Baseball

Fans attack Royals coach during game

Kansas City Royals first base coach Tom Gamboa had his life flash before his eyes last night after being attacked on the field.

Gamboa was attacked by two men, a bare-chested father and his son, as he was coaching during the Royal's 2-1 win over the Chicago White Sox.

The father, identified by police as 34-year-old William Ligue Jr., and his 15-year-old son were led off the field in handcuffs. They were charged with aggravated battery.

The son also faces two juvenile charges of battery after striking a security guard. He was released to the custody of his mother on Friday.

"He got what he deserved," said the elder Ligue as they were being put into police cars, contending there had been an exchange with Gamboa.

Gamboa denies there was any kind of exchange.

"I have never at any time ever verbally or physically acknowledged the people in the stands and I encourage players to just tune them out," Gamboa said in a Friday morning radio interview.

"To respond to it in any manner lets that idiot know that he is getting to you, and common sense tells you that it will just escalate."

The altercation on the field began when Michael Tucker had popped out during a bunt attempt to pitcher Mike Porzio for the first out of the inning. As the pitcher caught the ball, the two fans came onto the field right behind Gamboa.

The father threw a punch at the Kansas City first base coach while his son grabbed hold of Gamboa's leg.

A folded-up pocketknife was found at the scene.

"I was looking at the hitter in the box and it felt like a football team had hit me from behind," Gamboa said. "The next thing I knew I was on the ground trying to defend myself."

All of the Kansas City players then charged onto the field to try and take control of the situation, and piled on the two men, who were taken away in handcuffs by police.

"I was at the bottom of the pile," said Gamboa. "I saw I was bleeding and heard one of our players yell one of them had a knife. I was stunned, checking to see if I'd been stabbed."

The 54-year-old Gamboa suffered a cut to his forehead. He left the game and was replaced by Lamar Johnson. The game was delayed for about 10 minutes while a White Sox trainer attended to Gamboa.

Gamboa, who played professionally in the Canadian Baseball League from 1971-72, was named Kansas City's bullpen coach in 2001 before going to first base. He was the third base coach for the Chicago Cubs from 1998-99.

It was the second incident this week regarding fans.

The Monday night football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins was delayed midway through the fourth quarter when some pepper spray made its way to the Eagles' sideline at FedEx Field. Police sprayed the substance to try to control a fight that broke out in the stands and the cooling fans on Philadelphia's bench helped the spray spread quickly.

This is not the first time fans have become violent toward players in professional sports. In 1993, women's tennis star Monica Seles was stabbed by a stalking fan in Hamburg, Germany.

Nearly three years ago, a fan attacked Houston outfielder Bill Spiers in Milwaukee, leaving the right fielder with a welt under his eye and a bloody nose.

With files from CP Online