Rangers Player Hurls Chair at Fans

Texas Rangers-Oakland game turns ugly when player hurls chair at fans (AP)

Texas reliever Frank Francisco threw a chair into the right field box seats, hitting two spectators in the head Monday night, as Oakland Athletics fans taunted the visitors after a two-out, top-of-the-ninth homer tied the game. One of the fans, an unidentified woman, was bloodied and her nose was broken. Major league baseball’s commissioner’s office said Tuesday morning it was investigating.

With two outs in the ninth, Texas Ranger Alfonso Soriano tied the game at 5 on his second homer of the night. Moments later, with the Rangers’ Hank Blalock at the plate, the Texas bench and bullpen cleared. “Tonight, it went over the line,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “It was a real break from the normal trash you hear from fans. We’ve had problems about every time we’ve come here.” Texas reliever Doug Brocail was seen screaming at a male fan, and the pitcher had to be restrained by his teammates and bullpen coach Mark Connor. Others also had to be held back. Francisco threw the chair at a fan in a lower box near the Rangers’ bullpen along the right-field line. The chair hit one man in the head, then bounced and struck the woman on her left temple.

Dallas Morning News adds:

Rangers relief pitcher Frank Francisco was arrested this morning on a charge of aggravated battery after an incident involving fans during a game against Oakland on Monday night. Rangers relievers charged the stands near their bullpen during the ninth inning. The incident was capped off by Francisco, who had already been removed from the game, throwing a chair into the stands, breaking the nose and lacerating the face of a female fan. The fan, whose name wasn̢۪t released, was being treated at a local hospital. Francisco was quiet and cooperative after he was taken into custody, Oakland Police Department deputy chief Peter Dunbar told KGO-TV on Tuesday morning.

While I’m no fan of fat, liquored up women screaming obscenities in public, breaking her nose with a chair is probably not the appropriate response. It’s also perhaps not the best public relations tactic for Major League Baseball.

Update (1425): David Pinto live blogged it.

Update (9/15 1002): David also has links to some Bay Area editorials noting that out-of-control fans are a problem in Oakland and that many are surprised it’s taken this long for a serious incident to occur. I don’t know what it is that makes people think they’re allowed to behave like animals just because they’ve bought a ticket, no matter how overpriced.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Matt says:

    Just another example of the children we pay millions of dollars to watch play games. We have allowed ourselves to become so star struck with athletes, actors, musicians that they can – and usually do get away with most of their crap. It’s our own fault, but some of us need to start casting our “dollar vote” against these idiots. It may not do any good, but I will not be paying 10 bucks for a hotdog anytime soon while watching millionaires play catch.

  2. Jason says:

    So basically what you’re saying is that this is the fans’ fault? First off, most witnesses in the crowd seem to indicate that there was nothing particularly profane or nasty about the heckling being done in the box seats. Secondly, NO WORDS IN ANY LANGUAGE justify physical violence in response.

    Who is at fault here? The fans who hurt a player’s feelings, or the guy who sprinted 100 feet from the dugout (Frank Francisco) in order to break the nose of a woman sitting next to the heckler?

  3. James Joyner says:

    Jason: While Francisco’s action is criminal, they’re both at fault. There’s a longstanding exception to the right to free speech called “fighting words.” You’re not allowed to shout insults at people. These people are lowlifes. The players overreacted and should be punished but that doesn’t make the yahoos in question decent people.

  4. bk says:

    James,

    What exactly were the fighting words used?

    If I call you an ass, does that mean you can blow up my house? What if I disagree with some of your comments on this site, may I come over and punch you? I guess so.

    You also negelcted to mention that Francisco had been sitting in the dugout 100 feet away most of the game and had just blown the lead and might have been a little angry at the time. Any chance his anger caused him to do something stupid? NAAHH it must be the fat woman sitting in the stands fault…….