BRIDGEPORT — Long Island Ducks shortstop and former major league All-Star Jose Offerman attacked Bridgeport Bluefish starting pitcher Matt Beech with a bat in the second inning of Tuesday's game at Harbor Yard, delaying the game 17 minutes.
Both Beech and Bluefish catcher John Nathans were injured by Offerman, who was struck by a pitch and rushed the mound. Offerman was later arrested. A source said he was charged with second-degree assault and faces a $10,000 bond.
Offerman, a former Bluefish, homered on the first pitch of the game by Beech. An inning later, Offerman was hit on his left calf by an 0-and-1 pitch. He immediately charged the mound, wielding his bat in his right hand. Beech, who had his arms outstretched in an attempt to defend himself, was struck on the fingertips of his pitching hand as both benches immediately emptied.
Nathans was in the middle of the sea of bodies coming to the aid of Beech. Offerman struck Nathans in the back of the head with his backswing, and Nathans later suffered from nausea, Bluefish left-hander Mike Porzio said. Police said Beech, a left-handed pitcher, had a broken right middle finger.
"He hit him with a cut fastball in the left calf," Bluefish manager Tommy John said of the pitch that began the melee. "And the next thing you know, Offerman's going to the mound with his bat over his head taking swings at Beech. He took at least two, maybe even three (swings)."
"It was just a scary incident for everybody witnessing what took place," said Porzio, who signed a witness report after the attack. "Everybody was in shock at the time because it's not something you see. I've played 15 years and I've never seen that before.
"Everyone was fearful for Matt Beech because apparently something set Offerman off, because he's played a long time and nobody could believe what they were seeing. Unfortunately, though, he got out to the mound before we could. Luckily for Matt Beech, he was agile enough to dodge a bat. But it may have only been John Nathans taking one on the backswing in the head to have saved Matt Beech from really taking one in the face."
Nathans left the game at the end of the inning.
"He attempted to keep on going, but he came in the dugout and fell over," Porzio said. "Clearly, it was more than just a bang on the head."
Members of the Bridgeport Police Department converged on the Ducks clubhouse once order was restored on the field. Offerman was ultimately arrested, while Beech and Nathans were taken to an Bridgeport Hospital to be examined. "I called (Atlantic League executive director) Joe Klein immediately after the incident and told him what had occurred on the field," Bluefish CEO Mary-Jane Foster said. "And I have asked that the Atlantic League suspend Jose Offerman from the league for life."
Offerman — who appeared in 98 games for the Bluefish in 2003 — Beech and John were ejected. Offerman can expect to face a lengthy suspension and possible banishment from the league.
Ducks manager Dave LaPoint declined comment.
Former Bluefish third baseman Dee Jenkins was banished from the Atlantic League for his involvement in a brawl at Long Island on Sept. 18, 2001, and former Newburgh Black Diamonds pitcher Earl Steinmetz was banned after shoving umpire Adam Gladstone to the ground in an altercation in 1998.