Game delayed when Yankee fan beans Red Sox player with ball, prompting manager to pull team

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A disrespectful Yankees fan single-handedly delayed a game Saturday evening by hurling a ball at the opposing team’s left fielder.

During the game at Yankee Stadium between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, Red Sox left fielder Alex Verdugo tried tossing a ball to a young Red Sox fan sitting in the bleachers.

But the nice gesture fell short thanks to a Yankees fan who intercepted the ball and then hurled it back at Verdugo in a reportedly menacing way that hit him “point blank” and that he did not appreciate.

“Incensed, Verdugo turned to the stands and had a heated exchange with some of the fans. Red Sox teammates and members of the umpiring crew sprinted to left field to pull Verdugo … away from the stands behind the left field scoreboard,” the Boston Globe reported.

“They were soon joined by Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who waved his players off the field. An exchange between Cora and the umpiring crew of roughly four minutes followed before the Red Sox returned to the field.”

Meanwhile, the perp was reportedly pointed out by other fans and escorted out of the stadium by security.

The immediate aftermath can be seen below:

The game eventually resumed, and the Yankees came out triumphant 3-1.

Speaking with reporters afterward, Verdugo maintained that what happened had been a purposeful, targeted attack.

“It felt like it was targeted towards me and it don’t sit well with me. … There’s no reason to be throwing stuff back onto the field ever. There really isn’t. … I wouldn’t want any Boston fans throwing shit at Yankees players or any player in general,” he said.

But he also admitted that ultimately, it wasn’t that big of a deal.

“Yeah, I lost my cool there for a second. I was pretty pissed. But having some time to think about it now, to calm down and relax, it is what it is. I’m just happy that nothing came from it, nobody got hurt, I didn’t get hit in the face or anything like that, or the back of the head,” he said.

Listen:

Meanwhile, Cora, the Red Sox manager, stressed that it’s just a game.

“This is just a game. It’s a game. This is not like life and death, you know. It’s not this like drama that people want. … I mean it’s fun to play here. This is Yankee Stadium. This is one of the best places to play any sports. We love to come here,” he said.

He also explained why he’d delayed the game.

“I know my left fielder. I know Alex. He needed time to breathe and to get his thoughts. It seemed like nobody was listening to me. You never know. What if he jumps the fence? What if he goes up there?” he said.

Listen:

According to Cora, Yankees team manager Aaron Boone sent him a text message during the game apologizing for the fan’s bad behavior.

During his own remarks to the press, Boone added that he hopes the culprit is sitting in jail.

“It’s awful, embarrassing, unacceptable. My understanding is they did catch the guy. Hopefully, he’s in jail right now. Yeah, that’s just a bad situation,” he said.

Listen:

He also expressed solidarity with Verdugo and Cora.

“If I was Alex Cora, I would have done the same thing as far as going out and getting his guys off the field. There’s zero place for that in this great game and in this great rivalry.  You know, players should never feel um like they have to worry about anything like that,” he said.

Watch the full postgame interview below:

As wild as events were during the game, they were actually pretty mild relatively speaking.

Over in Washington, D.C., a game between the Washington Nationals and the San Diego Padres had to be suspended because of a shooting directly outside Nationals Park stadium.

“The Nationals reacted to the confusion by cautioning fans to stay inside the stadium, but later confirmed there had been a shooting and encouraged fans to exit through gates in the outfield. The building was later evacuated, including the press box, while the police blocked off the scene of the crime,” Yahoo Sports reported.

See video footage from the scene below:

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Vivek Saxena

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