Pretty Ugly Batteries Thrown At Drew Ruin Phillies' Thrilling Victory A Win-lose Situation Phillies' Rally Is Marred By Drew Incident

Posted: August 11, 1999

The Phillies won the game.

Mark McGwire had to leave it.

No one will remember either of those things.

Instead, last night's Phillies-Cardinals matchup at Veterans Stadium will be remembered as the baseball game where an Eagles game broke out.

With McGwire making but one plate appearance before taking a seat to tend to his always-troublesome back, the game turned into a one-trick pony. J.D. Drew, the pony who is more akin to another member of the equine family in the minds of most Philadelphia denizens, got his first start in the city he spurned and the fans got their first chance at a public flogging.

Happy most of the night with just good-natured booing, some fans turned ugly in the eighth with the home team turning in a lackluster performance and trailing by two runs. Two batteries were hurles in Drew's direction and the outfield was littered with debris until St. Louis manager Tony La Russa pulled his entire outfield during a pitching change. La Russa held his outfielders in the dugout five minutes until public-address announcer Dan Baker, under direction from the umpires, said the game would be forfeited if fans continued to throw things onto the field.

"Someone threw a roll of paper and then I saw a battery come out," said second base umpire Ed Montague, adding that he confiscated two D-sized batteries. "Once that happens, it takes the fun out of the game. It could kill someone from that height."

The incident incited the Cardinals, particularly La Russa, who said afterward, "I hope that precedent is set. If someone throws batteries, the Phillies lose."

It also embarrassed the Phillies, who were delighted to see a crowd of 48,514, the third-largest of the season.

"If that hits one of the players, there's no telling what kind of damage it does," said Ron Gant, whose three-run double in the Phillies' five-run eighth sparked a 7-5 victory, but was overshadowed by the Energizer assault. "Someone would surely go to the hospital. That's just a disgrace."

When the game ended, Phillies manager Terry Francona apologized to St. Louis trainer Barry Weinberg, figuring La Russa would be in no mood to talk. Francona hoped to apologize to La Russa in person today.

"It's just disappointing," Francona said. "We get a huge crowd, very vocal, and then you get a couple of dummies who mess it up for everybody. We all have different opinions on J.D. Drew, but no matter what they are, that shouldn't happen to anybody."

Surprisingly, the only person who seemed relatively unfazed by the incident was Drew. He gamely trotted back out to centerfield after the announcement - and before his fellow outfielders took the field.

"I heard some rumors around that they do that every now and then," he said of the batteries. "I was hoping in the back of my mind that it wouldn't get to that, but a couple of them came down. I think the umpires did a good job in the way they handled it."

Somehow, the whole fiasco seemed to light a fire under the Phillies. Whether they were fearful of batteries coming in their own direction or not, they launched a rally to win the game.

They needed it. Up until the eighth, they looked as if they were playing on low batteries.

They got a yeoman effort from Robert Person, who lacked his best stuff but somehow lasted six innings. He gave up four runs, three of them unearned after a Scott Rolen error, and the Phillies trailed, 5-2, entering the bottom of the eighth. The heart of the order made like the Tin Man en route to Oz, and the fans were turning their boos on their own team.

That deficit and the absence of McGwire were bad enough. What added insult to injury was Drew's success at the plate. He roped a shot to right-center in the third, then blazed around the bases as if the Philly fans were chasing him, easily stretching a double into a triple. He added an RBI single in the eighth.

But in the bottom of the eighth, Marlon Anderson drew a one-out walk and Alex Arias scored Anderson with a double to right, putting the Phillies within striking distance. La Russa decided to yank Manny Aybar in favor of former Phillie Ricky Bottalico. Somewhere in the midst of that and Bottalico's warmup pitches, the batteries came cascading from the heavens.

"Bottalico was left standing out there a little while," Francona said. "That's hard, and I know if I was on the other side, I'd be mad."

The distraction and the time evidently got to Bottalico. He walked Kevin Jordan and Doug Glanville, setting the table for Gant, obtained in the November trade that sent Bottalico to St. Louis.

The former Cardinal, who made no bones about his feelings toward the franchise and La Russa when he left St. Louis, exacted his revenge by blasting a double to right-center, scoring three. One out later, Rolen singled in Gant and the Phils could put their three-game losing streak to bed.

"My first year there, I helped take the team to the playoffs, so they know what type of player I am," Gant said. "They knew I had injuries and I knew that once I got through them, what I could do. So did they. I had nothing to prove to them."

Send e-mail to pennetd@phillynews.com

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