Beating a Dead House
An eyewitness account of the House/Sheffield incident from a friend of ours who says she was there:
Here is my view on what happened on that infamous night of “the scuffle”. When Jason Varitek hit a ball into the corner of right field, fans were leaning over into the field and sweeping at the ball. The ball was bouncing along low to the ground and out of reach of the fans. Chris House was sitting on the left of me (Linda). When the ball came closer to where we were sitting, Sheffield bent over attempting to field the ball. It seemed Chris House was swiping at the ball while Sheffield was trying to field the ball. I don’t even think House was even looking at Sheffield. I was watching the whole play. Everything happened so quickly. At that moment, it didn’t seem House even touched Sheffield. If anything he might have slightly touched or brushed the side of Sheffield’s face or hat. I didn’t hear a
whack or slap while the incident occurred and no verbal
reaction from Sheffield. This makes me believe that it was not a direct hit. I feel if Sheffield seriously got punched in the mouth as he states he did (Sheffield stated he thought his lip was busted), he would have jumped into the stands, no question. And the scuffle would have been much more violent.
Sheffield picked up the ball, while ball in hand, he charged at the fan and pushed him back, then turned around to throw the ball back into the infield. When Sheffield pushed House, House pushed me and I landed on my side along the seats and still have a bruise on my leg to remind me of the altercation. I was truly frightened when I saw Sheffield coming after House. All I could think of is Sheffield rubs that “crème” on his knee.
As I landed along the seats I looked up at my friend Helen, who had fell to my right, and saw a look of horror on her face. Helen’s expression made me start laughing. After Sheffield threw the ball back into the infield, Sheffield turned around and again went after House. This is when the security guard came to intervene. To get away from the scuffle, I grabbed my friend Helen and we made our way over to the visitor’s bullpen until everything settle down near our seats.
A fan should not interfere with a play, but it's a fan reaction that occurs sometimes. Does it make it right? NO. Red Sox (including myself) and Yankee fans close to the incident felt there was no malicious intent on House’s part. But I do believe House is in the wrong for interfering with the play. But I also believe Sheffield was wrong in the way he reacted.
He made contact with House. Someone could seriously have got injured.
Sheffield is a big guy and House is not the smallest guy either. My friend and I were afraid we were going to get hit in the scuffle. We're lucky my friend and I (members of Red Sox Nation) were not seriously injured.
To get the facts straight, my friend and I were not with Gap boy or Chris House. I am in on season tickets in the section where the incident
occurred. I do know Chris House from just sitting next to him during
games. He seems like a decent guy. I’ve never had problems with him.
Also, my friend and I were not drunk. I had 1 ½ beers all game, my friend the same. If anything, over eaters to put it nicely, we had 2 Fenway Franks each and popcorn that night. ;-) It’s funny how the media can twist and develop a fictional story more than the factual story.