On May 16, 2000, several Los Angeles Dodgers players and coaches spilled into the stands at Wrigley Field and were part of a brawl after backup catcher Chad Kreuter was purportedly hit in the head while seated in the bullpen down the right-field line.
Kreuter’s cap was taken, and the fight sparked when he attempted to retrieve it. Making the situation all the more confounding, it occurred in the bottom of the ninth inning. The game was delayed for nearly 10 minutes as umpires and stadium personnel worked to gain control.
The Dodgers hung on for a 6-5 victory, though faced significant penalties as it was later announced 19 players and coaches were suspended for their role in the fight. Kreuter, and coaches Glenn Hoffman, Rick Dempsey and John Shelby each drew the harshest punishment: eight-game suspension.
Each of the suspended members of the Dodgers organization were also fined. The penalties didn’t sit well with the MLB Players Association, particularly when taking into account the fan who stole Kreuter’s cap did not face any legal ramifications.
Three fans involved in the incident were arrested that night. The Dodgers eventually settled a lawsuit with one who claimed Kreuter choked him while another player hit him. In 2003, a Cook County jury awarded $475,000 to the same fan after it determined the Cubs and two employees were guilty on civil charges of malicious prosecution and false imprisonment.
During his postgame comments, then-Dodgers general manager Kevin Malone called for better security and protection of players who used to sit just on the other side of a brick wall.
One day after MLB levied its punishment against the Dodgers, the Cubs announced the number of beer vendors at Wrigley Field were to be reduced 10% and inventory cut by 50% for their last visit into the stands for sales.
Furthermore, beer sales were cut off at the first pitch in the bottom of the sixth inning, rather than the start of the seventh.
The Cubs relocated both bullpens to under the bleachers in left and right field, respectively, in time for the start of the 2017 regular season.
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