Tempers flare during ALCS Game 3

Updated: October 13, 2003, 4:26 PM ET
Associated Press

BOSTON -- Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez threw 72-year-old Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer to the ground during a bench-clearing melee that interrupted Game 3 of the AL championship series Saturday.

In a bizarre scene that added even more intensity to baseball's most bitter rivalry, the fight began after Martinez threw behind Karim Garcia's head in the top of the fourth inning.

Martinez' bean ball came after Hideki Matsui's RBI double broke a 2-2 tie.

The umpire ruled that the ball hit Garcia in the back and awarded him first base. He then issued a warning to both dugouts about throwing inside.

"There's no question in my mind that Pedro hit him on purpose,'' Yankees' manager Joe Torre said in a postgame interview. "I didn't care for that."

Once on first, Garcia ran for second on an Alfonso Soriano at bat, sliding hard past second and knocking down second baseman Todd Walker. The two began shoving each other, and both teams emerged from their dugouts, yelling. Zimmer and Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, Clemens appeared to be particularly vocal.

Two umpires pulled Clemens aside as he went to the mound for the bottom of the inning.

Roger Clemens then threw up and in to Manny Ramirez, and the Boston slugger shouted at the pitcher while raising his bat, though Yankee manager Joe Torre insisted later that the pitch was not meant to brush Ramirez back.

Both benches cleared again, and Zimmer headed for Martinez and lunged at him. Martinez sidestepped, grabbed Zimmer by the head with both hands and tossed him to the ground. Zimmer landed face down and rolled over on his back.

"We've upgraded from a battle to a war," Boston manager Grady Little said.

The game was delayed for 10 minutes, but nobody was ejected.

After his run-in with Martinez, Zimmer remained on the ground and Yankees trainer Gene Monahan treated him for what appeared to be a cut on his head.

Sitting in the dugout, Zimmer had a small bandage on his nose. Later, he was smiling and laughing.

"I was more surprised to see Zim get across the field that fast," Jason Giambi said later. "You don't spend as many years as he has in the game without getting involved."

After play resumed, Ramirez struck out on the next Clemens' pitch.

Zimmer, who has been in professional baseball for 54 years, was the Red Sox manager in 1978 when they lost to the Yankees in a one-game playoff for the AL East title, the game that featured Bucky Dent's famous home run.

Zimmer has a plate in his head, the result of a 1953 beaning.

To keep the crowd calm after the "scrum," as Joe Torre described it, the baseball commissioner's office and the Red Sox immediately cut off beer sales in the ballpark.

But the fighting wasn't over.

There was a skirmish in the Yankees' bullpen in the middle of the ninth inning, one that appeared to involve a member of the Boston grounds crew. Garcia, New York's right fielder, cut his hand and was replaced by Juan Rivera.

After the game Zimmer was taken away on a stretcher, placed in an ambulance and taken to the hospital for examination. He came away with only a cut on the bridge of his nose.

Zimmer had nothing to say afterward -- except to note with satisfaction that, "We won the game."

Martinez told ESPN Radio after the game that he is "completely" shocked by what happened on the field Saturday. He said Zimmer tried to hit him, so he tried to push him away. Martinez emphasized that he would never hit Zimmer.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE