Umpire Attacked by Fan in Chicago

April 16, 2003 -- CHICAGO — A fan came out of the stands during Tuesdaynight's game between the Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Soxand attacked first base umpire Laz Diaz. Security and players cameto Diaz's aid and the fan was quickly taken away.

Immediately after Carlos Lee flied out to right to end theeighth inning, the fan ran on the field and tried to tackle Diaz,wrapping his arms around the umpire's legs.

Chicago Police spokeswoman Officer Alice Casanova said the man,whom she did not identify, was taken to St. Anthony's Hospital inChicago for treatment of minor injuries, but the hospital would notconfirm that.

Police will determine if he will be charged with a misdemeanoror felony based upon Diaz's injuries, Casanova said.

"I'm physically OK," Diaz said after the Royals won 8-5. "I think you should talk to the other guy and see how he's feeling.

"When I looked over, there was one of the fans from the stands and I just got him off me. I just turned around and got him off me. The good hand-to-hand combat they taught me worked."

It was the first appearance by the Royals in Chicago since coachTom Gamboa was pummeled by a father and son, who came out of thestands last September.

Three times earlier Tuesday night, the game was delayed whenfans ran onto the field before being tackled by security guards.

U.S. Cellular Field, formerly Comiskey Park, will host the All-Star Game on July 15.

Gamboa tried to downplay his return to the field when interviewed before the game.

"I haven't given it a thought really," he said. "Lightning doesn't strike twice."

Gamboa, 55, is now Kansas City's bullpen coach. He has tried to put the attack behind him, but onephysical problem lingers from the beating.

"I have a minor hearing loss in my right ear. I was testedthree times and assured it would be nothing degenerative," Gamboasaid.

The boy, 15 at the time, was sentenced to five years ofprobation and also ordered to undergo mandatory counseling andperform 30 hours of community service.

Gamboa appeared at a sentencing hearing and suggested the boyreceive probation and community service because he had already beenheld for a month in juvenile detention after the attack. Bothprosecutors and defense attorneys agreed with that suggestion.

The boy was arrested along with his father, William Ligue Jr.,who initially pleaded innocent to charges of aggravated battery andmob action. The case is still pending.

"The most disturbing thing I've seen in baseball recently," White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said Tuesday.

Gamboa, a former coach with the Chicago Cubs, reiterated thatsports fans in the city shouldn't be judged by what happened tohim.

"It's a great sports city and no one incident or what two guysdid would tarnish that," Gamboa said.

"It's over and done with as far as I'm concerned."

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