The Washington Nationals may have just booked their first trip to the World Series but the heated series taking place between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees has caused some serious friction in the stands when an Astros season ticket holder attacked a Yankees fan in the stands.
A 73-year-old season ticket holder, nicknamed “The Judge” because he is a former Justice of the Peace, was arrested for slapping a Yankees fan sitting near him five times at the end of Sunday’s Game 2 of the AL Championship series.
“The Judge”, whose actual name is James Warren Dinkins, has allegedly been known to argue with fellow Astros fans. He has since been charged with assault causing bodily injury, according to ABC News’ Houston station KTRK.
Lea Menchaca, who was sitting in the same section as Dinkins and the man he assaulted, 21-year-old Manuel Bitolas, witnessed the incident occur in the 9th inning of Sunday’s game in Houston.
"[Dinkins] reached back and slammed him on the face, five times, like repeated five-time slap," said Menchaca. "He's a big guy with long arms, so he just reached back and slapped him on the face.”
Menchaca said that she has seen Dinkins at Minute Maid Park previously.
"It gets old. Like every time someone cheers, whether it's for the Astros or against the Astros, I get nervous," said Menchaca. "I don't know if this guy was going to react. It makes it unenjoyable for everyone around him."
Bitolas, who was attending the game with his mother, said that while he was cheering on the Yankees, he ended up exchanging words with Dinkins which he allegedly thought were well-humored not realizing that Dinkins was actually angry.
"I told him something and patted his shoulder and he said, 'Don't f-ing touch me,” Bitolas told KTRK over the phone. "I bent over to get my drink and he like hit me. And I was kind of surprised about it."
Asked what through his mind when Dinkins began assaulting him, Bitolas said, “He’s an old man so I can’t really do much.”
The assault was captured on ballpark surveillance cameras, according to Nathan Beedle, Chief of Misdemeanor for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
"I have not seen an assault in the stands happen, which is why the allegation is so concerning," said Beedle. "I would just say common sense is not to be touching anyone else period, generally. I would stick away from that, regardless of the venue."
Bitolas said that he and his mother reported the incident to nearby police officers who eventually questioned and then arrested Dinkins.
Bitolas also said that he and his mother left the game right after he was assaulted while the game was tied.
“It just wasn’t worth it,” he said.
According to court records obtained by ABC News, Dinkins was released on a $100 bond in the case.
The Astros currently lead the Yankees by 2 games to 1 in the American League Championship Series. Game 4 is set for tonight in New York.
The winner will take on the Washington Nationals in the World Series beginning on Oct. 22.