(CBS New York) — The second half of the MLB season is officially underway. And it kicked off with one of the crazier weekends baseball has seen in awhile, both on and off the field. A New York Yankees fan beaned Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo with a baseball. A shooting outside Nationals Park in Washington caused brief turmoil, followed by a heartening show of humanity. And then the New York Mets had an impressive on-field gaffe (even for them) that they still somehow overcame.
This week’s Baseball Report looks at the Yankees fan now banned from MLB ballparks, the gunshot that postponed Saturday’s Nationals game with the San Diego Padres, and the Mets’ three-run mistake.
Yankee Fan Banned
The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is as heated as rivalries get. But during Saturday’s game between the teams, things went too far. In the sixth inning, Verdugo tossed a ball into the left field stands to a young Red Sox fan. But a Yankees fan intercepted the ball and threw it back at Verdugo, hitting him in the back.
Boston’s leftfielder wasn’t hurt, but he was certainly angry. His manager Alex Cora pulled his team off the field while umpires and security sorted out the situation and to give Verdugo a chance to calm down. The fan was soon ejected, but not arrested.
A fan threw a ball at Alex Verdugo… pic.twitter.com/V8F55GE4fM
— Justin Groc (@jgroc) July 18, 2021
Play eventually resumed on the rainy afternoon, though the game didn’t last much longer. It was called after the sixth inning due to inclement weather, with the Yankees earning a 3-1 win.
The team released a statement Sunday that reads “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 fan has been banned for life from Yankee Stadium and every other major league ballpark.
Shooting Outside Nationals Park
The Nationals-Padres series began Friday with San Diego putting up 24 runs in a win. Saturday night’s game was called after gunshots outside the ballpark induced panic inside the ballpark. It wasn’t immediately clear where the gunshots originated.
In the moments after the gunshots, some fans ran for the concourse, while others hid behind their seats. People shouting “shooter” could be heard in certain sections. Players from both teams, including Padres Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr., ushered family members and fans into the relative safety of the dugouts and up into the tunnels. In heat of the moment, that seemed like the safest place to go.
— Alaina (@alaina1424) July 18, 2021
“The situation changed immediately; there were no longer players or fans,” Tatis said to reporters. “I feel like everybody is just people. Just human beings out there.”
“I didn’t know what was going on, but I wanted to make sure that everybody was safe,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said to reporters. “You don’t ever think it’s gonna happen, but when it does, it’s definitely a different situation.”
Within a few minutes, an announcement over the stadium’s PA system instructed people to stay inside the ballpark. The game was eventually suspended, with the Padres winning 8-4. The game resumed Sunday afternoon, when the Padres added two more runs to secure the win.
It would later be learned that the shooting happened outside the stadium on South Capitol Street. Police think the incident involved gunfire between cars. Three people with injuries resulting from the incident have been found, but not the actual shooters.
Strange Mets Play And How They Recovered
In the first inning of Sunday’s game, the Mets were already down by three runs, Mets righthander Taijuan Walker was facing Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Kevin Newman. The bases were loaded. Newman hit a slow dribbler up the third-base line that looked foul, but upon closer examination, was touching the line and, therefore, fair. Walker came off the mound to field the ball and, believing it was foul, swatted the ball with his glove toward the Pirates’ dugout.
The ball was (correctly) ruled fair. While Walker argued the call, no other Mets went to retrieve the ball. Three Pirates baserunners came around to score. Newman made it to second base. Walker was charged with an error, while Newman was credited with a single and an RBI.
Walker was incensed. Mets manager Luis Rojas ran from the dugout to argue the call as well and, after bumping an umpire, was ejected.
The Mets still managed to win the game, despite being down 6-0 in the first inning after giving up a six-run comeback to the Pirates the night before. Dominic Smith started off the Mets’ scoring with an RBI single in the third inning. The next inning, Travis Blankenhorn hit a three-run shot. A throwing error in the sixth inning allowed another run. And then Michael Conforto hit a two-run home run in the ninth to put the Mets ahead.