University of Kansas

KU baseball players leave dugout during spat at Missouri State game

KU baseball team rushes to stands while fans scuffle

The Kansas Jayhawks baseball team rushed to the stands where fans were fighting during a night game against the Missouri State Bears on May 2, 2018 in Springfield, Missouri.
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The Kansas Jayhawks baseball team rushed to the stands where fans were fighting during a night game against the Missouri State Bears on May 2, 2018 in Springfield, Missouri.

Twitter video emerged Wednesday night of Kansas baseball players leaving the dugout and heading a few steps down the right-field line to check on a scuffle in the stands during the third inning of the Jayhawks’ 9-4 victory over Missouri State at Hammons Field in Springfield, Mo.

According to witnesses’ Twitter posts, words were exchanged between four Missouri State students and a KU fan (possibly a parent of one of the KU players) seated in the first couple rows behind a rolled-up tarp. Two of the MSU fans were ejected from the facility. No arrests were made. No KU fans were ejected.

The incident took place during a delay in the third inning when the home plate umpire became ill and wound up leaving the game.

As far as the players … a media member tweeted that based on what he saw, KU players were trying to pull a teammate “back onto the field after he climbed in the first row at the end of the fray.”

Blaine Wheeler, a reporter covering the game for The Standard student newspaper, said it was difficult to see if a KU player actually was in the stands. At least one video showed no KU player in the stands. No Missouri State players made their way toward the tarp to see what was happening.

“One of the Kansas guys was standing on the tarp making sure nothing came across,” Wheeler told The Star. “I don’t think they ended up getting in the stands. There might have been a grab or two across it (tarp).

“The umpires didn’t seem to care too much about it. They probably saw (MSU) students were in the wrong in the crowd,” Wheeler added. “None of it affected the game much. It was a blip, very odd. Basically, from what I gathered, it wasn’t too intense.”

Here’s how Wheeler’s report of the incident read in his game story in The Standard: “During the delay, a scuffle between Missouri State students and Kansas fans down the right-field line caused the Kansas bench to clear.

“The students — who were escorted out by officers immediately after — said they were ‘chirping’ just like any other game and a Kansas ‘dad’ took offense to it. A beer was knocked out of one's hand on the front row and the Kansas dugout cleared to be a part of the situation down the right field line. No players entered the stands during the altercation due to a tarp located in front of the fight. A few moments later, umpires mosied over to calm the situation. No players were removed from the game.”

Asked about the incident on Thursday, KU associate AD Jim Marchiony said: “You could say that our players were obviously concerned because this was occurring where their parents were sitting. I would say it resolved itself pretty quickly and the Missouri State coach apologized to Ritch (Price, KU coach) after the game. As far as we’re concerned it’s over.”

A statement from MSU athletics was provided to The Star:

“There was an altercation in the stands during Wednesday’s MSU baseball game against Kansas at Hammons Field. Springfield Police Department officers, who are always on duty for home games, reacted quickly and professionally to defuse the situation in a timely manner. One fan (later corrected in a second e-mail to two fans) was ejected from the facility, and no players were involved in the altercation. Missouri State University remains committed to providing a safe and family-friendly environment for all home athletic events.”