Father & Son Bombard Baseball Field & Attack Baseball Coach (White Sox vs. Royals)
Royals Edge White Sox 2-1
Fri Sep 20,12:08 AM ET
By NANCY ARMOUR, AP Sports Writer
Gamboa had several cuts and a large bruise on his forehead. He walked off the field to a standing ovation from the crowd at Comiskey Park, where the Royals beat the Chicago White Sox 2-1.
"I had my hands on my hips and I was looking at the next batter. I felt like a football team had hit me from behind. Next thing I knew, I'm on the ground trying to defend myself," Gamboa said.
A folded-up pocket knife was found at the scene. White Sox outfielder Aaron Rowand said he saw it fall out of one of the fan's pockets, and Royals closer Roberto Hernandez said he saw security guards place it in an evidence bag.
"I'm just stiff and sore," said Gamboa, 54. "I heard one of the guys say there was a knife. I was stunned, so I was checking to see if I was stabbed and didn't realize it."
Gamboa said he had no idea why he was attacked. He did not fault first-base umpire Matt Hollowell or White Sox second baseman Willie Harris for not immediately coming to his aid.
"In fairness to everybody, everyone was stunned," Gamboa said.
The father and son were led off the field in handcuffs. White Sox spokesman Scott Reifert said their names will not be released until they are charged.
Reifert said the father will face a charge of aggravated felony assault. The son, whose age was not made available, will face unspecified juvenile charges.
"I would expect major league baseball to do something," Royals outfielder Chuck Knoblauch said. "It is amazing something like that hasn't happened before. But it is a fear of players because it seems like the fans continue to get more and more hostile."
This was the second unusual disruption during a game this week. On Monday night, police trying to break up a fight in the stands at FedEx Field sprayed pepper spray that drifted onto the field and sickened some players as the Philadelphia Eagles played the Washington Redskins. There were no serious injuries.
Instances of on-field attacks by fans have been rare over the years.
The most notorious one came when tennis star Monica Seles was stabbed in the back by an obsessed fan in April 1993 during a match in Hamburg, Germany.
"I happened to be watching years ago that tennis match on TV when Monica Seles was stabbed," Gamboa said.
On Sept. 28, 1995, Cubs reliever Randy Myers was charged by a 27-year-old bond trader who ran out of the stands at Wrigley Field.
Myers saw the man coming, dropped his glove and knocked him down with his forearm. The two were rolling on the ground near the pitcher's mound, and Myers had the man pinned when several Chicago players broke up the fight.
Gamboa is in his second season on the Royals' staff. He was the Chicago Cubs' third-base coach in 1998-99.
Kansas City was on its way to just its fourth win in 17 games when the game turned ugly. With a runner on second in the top of the ninth, Michael Tucker had just bunted back to White Sox pitcher Mike Porzio for the first out.
Suddenly, the two fans ran onto the field, tackled Gamboa and began punching him.
"They had to come from right field or behind first base," Gamboa said. "It was definitely from behind (me) because next thing I knew, I was on the ground."
Gamboa said one of the men was speaking, but he couldn't tell what he was saying.
"He was yelling something, but it was incoherent," Gamboa said. "It just happened so fast."
The entire Royals dugout cleared and their bullpen rushed in from right field to help Gamboa. Several players jumped on the fans and punches were exchanged.
"If someone messes with your family, you protect your family," Royals first baseman Mike Sweeney said. "Those two clowns could have taken Tom Gamboa's life, and we didn't want to put up with it. We protected our family the way you'd protect yours."
Hernandez, who was in the bullpen when Gamboa was attacked, said he thought at first it was a fight between the two teams.
"I was shocked that I saw that tonight," he said. "It's a sad case. Those aren't fans, those are just plain idiots."
The White Sox players who were on the field ran over to see what was happening, turning first base into a wild scene.
"It's sad and disturbing, very disturbing," said general manager Kenny Williams, who apologized to Gamboa and the Royals after the game. "Words don't express the sorrow when you look at a man and he's got blood on his face. All he was doing was coaching first base."
Security came on the field and tried to break it up, but it was several minutes before order was restored. The small crowd at Comiskey Park was on its feet the whole time, watching in stunned silence.
Security finally pulled the fans out of the melee, taking them off the field. Trainers attended to Gamboa, who had blood on his forehead.
Gamboa went to the dugout, sitting on the bench as he got more treatment. Lamar Johnson replaced him in the coaching box.
The game finally resumed after about a 10-minute delay.
"My first thought was, the game doesn't mean (anything)," Hernandez said. "I was just trying to get the game over with and get in to see how Gamboa was."
Before the brawl, Carlos Beltran hit a two-run homer for the Royals. Paul Byrd became the first Royals pitcher to win 17 games since Kevin Appier won 18 in 1993.
Byrd (17-11) scattered six hits over 7 1-3 innings. Roberto Hernandez pitched the ninth for his 26th save.
D'Angelo Jimenez spoiled Byrd's bid for a shutout with a run-scoring triple in the seventh. But he was stranded at third, and the White Sox had a runner in scoring position only one other time.
Rocky Biddle, trying to win a spot in next season's starting rotation, had a decent outing for the White Sox. He allowed two runs and four hits in six innings, striking out three while walking two.
He worked himself out of two early jams with a man on third. But Biddle (2-4) got into more trouble in sixth inning, and he couldn't get out of that one.
Carlos Febles led off the inning with a ground-rule double, advancing to third on Chuck Knoblauch's groundout. That brought up Beltran, who sent Biddle's 0-1 pitch sailing into the bullpen for his 26th homer.
Notes:@ The Royals had scored a total of two runs in their two previous games. ... Kansas City needs to go 7-2 over its last nine games to avoid matching the club record for single-season losses.