The bullpen becomes a boxing ring
The 2003 playoffs were not a pleasant experience for the Red Sox, who eventually saw hopes of burying the curse evaporate, but Game Three of the ALCS saw not the fans but the bullpen get involved. In this instance, a groundskeeper had a verbal exchange with the Yankee's pen.
The war of words quickly escalated and became a classic he said, she said when arrests and court appearances followed. Outfielder Karim Garcia and pitcher Jeff Nelson were pinched for their actions along with groundskeeper Paul Williams, who attained cult status for his actions.
Nelson was a career relief specialist who never made a start in 798 games. The Yankees picked up Nelson to provide some needed bullpen depth. Nelson was granted free agency after the season and finished a 15-year career in 2006.
Garcia - a lefty hitter - was purchased from the Cleveland Indians in June to provide outfield support and a bat off the bench. Garcia did his part, hitting .305 for the Yankees but switched sides in 2004, becoming a Met.
The case was sketchy at best, and both Garcia and Nelson were sentenced to 50 hours of community service and anger management for their involvement. The court believed the cleat wounds on Williams were not self-inflicted.
A tragic footnote to this scuffle is a more severe situation that resulted in a fatality. A Yankee fan was charged with second-degree murder and driving under the influence after ramming her car into a group of people. This resulted from a verbal altercation between a Yankee fan and a group of Red Sox fans "enjoying" the game at a New Hampshire bar.