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Ball coach chastised for on-field obscenities

April 27, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Members of a California family cry foul over their treatment by a Major League Baseball coach. They claim a former Dodger pitcher made homophobic comments and threatened to knock out a father's teeth at a game in San Francisco.

Fresno resident Justin Quinn says there were dozens of young children nearby when Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell lost his temper, first with some hecklers, and then with Quinn. After what happened on opening day at Dodger Stadium, Quinn says he wasn't sure he could feel safe at the ballpark.

"It was almost a shocking moment because I just didn't expect to see that on a baseball field Saturday afternoon," said Quinn.

Quinn, father of twin girls, says what was supposed to be their family's special yearly outing to a baseball game the Saturday before Easter turned into a frightening ordeal for him and his 9-year-old daughters.

"I hope you never go to a baseball game where you are in a bad situation like I was," said daughter Kylynn Quinn.

According to Quinn, he and his daughters were watching batting practice on the field of AT&T Park in San Francisco on April 23, hoping to catch a few balls, when the Braves' pitching coach Roger McDowell hurled homophobic comments at three hecklers and made crude sexual gestures with his hips and a bat.

But it got worse when Quinn says he spoke up to remind the coach children were present.

"The coach replied, 'Kids don't [expletive] belong at the baseball park,'" said Quinn's attorney, Gloria Allred.

"At that point he turned completely towards me, grabbed his bat, picked it up and asked me how much my teeth were worth to me," said Quinn.

Quinn says he felt threatened and tried to defuse the situation, but later reported the incident to a Giants representative and filed a police report.

Wednesday afternoon, Allred sent Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig a letter urging the league to take disciplinary action.

The Atlanta Braves organization released a statement: "We are concerned by these allegations and the behavior described by a witness today. This in no way represents the Braves organization and the conduct we expect of our employees."

Roger McDowell also released statement: "I am deeply sorry that I responded to the heckling fans in San Francisco on Saturday. I apologize to everyone for my actions."

McDowell was a pitcher with the New York Mets in 1986 when they won the World Series. He played with the Dodgers from 1991 to 1994.