PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Mets outfielders Karim Garcia and Shane Spencer allegedly were involved in a drunken altercation with teenage boys outside a local pizzeria Thursday night, according to eyewitnesses, in a confrontation that began when Garcia was caught urinating in a parking lot.
The two former Yankees were not arrested and no charges have been filed, but that did not lessen the concern of the Mets. They were conducting their own investigation, which could be followed by disciplinary action against Garcia and Spencer. "We'll be looking at it internally," general manager Jim Duquette said.
As of late Friday night, the Mets were still gathering information about the incident, and Rob Kasdon, the club's vice president of security, was interviewing witnesses at Big Apple Pizza, a small Italian restaurant in a strip mall roughly three miles from Tradition Field.
The timing of Thursday's fracas could not be worse for Garcia, who already was waiting for a Boston judge to decide whether he will face misdemeanor assault charges for his role in the bullpen brawl that took place during Game 3 of the American League Championship Series Oct. 11 at Fenway Park. Garcia, along with former Yankees reliever Jeff Nelson, also is being sued by Fenway groundskeeper Paul Williams for more than $33,000 for lost wages and medical bills.
After playing two innings Friday night, Garcia said of Thursday's events: "I really don't have anything to say about it. Nothing at all."
When asked if he is worried about the implications of his ongoing legal matters, Garcia shook his head and said, "No." Spencer was not available for comment Friday.
As for Thursday's incident, two of the teenagers, Joshua Morrison, 17, and James Bellow, 17, described a drunken Garcia "stumbling" out of Duffy's, a sports bar adjacent to Big Apple Pizza, and then urinating directly in front of the pizzeria. Both referred to Garcia as obviously intoxicated, and Bellow, who was taking in the restaurant's furniture, was the first to notice Garcia urinating behind the passenger side door of his cream-colored Hummer.
"I yelled at him, 'Dude, you can't do that here,"' Bellow said. "Then he looked at me, he winked and says to me, 'You want to have some fun?' Then the manager came out and started yelling at him."
At that point, a woman with Garcia told him to get in the car, according to Bellow, and the two started to drive away along with Spencer and another female companion. But one of the pizzeria's deliverymen, Eric Fidal, 18, chased after the Hummer, which abruptly stopped. Both Garcia and Spencer jumped out, according to Bellow and Morrison, with Garcia immediately coming after Fidal with arms swinging.
Bellow and Morrison said Fidal was frozen as the charging players came toward him, then backpedaled into a bush as Garcia toppled onto him. Fidal was not available for comment Friday, but the two teenagers said he suffered some scratches from the clash with Garcia.
Police did not initially respond to the parking-lot skirmish, but eyewitnesses said the Hummer was pulled over at a Burger King down the road. Neither Garcia nor Spencer was driving the vehicle, according to the two teenagers, and it is unknown if any summonses were issued.
Friday's unveiling of the newly renovated Tradition Field was supposed to signify a new direction for the Mets, but less than an hour before the game's first pitch, Duquette stood in front of the refurbished clubhouse and announced that Garcia and Spencer had been involved in a "confrontation" with local residents the previous night outside a nearby pizzeria.
When the bullpen thing happened, I said it like this....the employee shouldnt have mouthed off, but if Nelson threw the first punch, he was dead wrong. Words are one thing, but when you escalate it to violence, whoever threw the first punch is wrong, and that will come out in court eventually you hope when things get sorted out.
It just seems like Garcia's getting a bit of a reputation as a hothead. He also seems to like it when the odds are 2 or more against 1.
Part of me wants to see this guy get cut by the Mets even if it means Cedeno playing RF everyday :o
Originally posted by PFSIKH@Mar 7 2004, 08:41 AM If Nelson has such thin skin, he should not be in sports.
Yeah...kinda like thick-skinned, thick-headed Pedro huh? It doesn't take a lot of brains to keep your mouth closed after seeing one of your pitchers throw Zimmer to the ground then hide behind another player. I was pulling for the Sawx until that moment too. You enter the enemy's bullpen and mouth off you should get your ass kicked. It's defending your teammates. One pitcher hits an opposing player, the next inning...guess what? Don't believe me...try this with soccer mom's. As far as Garcia goes...hey...you can take the boy out of the barrio...
Originally posted by Maxman+Mar 7 2004, 04:40 PM--></span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Maxman @ Mar 7 2004, 04:40 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin--PFSIKH@Mar 7 2004, 08:41 AM B - Your in Bah-ston. It is not to hard to imagine a groundskeeper would be pro-Red Sox. If Nelson has such thin skin, he should not be in sports.
That certainly goes for the fans...but not for team employees. The Yankee stadium grounds crew is there to take care of the field and thats it. [/b][/quote]
I thought the Yankees grounds crew was there to prance around to "YMCA," a 25-year-old song that's only played at lame weddings and Sweet 16 parties... :lol:
Most athletes know better than to mix it up with the hired help around the stadium. Let's face it, a lot of those part-time stadium guys aren't pillars of the community (and that includes some "security" personnel). The best thing Nelson could have done was focus on the actual game. Who cares if some part-time groundskeeper is mouthing off? Your boy Nelson had rabbit ears. Just by responding, he let the guy get the best of him.
And Garcia is nothing more than a common street punk. He had a reputation for having alcohol-related problems even when he was with the Indians. The Mets should go ahead and cut ties with this clown.
Originally posted by mbn007+Mar 8 2004, 03:19 PM--></span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (mbn007 @ Mar 8 2004, 03:19 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin--Icer@Mar 8 2004, 12:52 AM What can I say?
(I know...not typical but the point still stands! ex-yanks)
Why don't you say typical ex-Yankees? Sounds like sour grapes from a dejected Mets fan to me. [/b][/quote]
You damn right I'm a dejected Mets fan.