Sunday, October 12, 2003 Updated: October 13, 4:25 PM ET
Police to decide whether to file assault charges
ESPN.com news services
BOSTON -- Police sought witnesses to a bullpen fight between
two Yankees players and a Red Sox employee before deciding whether to file
The Red Sox said that two Boston police officers in the bullpen
support the story of grounds crew worker Paul Williams, who contends
Yankees Jeff Nelson and Karim Garcia attacked him for cheering for
the Red Sox.
Nelson told the Newark Star-Ledger in Monday's editions that he was not worried about potential criminal charges.
"I know what I did. I know the truth," Nelson said. "If I did something wrong, I'd be worried about it. I didn't do anything wrong. It's great to be a diehard Red Sox or Yankees fan, but it's another to take it to another extreme. That's what these people are doing.
"I played this game too long to go out and attack somebody. I know what to do, I know the right way to do things, and it's a shame everybody took it the other way."
The Yankees won Game 3 4-3 to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven AL
championship series, with Game 4 rescheduled for Monday.
Police spokesman Michael McCarthy was not sure how long the
investigation would take.
"They're looking for people to come forward," he said.
The Red Sox defended Williams.
"We support employees whether they are members of the grounds
crew, members of the pitching staff, or whatever," team president
Larry Lucchino said.
Nelson said he was annoyed that Williams was cheering for the
Red Sox while he was in the New York bullpen. "I told him to go
over to the other side," Nelson said.
Williams said he only cheered for the Red Sox once.
"If that was poor taste or improper baseball etiquette or
decorum, that's certainly something someone could question," Red
Sox spokesman Charles Steinberg said. "Whether it merited an
attack that had him in the hospital is certainly another story."
Steinberg said that Williams had cleat marks on his back and
arm, and he was wearing a neck brace when he left the hospital
Williams will be welcomed back to his job as long as the police
investigation doesn't contradict his story, Lucchino said.
The police report, obtained by several media outlets Sunday,
said the fight began as a "verbal confrontation" between Nelson
Officer Michael Pankievich was working in the Yankees bullpen
when he saw Nelson "pushing-grabbing the victim in the chest
area," the report said.
The two fell and several other Yankees jumped in, "some
striking the victim and others attempting to break up the melee,"
according to the report, written by Det. William P. Dunn. Dunn was
working in the Red Sox bullpen.
"The right fielder from the Yankees was then observed jumping
the right field wall, into the bullpen and began striking down at
the victim with his left hand," the report said.
Protection by the bullpen will be increased Monday, according to
Kevin Hallinan, baseball's senior vice president of security.
"I'm going to have one of my full-time staff, there's going to
be a Boston Red Sox security person there and there's going to be a
Boston police officer there," he said. "We met today with the Red
Sox security people and the Boston PD, and we felt this would be
the best combination. The Boston PD also is going to have more
people out in the stands area by the bullpen."