Mayor wants series' focus on field
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino yesterday called for an end to the barrage of insults between fans of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox that began after Game 3 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday erupted into mayhem.
Menino and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg had joined the verbal fracas Sunday, both saying the other city's players deserved to be charged in the alleged assaults during Saturday's game.
"It got to be too much, it got overexaggerated," Menino said before yesterday's game. "We all got caught up in it."
Menino's push to end the war of words was "gracious," especially since the Red Sox were doomed to fail, Bloomberg said.
"I think it's going to be sad he won't be able to have a championship in Boston because he's a very nice person," Bloomberg told reporters yesterday before New York City's Columbus Day parade. "The fact of the matter is the Yankees are going to win this series and bring another championship back to New York City, where it really belongs."
Boston police, meanwhile, were still deciding whether to file charges in a bullpen brawl that erupted during the ninth inning of Saturday's game.
According to a police report, police had intended to seek summonses in Roxbury District Court for two Yankees, pitcher Jeff Nelson and right fielder Karim Garcia, for assault and battery after they allegedly attacked Paul Williams, a Fenway Park groundskeeper, in the Yankee bullpen.
Police would not say yesterday whether they still intend to do so. One law enforcement official told the Globe that charges would probably be brought after the series is over.
Nelson allegedly attacked Williams during the ninth inning after Williams refused to stop cheering for the Red Sox, the police report states. Garcia then jumped the bullpen fence and began striking Williams as well, the report states.
Williams, reached by cellphone Monday evening, said he is "doing as well as can be expected." A special education teacher from Derry, N.H., Williams declined to comment further on his condition or about the fight.
Last night, Derry Schools Superintendent John Moody said he didn't think Williams started the fray.
"There is nothing that we know about Paul that would lead us to believe that he could have been the instigator in what happened down there," Moody said in a telephone interview. "That would be totally, totally out of character for him."
Tom Swany, 38, a Southern California native who attended Saturday's game, said he could see trouble brewing inside the bullpen from his right-field box seats. Swany said last night that Nelson and another Yankee pitcher, Jeff Weaver, had been exchanging words with fans earlier in the game, before the ninth-inning brawl.
"Earlier, he was mouthing to fans. He would talk back to them," Swany said of Nelson. As for who started the brawl inside the bullpen: "It was Nelson," he said. "No question."
After Nelson started attacking Williams, Swany said, the other Yankees piled on. "I don't care if it's a baseball game or a street brawl or a barroom brawl. Six on one? It's not acceptable."
The bullpen fight followed an earlier brawl, when Red Sox batter Manny Ramirez charged the mound after a pitch from Roger Clemens during the fourth inning. Both benches emptied, and 72-year-old Yankee bench coach Don Zimmer lunged toward Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez, who threw Zimmer to the ground.
Menino insisted it was time to get back to playing ball. The mayor rescheduled a trip to Italy to attend this week's games, and said he hopes this is Boston's year. "It's time to cease the rhetoric," Menino said yesterday. "It's time to get back between the white lines."
Bloomberg agreed. Almost.
"It's time to -- as the saying goes -- `Play ball,' and let the better team win," he said. "And that's the Yankees."
Michael Rosenwald and Douglas Belkin of the Globe staff and correspondent Steve Eder contributed to this report. Donovan Slack can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.