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He became infamous overnight for his heckling at Tuesday night’s Philadelphia Phillies game and now the fan who was called out by MLB umpire Bob Davidson is defending his behavior.
There are a few things that Jeremy Lichterman, the 43-year-old Delaware man who was asked to leave Citizens Bank Park, says he wants to make clear: He wasn’t drunk. He wasn’t yelling at the ump, rather the San Francisco Giants players. He stopped when another fan asked. And he’s heard much worse at baseball games.
The story has hit mainstream news — even being featured on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday. After all, it’s not often you see a home-plate umpire stop play to deal with an unruly fan. Davidson told reporters after the game that he felt Lichterman crossed the line when he said, “I own property on 69th Street. You can come over and suck.”
“That’s when I turned around and said, ‘You know what, get rid of this guy.’” Davidson said. “You could have your wife, girlfriend, kids — they buy tickets. They don’t have to come here and listen to that. That’s exactly what he said to throw him out.”
Lichterman talked to Philly Voice, revealing his identity and going on the record to tell his side of the story, insisting the ump has it all wrong. Here’s what Lichterman told reporter Joseph Santoliquito:
“I was heckling the Giants’ players, the guys that were warming up on deck,” Lichterman said. “I was saying, ‘You suck,’ to guys in the on-deck circle. I saw they had one guy who had a horrible haircut, so I told him I had a good barber on 69th Street that could cut your hair. That was basically it. I wasn’t given any warning. When the game had stopped, I had no idea that they were coming to me. I had no clue until the guards came down, and I figured that [Davidson] was pointing at me. That’s when I got up out of my seat and walked out and left.
“They didn’t actually throw me out. I didn’t know what their plans were. I figured to nip in the butt, no big deal. I left, because I didn’t want to create any more of a disturbance here. It’s embarrassing because of how this thing blew up. My wife is mortified. Other than that, people go to sporting events all of the time and act a lot worse than that. To be honest, there was a guy sitting in front of me with two little kids, and he turned and said to me, ‘It was funny the first couple of times, can you stop?’ That’s when I apologized and I stopped. That’s when the guards came down, by then, that’s when the guards came down. I was sober.”
In his postgame comments, Davidson implied that he could tell Lichterman was drunk. Here’s more from Lichterman:
“I wasn’t charged with anything, and I really wasn’t doing anything that doesn’t happen at a sporting event,” Lichterman maintained. “To be honest, it’s something made much bigger than it should be. I never had anything like this ever happen to me before. You can say it’s a lesson learned.
“The last thing I meant to do was offend anyone,” he said. “What amazes me is how much of a big deal this is. Think about it. I went to a baseball game and yelled, ‘You suck.’ I think there’s been more offensive things done before.”
He’s right about one thing, people do say a lot worse at pro sporting events. And probably on a nightly basis. That type of justification, however, doesn’t absolve Lichterman.
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