April 17, 2005

Sheffield Apologists Continue To Apologize

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that Sheffield exhibited "commendable restraint" and "good, old-fashioned common sense." He believes baseball should use this incident as a "shining example of ... how well its players have learned how to defuse these situations." Burwell explains away Sheffield's attempts to punch the fan as "human nature" and a "defense mechanism."

Peter Schmuck, Baltimore Sun: "Sheffield deserves credit for collecting himself before the incident became really ugly. He reacted viscerally to the Boston fan who took a swipe at him when he was fielding a ball at Fenway Park on Thursday night, but all he did was push the guy away and then glare at him."

George King of the New York Post typed this sentence: "Sheffield could be fined for extending his arms toward House."

A few writers are asking what's the big deal?

Lenny Megliola: "I'm not taking either guy off the hook, but geez, was it that big of a story? ESPN went crazy with it, summoning panel discussions of such a dire nature you would have thought national security was at stake. Talk shows, and not just WEEI, turned the incident into a crusade on ballpark etiquette, beer sales, security and prevention of cruelty to ballplayers."

John Tomase called the play a "freak occurrence" and not "the fall of civilization. ... I'm not sure Sheffield deserves all the plaudits he's received for showing such restraint, considering it took half the Yankees roster to restrain him. But whatever. He didn't go into the stands. ... Had the incident occurred between two teams other than the Sox and Yankees, it probably wouldn't have caused such an inflamed reaction."

Conflicting reports:
Times: "The Boston Police Department does not plan to take action against the fan who swiped Gary Sheffield in the face at Fenway Park on Thursday. ... Asked if the police considered the case closed, [Officer Mike] McCarthy said, "It was never open, actually.""

Post: "[T]he Boston police [are] seeking a judge to sign an arrest warrant for Chris House..."
There will be no ruling from "Yankee Bob" Watson until at least Tuesday.

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