New York fans littered Yankee Stadium with so much debris during the first two games of the series that Seattle Manager Lou Piniella, fearing for his players' safety, pulled his team off the field in Game 2.
Mariner pitcher Chris Bosio said he said he was "bombarded with soda, beer, money and batteries," while warming up in the bullpen for Game 1, and second baseman Joey Cora was almost hit by a golf ball.
Seattle fans Friday night were a lot more tame . . . but had remarkable aim. After Tino Martinez's two-run homer in the fifth inning gave the Mariners a 2-1 lead, a few objects--including a tomato--flew out of the bleachers, and Yankee right fielder Gerald Williams was struck in the mouth by a quarter.
The Kingdome public address announcer warned fans that Seattle "could have to forfeit the game if objects are thrown on the field." It was hardly an idle threat--the Dodgers had to forfeit an Aug. 10 game against St. Louis because fans tossed souvenir baseballs onto the field.
The message got through and there were no further incidents delaying the game--and the fan who tossed the tomato was found, ejected, arrested, charged with malicious mischief and fined $500.
Yankee owner George Steinbrenner has done his share of umpire-bashing this series, going so far as to call the officiating in Game 2 Wednesday night "disgraceful" and saying American League President Gene Budig should "stand up and give some answers."
Steinbrenner was particularly displeased with two close calls at first base that went the Mariners' way, and several of the balls-and-strikes calls by home-plate ump Dale Scott in the 15-inning game.
But Marty Springstead, American League executive director of umpiring, defended the officiating crew and didn't expect Steinbrenner's blasts to affect how he or the league assigns umpires in the playoffs.
"You just don't pay attention to that," Springstead, said. "How can you respond when what he says doesn't even make sense?"
Third baseman Wade Boggs leads the Yankees with a .324 average, and right fielder Paul O'Neill is batting .300 with a team-leading 96 RBIs, but neither left-handed hitter was in the starting lineup against Randy Johnson Friday.
"They both want to play, but it's my decision," Yankee Manager Buck Showalter said. "We've had our share of success against Randy with this lineup, and that's what we're going to continue to do."