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On the Diamond

Game 4 embellishes Fenway's rowdy reputation

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Posted: Monday October 18, 1999 04:25 PM


By Jamie MacDonald, CNN/SI

BOSTON -- And you thought the Bronx was rough? Soon you'll be hearing about the perils of attending an event in the Bay State.

Thanks to a miserable display of partisanship at the Ryder Cup and the unraveling ugliness here in the ninth inning of Game 4, fans in this area could very well be on their way to gaining a bad reputation.

"You have a ballclub," said Yankees manager Joe Torre, "who has busted its butt all year to play and give this city something to be proud of, and I think it's inexcusable."

For eight-and-a-half innings, the Fenway crowd did its part. The Red Sox fans cheered for every two-strike count against the Yankees, they chanted their hearts out for Nomar Garciaparra (M-V-P!, M-V-P!) and against Derek Jeter (Nooo-mah's bet-ter). They roared at the appearances of Red Sox relievers and booed lustily at the sight of Mariano Rivera. But then it got away from them.

Perhaps incited by Chuck Knoblauch's second would-be error of the series -- a phantom tag on Jose Offerman that put a new spin on the phrase "in the neighborhood." (Second-base umpire Tim Tschida later admitted he blew the call.) Or maybe it was Jimy Williams' borderline grandstanding ejection.

It probably wasn't just one of those things, or the rain that started to fall with the fans' faith, but the fact that all of the above happened as their team was being pounded into a 3-1 ALCS hole.

"I haven't really been exposed to Boston before these last four years," Torre said. "Everywhere I've walked in the city these past couple of days, people have been genuinely nice. But to have people throw stuff, that's ... disgraceful. It really is."

When asked if perhaps his counterpart in the Boston dugout may have had a hand in what turned out to be a restless cup-and-bottle-throwing barrage, Torre dismissed the Red Sox manager's behavior only as frustration.

"I know Jimy Williams and he's got too much class for that stuff," Torre said. "He was frustrated. I mean I can tell you, it was a very emotional game for us tonight. And fortunately for me our emotion was good, and his was of frustration. Maybe the fans used what Jimy did as an excuse to do what they did. I don't look at Jimy inciting the crowd."

Torre, who was critical of the ballpark's head of security for "screaming at my players about staying in the dugout" with language that "wasn't very pretty ... and I thought that was uncalled for."

After the game Williams issued a statement that you could almost picture him saying.

"It's the first one to win four, and it's not over yet."

Not bad news

Since 1986, the year after the American League Championship Series was expanded to a best-of-seven format, the Yankees are the sixth team to jump out to a 3-1 lead. Only once has the trailing team come back to win the series: The Boston Red Sox.

Boston rallied to defeat the artists formerly known as the California Angels in 1986.

Misery loves levity

Sure we eat for free and get in the building to watch games, but occasionally the members of the media have to face the harrowing trials of life just like the rest of the world.

Around 11:30 p.m., a handful of reporters were riding up Fenway Park's service elevator to the fifth-floor press area.

Unfortunately, the elevator would only make it four-and-a-half floors. Stuck between the fourth and fifth floors, all climbed to safety up a ladder brought in by the Boston fire department.

Dueling lines of the night following a tame and celebration-free escape: "Oh I will not be happy if the bus already left," which was followed by the rhetorical question, "Would you like to sign the petition to save Fenway Park?"

Strangest loud cheer of the night

During the introductions, fans cheered their approval for Sox third-base coach Wendell Kim. You've gotta love a guy who sprints from the dugout to his post and from his post back to the dugout every inning, but No. 12, a.k.a. "Send Him In" Kim, has an overly-aggressive habit of sending baserunners to their rally-killing deaths at home.

In Sunday's game he sent Jose Offerman home, in hopes of scoring run No. 2 with one out in the third and Nomar Garciaparra up. Instead, Offerman was gunned down on a nice relay between Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter and Joe Girardi for the second out of the inning. Garciaparra was walked and Andy Pettitte struck Mike Stanley out to end the inning with minimal damage.

Related information
Yankees capitalize on mistakes to take control
Yanks win Game 4, leave Sox on brink of extinction
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