BOSTON - Two Yankees will be charged with assaulting a Fenway Park worker who was cheering for the Red Sox in the New York bullpen during the American League Championship Series on Saturday night, police said.
Police spokesman Michael McCarthy did not release the names of the players, but Red Sox spokesman Charles Steinberg said Jeff Nelson and Karim Garcia were the players involved.
"The Red Sox are terribly concerned and distressed about the attack on our employee (Saturday night)," Steinberg said.
The Yankees denied the players were to blame in the fight with Paul Williams, a member of the ballpark's grounds crew.
"A security incident like this would never be tolerated at Yankee Stadium," president Randy Levine told The Associated Press. "Unfortunately, there was an atmosphere of lawlessness that was allowed to be perpetrated all day long. The events of the entire day were disgraceful and shameful, and if it happened at our ballpark, we would apologize, and that's what the Red Sox should do here."
With tempers already high after a bench-clearing melee earlier in the game, Nelson took exception to Williams cheering for the Red Sox while in the New York bullpen, and he told Williams so.
"He was standing in our bullpen waving the rally flag," Nelson said, after New York's 4-3 win over the Sox in Game 3 of the ALCS. "I told him, 'If you're rooting for the Red Sox, why don't you go in their bullpen.' He jumped in my face and tried to take a swing at me."
Williams acknowledged pumping his fist twice while holding a white towel after the Red Sox turned a double play in the ninth inning, Steinberg said.
"If that was in poor taste, or poor judgment, it certainly didn't warrant a beating," Steinberg said.
Williams had cleat marks on his back and his arm, and he might have been kicked in the mouth, Steinberg said. He was recuperating at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Red Sox spokesman said.
The Red Sox also said that two police officers in the bullpen backed Williams' story. McCarthy said police considered Williams the victim in the fight.