Fan with laser interrupts Phils, Cards
Search for perpetrator causes delay in seventh inning
PHILADELPHIA -- The Cardinals were irate. The Phillies were confused. And all 45,132 in attendance at Citizens Bank Park sent their eyes to the stands behind the home dugout.
It was a chaotic scene as Saturday's 14-6 Phillies win over the Cardinals was delayed for about five minutes in the seventh inning while security personnel searched for the owner of a green laser pointer, which had been aimed at Cardinals shortstop Julio Lugo and first baseman Albert Pujols.
"It was right in my face," said Lugo, who struck out against Phillies reliever Chan Ho Park. "When I came up to hit, I said, 'What's going on?' I saw the guy. I thought I saw the guy wearing a hat and jersey. Then I didn't see him anymore.
"You think somebody is going to shoot you. With all the things that happen in this crazy world, you never know."
In the eighth inning, another laser was directed at Skip Schumaker, Joe Thurston and Mark DeRosa. Thurston noticed a red dot while batting.
"It was a flash on my leg," he said. "They're trying to get it in my face, but somebody caught it before it got there."
St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said he will not file a formal protest, but the umpires will make note of the situation in their daily report to the league.
"The umpire was concerned," La Russa said. "It's very dangerous. It's not unsportsmanlike. It's dangerous.
"It's a bad, bad situation to get into."
Crew chief Gary Cederstrom said there have been similar incidents this season in St. Petersburg and Los Angeles, as well as in San Diego last year.
Game and ballpark officials discussed making an announcement over the public address system, but ultimately decided against it.
"There was a consideration of one, yes," Cedarstrom said. "We thought we could get the guy [during the first incident]. We knew that we weren't going to get the guy on the second one. We're trying to not put the players in jeopardy and hoping the person doing it would stop."
At first, the Phillies were unaware of what was happening.
"I thought [Lugo] was talking to me or something," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I thought he was mad I did something."
Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, meanwhile, thought his manager was the angry one.
"I didn't see it," Rollins said. "I'm like, 'What is Charlie barking about?'
"We found out what was going on. It's immature. Something that doesn't belong at a ballpark. But unfortunately, sometimes that happens.
Park threw warmup pitches to stay loose during the unusual stoppage. He surrendered a single to Pujols and an RBI double to Matt Holliday that cut the Phillies' lead to 8-5 once play resumed.
David Gurian-Peck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.