By Christy Strawser, CBS Detroit digital director
BOSTON (CBS Detroit) The initial story was all about the angry man who violently snatched the Tigers’ home run ball from the woman who caught it at Fenway Park and threw it back on the field.
But it turns out that wasn’t the only angry moment in that section of the stands Sunday night as the Rex Sox pulled out a victory to even up the ALCS 1-1.
Tigers fan Angelo Sikoutris, a Brooklyn, NY native who watched the game in Boston, said the man who tossed the ball also threw slurs at him.
The melee unfolded in section 42 — Jackie Robinson’s number, which Sikoutris, a black man who was wearing a Prince Fielder jersey, thinks was apt.
Sikoutris said the situation started even before the game, when the ball thrower started heckling two people in Detroit jerseys in front of him.
“He said ‘yeah, back to the ghetto you go, back to the ghetto … he probably assumed they were from Detroit, from the ghetto,” Sikoutris said, adding, “I turned to my father and said “he’s saying racist stuff.”
Eventually, FOX Sports came up to Sikoutris, he said, and asked if they could film him because he looked so much like Fielder.
“He said ‘That’s his crackhead brother,'” Sikoutris recalled. “I asked ‘Why am I a crackhead, because I’m black?’ He told me to shut up and watch the game.”
Sikoutris said security told him to calm down or he would be ejected for causing a scene. Security did take out the other man for throwing the ball back onto the field, and Sikoutris said as the man was walking out, he pointed to him and said “bye, Trayvon,” referencing slain black teen Trayvon Martin.
“I tried to jump over the seats to grab him, five or six security guards (got involved),” he said.
Why did he call him Trayvon?
“Because obviously, I’m an African American, I was the only minority in that section, he felt some kind of way toward minorities, Trayvon is obviously a big, hot topic issue with him. To me, him saying that to me was saying ‘you shouldn’t be in Boston.'”
Sikoutris added that though he was Tigers fan in a hostile land, he was unerringly polite to everyone around him. “I was there to cheer them on, I was respectful, I wasn’t rubbing it in anybody’s face … I don’t mind if somebody’s just saying something to me about being a Tigers fan, it doesn’t bother me, but when he said that racist stuff, it just didn’t sit well with me.’
Eventually he said a couple of Red Sox fans came up and apologized on the man’s behalf, saying “don’t think that’s how the whole fan base is, the whole city is,” Sikoutris said.
So, will he go back to Fenway anytime soon?
“I really don’t want to go back there,” Sikoutris said. “It’s kind of ironic it happened in section 42, Jackie Robinson’s number. I went to (Tigers) fantasy camp back in May, that’s the uniform number I wore.”
See him in this video from earlier this summer where he was outed in the stands as a “Prince look alike.”
This isn’t the first time Detroit fans have been subjected to disparaging displays from other fans. Fans in Cleveland chanted “Detroit’s bankrupt” at an outing earlier in the season.