did.”
After Sheffield picked up the ball, he shoved the fan before throwing the ball back to the infield as two runs scored. Another fan’s beer also sprayed in Sheffield’s direction. “I tried to get his hand out of my face so I could continue on with the play,” he said. “To get punched in the mouth, you don’t expect that in a baseball game.”
Sheffield then whirled around with a cocked fist, shouting in the face of the first man but restrained himself and did not throw a punch. A security official quickly jumped over the three-foot wall to separate the two. Players and more security officials gathered in the area, but order was soon restored.
Gary Sheffield was trying to retrieve a ball at the foot of the right-field wall on Thursday night when he felt something hit him in the mouth. Sheffield’s first reaction was to go after the fan who had just whacked him, but two words jumped out in the outfielder’s mind that made him hold himself back: Ron Artest.
“I was trying to get his hand out of my face so I could continue with the play. I threw the ball in and was getting ready to react, but I held my composure,” Sheffield said. “It was hard. It’s just a baseball game, so I’m trying to represent the game the right way. To get punched in the mouth, you don’t expect that at a baseball game.”
“I think that was the best thing he could have done,” said Bernie Williams. “He showed a lot of class and was able to maintain his composure. Hopefully that guy will get what he deserves, because there’s no reason for that to happen.”
Red Sox spokesman Glenn Geffner said that the fan, whose name was not released, was removed from the ballpark. “He was ejected from the ballpark for attempting to interfere with the ball in play, which is consistent with Red Sox policy,” Geffner said. “He was not arrested. There have been no charges filed at this time, pending interviews that will be done and the review of video.”
There is some controversy over whether the fan intentionally hit Sheffield or merely overzealous in going after a souvenir. Either way, Sheffield’s restraint under pressure here was commendable.