09/20/2002 7:49 pm ET
MLBeat: O's discuss attack
By Gary Washburn / MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- Jerry Hairston was in the Orioles' weight room with a few teammates after Thursday's loss to Toronto, watching the conclusion of what seemed to be a normal September game between the White Sox and Royals.
He then watched live as two fans ran onto the Comiskey Park Field and began assaulting Royals first-base coach Tom Gamboa. Hairston, a Chicago native whose father played several years for the White Sox, was mortified.
"I couldn't believe what I was watching," he said. "I just knew it wasn't happening. I was in shock. I think we all were."
A 34-year-old father and his 15-year-old son were arrested for assault, which has brought the issue of player and coach safety to a baseball forefront dominated by pennant races and record chases.
"You know there are crazy people out there but you just hope they don't do anything stupid," Hairston said. "I mean when you see a guy on the field, you just assume he wants to slide into second base or something. But not this."
At least once this season the Orioles have had fans run onto the field. One young fan ran to second base and "moonwalked" before being apprehended by security officers.
"There is no way you can staff enough police to stop fans from coming onto the field," Orioles first baseman Jeff Conine said. "You just have to trust people. Those people in Chicago weren't fans. They were idiots. They don't reflect the fans."
According to Orioles team spokesman Bill Stetka, the club did not hear from the league regarding stadium security nor will they beef up security for this weekend's series with Boston. After every half inning, policeman line the infield and outfield to prevent any fans from running onto the field.
"I have never seen a fan come out and attack a player like that," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. "I have never seen anything like that. We went to Boston after 9 /11 and some idiot came running onto the field and my first thought is, 'Is this part of that?' But after what happened (Thursday) I would be more inclined to protect myself than I was in the past."
Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick needed one more errorless game Friday to break the Major League record for consecutive errorless games by a shortstop with 102. He equaled the mark set by the New York Mets' Rey Ordonez on Thursday.
"I don't think people really have no idea how hard that is it do," Hargrove said. "The last few days, I have sort of flinched when he field the ball. But you expect him to field every one."
Bordick fielded his first chance successfully in the first inning, forcing Johnny Damon at second base on a grounder.
Catcher Geronimo Gil is struggling of late, but not against Boston. He is hitting .394 this season against Red Sox pitching with four of his 11 homers and nine RBI.
Gary Washburn is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.