Possibility of gun fired inside ballpark ‘terrifying,’ White Sox player rep says

Chicago
By Chicago 5 Min Read

BALTIMORE — White Sox players didn’t know two fans in the left-field bleachers were struck by gunfire during the bottom of the fourth inning of their game Friday against the Athletics at Guaranteed Rate Field until after the game.

Three days later, the startling news about what went down still was sinking in.

‘‘Oh, yeah, I mean, 30 yards behind us,’’ left fielder Andrew Benintendi told the Sun-Times. ‘‘So that’s closer than you want it to be.’’

What exactly happened still was getting unraveled Monday, but interim Police Supt. Fred Waller said investigators have ‘‘almost completely dispelled’’ a theory that one or more bullets were fired from outside the stadium, wounding two women.

‘‘But we’re still looking at every avenue,’’ Waller said. ‘‘It’s still under investigation.’’

Reliever Aaron Bummer, the Sox’ union representative, echoed what most players said before the team opened a three-game series Monday against the Orioles: They didn’t know what happened until after the game, then turned their trust to the decision-makers, he said, including the Sox, MLB and the police department, to make the right decisions with the safety of players and fans in mind.

But knowing the gunfire didn’t come from outside the ballpark was ‘‘terrifying,’’ Bummer told the Sun-Times.

‘‘That’s crazy to think that is a possibility,’’ Bummer said. ‘‘It’s scary. If there is a gun going off in the ballpark, it’s terrifying. They’re still gathering information, so hopefully that’s not the case.’’

Players are given some sense of security knowing that fans pass through detectors and that other measures of security are in place.

‘‘If there was a gun brought in the ballpark, there needs to be changes because that’s not acceptable,’’ Bummer said. ‘‘From what I know, they’re going through the checklist of things. We have to trust [team officials, police and security] and make sure they’re making the right decisions. That’s the only thing we can do.’’

‘‘We have multiple layers of security in place to make sure our fans have a safe and fun experience at the ballpark,’’ Sox vice president for communications Scott Reifert said when asked whether fans can feel safe coming back to the ballpark when the team returns home Friday. ‘‘We designate a lot of human and technological resources to keeping our fans as safe as possible while at the ballpark.’’

The scene around the bleachers where the incident occurred was under control. When fights or disturbances break out among fans, players take notice, like everyone else. But this was eerily more serious. And different.

‘‘We had no idea till after the game,’’ first baseman Andrew Vaughn said. ‘‘It seems like a freak thing, something I’ve never seen in my lifetime. It was handled well. There was no chaos, and we finished the game.’’

In hindsight, everyone is asking whether the game should have been called.

‘‘I’m no law-enforcement guy,’’ Vaughn said. ‘‘Not my call.’’

‘‘It’s not for us to decide, I guess, so it is what it is,’’ Benintendi said. ‘‘It’s crazy. Hopefully, that never happens again. At the time, I didn’t even know what was going on. A lot of guys were just confused.’’

Reliever Tanner Banks pitched the fifth, sixth and seventh innings ‘‘not knowing we were in harm’s way, so we kept going about our business,’’ he said.

‘‘Afterwards, we still don’t know how it happened. But it was a little bit of, ‘Should we be worried? Should we be concerned?’ But you feel like you would have heard a gunshot. Stadiums get loud but not that loud.’’

Reliever Bryan Shaw pitched the last two innings, also unaware of what had happened.

‘‘So everything was fine,’’ he said. ‘‘The stories and [information] change all the time. It is what it is.’’

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