Tonight the White Sox and the Royals played in Comiskey for first time since the September 19, 2002 game in which KC coach Tom Gamboa was attacked by two fans. Well, guess what, it happened again.
In the eighth inning first base umpire Laz Diaz ran down the right field line to cover a fly ball. As the ball was being caught by rookie Brandon Berger to end the inning, the ump, who was facing the right fielder, was attacked from behind by a fan. Berger and some security guards subdued the fan almost immediately. And soon both benches cleared and the subdued man was kicked and slightly jostled.
There were three other incidents of fans running on the field prior to this in the game.
This comes just a day after some fans in San Juan ran on the field with a banner spouting an anti-war slogan. The Mets were upset about the slow-reacting security at Estadio Hiram Bithorn. Those fans have now been banned from the Expos entire "homestand" in Puerto Rico.
The most interesting parallel is the hostility that the teams have exhibited agianst each other starting in spring training. There have been more bench-clearers than in most other years. In fact, in the first inning tonight Frank Thomas charged the mound after behind hit by a pitch and both benches cleared. As I said before, they cleared later as the teams united to protect the ump.
I don't know what the solution is. We live in an apparently hostile society. Security at the game can only do so much (maybe beer concessionaires can do more by limiting rowdy fans). It's unfortunate that it has happened twice in Chicago.
One last item, the All-Star game is at Comiskey this year, and if you thought a tie ballgame was an embarrassment to the sport, what if a fan (or fans) runs onto the field to attack a player from say the Royals? Let's just hope that the commissioner's office is taking this issue a little more seriously than finding a solution for tie All-Star games.