Work in Sports
Falling for the Yankees
Fan tumbles from upper deck to screen
Posted: Friday May 26, 2000 11:28 PM
NEW YORK (AP) -- A fan fell from the upper deck onto the screen behind home plate at Yankee Stadium during the third inning of Friday night's game against Boston and, able to walk, was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Stephen Laurenzi, 24, of Yonkers, N.Y., was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct, police Lt. John Roeder said, adding there was a chance a charge of reckless endangerment could be added.
Laurenzi was unconscious for a short time while sprawled on the netting and the game was delayed. He was taken to Lincoln Hospital for observation, but Roeder said the man seemed OK.
Police said it was unclear whether the fan jumped or fell.
"We have witnesses who say both," Roeder said.
Laurenzi, wearing a dark T-shirt with No. 21 and the last name of Yankees right fielder Paul O'Neill, seemed to fall head first on to the netting. Security escorted the man in handcuffs to the police office in the stadium's basement.
"Loosen the cuffs, man, they're too tight," he told officers.
Laurenzi remained motionless on the screen for about five minutes while the game continued before suddenly sitting up and raising both arms high. Some fans cheered, apparently thinking he was unhurt, while others booed, believing it was a stunt.
"He popped up in a drunken stupor," Yankees pitcher David Cone said.
Stadium security and medical personnel gathered beneath him, bringing a stretcher with them. He then crawled his way into the middle of the ballpark's three decks and was led out through a private suite.
"It was scary because he didn't move," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "You thought he broke his neck or something."
The game then resumed. A pack of cigarettes and a wallet remained on the screen after the fan crawled off.
In 1997 and 1998, there was only a high backstop behind the plate and no netting extending to the stands.
"Two years ago, he would've fallen on somebody," Torre said.
The fall occurred in the bottom of the third inning with Wilson Delgado of the Yankees batting. After Delgado flied out and O'Neill hit an inning-ending grounder, the game was halted for six minutes while players on both teams and umpires moved in for a closer look.
"I've never seen anything like that before," winning pitcher Ramon Martinez said. "Only in the movies."
In the eighth inning of a game between the same teams at Yankee Stadium, on Aug. 23, 1989, a fan jumped onto the netting.
Steve Krisztin, then a 24-year-old from Old Bethpage, N.Y., climbed down the netting, then swung onto the field. He wasn't hurt but, after being ushered off the field by security, was charged with reckless endangerment.
"That guy was awesome," said Red Sox reliever Rob Murphy, who was pitching at the time. "That was so exciting, it was worth the price of admission."