First baseman gets trapped, delays game 20 minutes

Updated: May 13, 2004, 9:11 AM ET
Associated Press

The wait for the bathroom never was supposed to be this long.

Former big leaguer Jeff Liefer got locked inside a dugout bathroom, forcing a 20-minute delay in Thursday night's Triple-A game between the Indianapolis Indians and Louisville.

"I went to the restroom, a perfectly normal thing to do during the game," Liefer said Friday. "When I went to leave, the handle didn't want to work on the door, so I was stuck."

Indians teammate Matt Erickson was waiting in line and heard the first baseman say he was trapped.

The umpires agreed to delay the start of the fourth inning while maintenance workers at the Indianapolis ballpark opened a vent above the door and handed Liefer tools to unscrew the handle.

When Liefer and the Indians ran back onto the field, a gift of toilet paper was waiting from the Louisville dugout.

During the delay, fans at Victory Field were told something was going on.

"They announced that an Indians player was being temporarily detained in the clubhouse, which can be interpreted a million different ways, I suppose," Liefer told WTHR-TV.

"The place erupted when I came back out on the field," he said. "When I got back out there everybody knew what happened. Maybe it just kind of spread, I don't know."

Liefer, 29, was a 1995 first-round pick by the Chicago White Sox and played in the majors for them from 1999-02. Last season, he split time between Montreal and Tampa Bay.

"Maybe his California lifestyle had something to do with him getting locked in there, I don't know," former Montreal teammate Jamey Carroll said before the Expos' game against Los Angeles on Friday night.

"I hope he's not too damaged from it. I'm going to have to make a phone call to see how he's recovering. But that's definitely going in the memory bank, and it'll be pulled out when he gets called up."

Said former Expos teammate Brian Schneider: "I mean, I might be embarrassed if that happened to me, but Lief's a great dude, and that's a good story right there."

Entering this weekend, Liefer was batting .328 with a team-leading 15 RBIs and three homers for the Milwaukee Brewers' affiliate in the International League.

Perhaps his previous most memorable moment came in 2002 with Chicago. After Mike Cameron had already hit four home runs in the game, he sent a long drive to right field that Liefer caught on the run at the front of the warning track.

"I don't want to be remembered as the guy who got stuck in the bathroom," Liefer said. "Hopefully, it will happen to someone else so it won't be such a big deal."


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press