On Saturday night, a fan at Yankee Stadium crossed a clear line when he threw a baseball and hit Boston Red Sox left fielder Alex Verdugo in the back. Less than 24 hours later, the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball have come down hard on the perpetrator.
The Yankees announced that the fan who threw the ball at Verdugo has been banned for life, according to a team spokesman. MLB also doled out a punishment of its own, banning the individual responsible from the league’s other 29 ballparks.
“While the Yankees appreciate the spirit and passion of our fans in our various rivalries — especially with the Red Sox – reckless, disorderly and dangerous behavior that puts the safety of players, field staff or fellow fans in jeopardy will not be tolerated,” the Yankees said in a statement, per NESN. “There is absolutely no place for it at Yankee Stadium. The safety of everyone at Yankee Stadium, including guests in the stands and players on the field, will always be the top priority for the Yankees organization every time we open our doors.”
Prior to the start of the 6th inning, Verdugo tossed a ball into the outfield seats, aiming for a young fan in a Red Sox jersey. However, the Yankees supporter at fault intercepted the throw and pegged the ball back into the field of play. Verdugo exchanged a few words with the perpetrator before Red Sox manager Alex Cora pulled his team off of the field. The game resumed shortly after the situation cooled down.
After the game, Yankees manager Aaron Boone blasted the fan for his actions and said that he apologized to both Cora and Verdugo.
“That’s my understanding, that someone threw a ball and hit him point-blank from behind. It’s awful and embarrassing, unacceptable,” Boone told reporters, per a clip shared by SNY. “My understanding is they did catch the guy. Hopefully, he’s in jail right now. Yeah, it’s just a bad situation. If I was Alex Cora, I would have done the same thing as far as going out and getting his guys off the field. There’s zero place for that in this great game, in this great rivalry. Players should never feel like they ever have to worry about anything like that. So, you know, I already reached out to Alex Cora, just apologized, and to Alex Verdugo. That’s just a terrible, bad, sad situation and sorry about that.”
Aaron Boone sounds off on the Yankee fan who hit Alex Verdugo with a ball:
“There’s zero place for that in this great game and in this great rivalry. Players should never feel like they have to worry about anything like that.” pic.twitter.com/MNO8nd8zTA
— Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) July 18, 2021
The Yankees and MLB acted swiftly to this incident, which will hopefully discourage future instances like this one from happening. The actions of the so-called fan have no place in professional sports, no matter the stakes of the game.
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