10/14/2002 9:26 pm ET
Cards pitcher in altercation with fan
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Cardinals right-hander Garrett Stephenson was involved in an altercation with a fan outside Pacific Bell Park after St. Louis' 4-3 loss to the Giants in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Sunday night. According to the San Francisco Police Department, Stephenson struck the fan, David Richardson of South San Francisco, Calif., "with an open hand" after Richardson had harassed Cardinals players and families on their team bus.
The Cardinals claimed, and SFPD Lt. Don Carlson confirmed, that Richardson was pounding on the bus and yelling as players and families prepared to leave the stadium for the team hotel. At first, no security personnel were present, so Stephenson stepped off the bus to confront Richardson.
"The one independent witness we have is a Giant security guard that basically said that there was enough responsibility on both sides," Carlson told a group of reporters on Monday. "He confirmed that what he saw was that Garrett Stephenson struck the guy with an open hand. It was not a fist. There was no trauma, visible trauma on the fan.
"He also confirmed, however, that the fan had been doing exactly what I just described (outside the bus). And in California, that's basically kind of a challenging to fight. It's called disturbing the peace. We had sergeants in the area, supervisors. They basically went back (on the bus) with the description of the fan of who had hit him, identified Mr. Stephenson as being on the bus. Because he had gotten back on the bus at that point before our officers got out there."
Carlson said that neither Stephenson nor Richardson was arrested, and he does not expect either one will be.
"We did a police report," Carlson said. "They're both named as suspects and victims. It's a mutual combat. And basically what they're told is, if they want to pursue this any further, that they can each legally go to the district attorney's office and pursue it that way through the prosecutorial system.
"No one at this point has been arrested, nor will be arrested, as far as we're concerned. This is now in the hands of the district attorney. Our investigation is complete. Because this is a holiday, no one could have gone to the district attorney's office and sworn out a warrant even if they wanted to. This is nothing that Mr. Stephenson needs to be worried about being arrested in the dugout or anything like that. We're not going to extradite him from Missouri or wherever he lives."
The Cardinals defended Stephenson's actions, and said that the pitcher will not be disciplined.
"He did what probably any of us would," said general manager Walt Jocketty. "He got off the bus and tried to get somebody's attention. You'd have done the same thing. Anybody in their right mind would have."
Manager Tony La Russa said, "This was a guy who was really really going over the edge as far as his vulgarity and the things he was saying. I'm very pleased that Garrett stood up and told him, give it a rest, there are ladies on this bus and he should shut his mouth."
Jocketty expressed displeasure that the incident got as far as it did. He felt that there should have been a security presence nearby to prevent such an incident.
"It's an unfortunate situation where a few Giants fans had access to, got to our bus and were pounding on it and shouting obscenities at the families. It was completely uncalled for and there was no one there to stop it. It's just unfortunate that a player had to be put in position like that to handle the situation that we should have security for."
Carlson said that the SFPD will have a greater security presence in the parking lot area for Game 5.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. He can be reached at Matthew_H_Leach@yahoo.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.