Anthony Rendon ‘can’t comment’ on fan altercation in Oakland; new video surfaces
OAKLAND, Calif. - Anthony Rendon wasn’t very talkative Saturday, two days after video surfaced of the Los Angeles Angels All-Star appearing to take a swipe at an Oakland fan after a 2-1 opening day loss to the Athletics.
"I’m sorry. I can’t comment," the third baseman told a throng of reporters Saturday at the end of a news conference on the field at the Oakland Coliseum that lasted fewer than five minutes. MLB said Friday it was looking into the incident.
Rendon went hitless and struck out twice in three at-bats on Thursday. He left the Angels dugout and was on his way to the tunnel leading to the clubhouse when he stopped and apparently confronted a fan sitting near the railing.
Rendon accused the fan of calling him a slur.
The man denied it, and Rendon cussed at the fan and took a swipe at him with his left hand before walking away. Someone nearby caught the incident on video and posted it on social media. Another fan captured another angle of the altercation.
"This happens a lot unfortunately," Angels manager Phil Nevin said. "A lot of times we just don’t see it. You’re going to hear things all the time. You hear a lot. Right now, I just don’t want to comment on the incident involving Anthony or anything that goes along with it."
When asked why he couldn’t comment, Nevin pointed to MLB’s ongoing investigation. Nevin also did not think the situation would be a lingering distraction to his players.
"For the moment maybe. But no I don’t think so," Nevin said. "One thing I’ve said all along is we’ve got a great group in there. The one thing that I was most proud of last year and then continuing through the spring is the way this team has bonded and gelled together. And they’re all going to stand together now."
As Rendon jogged onto the field for pregame warm-ups, he was asked what the climate was between him and the fans.
"Sorry," Rendon said as he shrugged his shoulders and ran away to work out.
Oakland Police Department said it is investigating a battery but no victim has come forward, despite surveillance video of the incident surfacing.
A's fans gathered Saturday ahead of the game against the Angels and reacted to the heated interaction caught on camera.
"You shouldn't reach out and grab a fan and be physical with him, c'mon," Jeff Peterson of Manteca said. "It's really making the Angels as an organization look bad too and baseball players in general."
It's not the first time. The Angels had a bench-clearing brawl last season with the Seattle Mariners. Rendon was seen in a cast as he recovered from a wrist injury using his left arm and hand to get physical with Mariner's former outfielder Jesse Winker. It earned him a five-game suspension.
Rendon was booed when he first stepped up to the plate at the Oakland Coliseum Saturday.
"A lot of times you hear a lot of back-talk from the fans but you really don't react," former San Francisco Giants pitcher Bill Laskey said. "I think they need to put some more police on that tunnel because you walk right out of the dugout and you go right through the fan base. That's a hard way to exit the field. It has been a problem for many years."
A's fans said there is plenty of blame to go around, including the fan who caused Rendon to lose his temper.
"If he's using vulgarity, especially in a family atmosphere, he should be kicked out of the game," Darrell Leffler of San Jose said. "I was hoping the Coliseum would do that."
"Do I think [the fan] was inappropriate, absolutely, but players have to be thick-skinned," Peterson said. "They're in this business. They know they're going to get booed and all that other stuff. You've just got to keep walking and ignore it."
KTVU's Brooks Jarosz contributed to this report.