Earlier this week, Attorney Gloria Allred went public with allegations Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell verbally abused and threatened Giants fans during a recent Atlanta visit to AT&T Park. McDowell, currently suspended for two weeks by Major League Baseball, is today accused by another ticket holder of, well, ruining a child’s first trip to a big league ballgame. From the SF Chronicle’s Gwen Knapp :
Two days after attending the April 23 game at the Giants’ ballpark, Todd Achondo wrote a two-page letter of complaint, which he mailed to MLB’s Joe Torre, Giants general manager Brian Sabean and Atlanta CEO Terry McGuirk. The letter supports most of Justin Quinn’s allegations about profane and hostile behavior by McDowell during batting practice, although it makes no mention of the explicit homophobic language that Quinn described.
(In an interview, Achondo said he did hear an apparent allusion to San Francisco’s large gay population as McDowell said he would shove a bat up three fans’ backsides: “That’s how you like it here, right?”)
While he prefers a lower-profile approach to the incident than Quinn, who reported it to Giants security, the San Francisco police and then Allred, Achondo wants a more dramatic penalty than Quinn and his lawyer have suggested.
“That guy should never work in baseball again,” he said by phone. “It was that bad. … Gloria’s suggesting sensitivity training. Come on, that’s going to change him? … This is a coach who’s been in the game a long time, not a rookie player.”
Achondo doesn’t believe that McDowell was trying to be his witty old self. “It was like something switched in his brain, and he wasn’t sane,” he said.
The coach apologized for the incident by saying he shouldn’t have “responded to the heckling fans in San Francisco.” Achondo said he heard no profanity, and the incident began with three fans chanting at Atlanta’s David Ross: “We like our Ross better.”
Achondo wrote that the coach, whom he could not identify when he submitted his letter, turned and started shouting that he would “shove this bat up you’re (sic) a-, all the way-yup all three of you.”
After McDowell left, Achondo said, his 7-year-old seemed unusually withdrawn and eventually started to cry. “I didn’t know why, and he just said: ‘I’m hungry,’ ” Achondo said. “My kid doesn’t cry when he’s hungry.”