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NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty has reported that a group of Yankees fans seated around the visiting bullpen taunted Astros starter Zack Greinke in a way that went beyond the realm of acceptable heckling ahead of Game 4 of the ALCS.
Among the subjects thrown at Greinke were the right-hander’s well-documented struggles with anxiety and depression:
Chants digging at Greinke’s battles with a social anxiety disorder and depression rained down on the 35-year-old right-hander as he threw to a catcher.
Fans leaned over the concrete barrier between the stands and the bullpen and shouted insults about Greinke’s mother, too.
They also chanted “Donald,” Greinke’s first name.
Kuty declined to print the exact chants directed at Greinke, but he revealed on Twitter that they referenced prescription medications.
Police officers in the bullpen and bleachers reportedly ejected one fan for his behavior regarding Greinke.
Greinke opened the game with a shaky first inning in which he walked three batters, one with the bases loaded. Greinke finished with a line of 4 1/3 innings pitched, three hits allowed, four walks, five strikeouts and one earned run.
Speaking after the Astros 8-3 victory, Greinke downplayed the situation by telling reporters “I didn’t hear anything,” in regards to the reported taunts.
Yankees fans’ treatment of Greinke also appeared in T-shirt form ahead of the game, with one fan going so far as to have a custom T-shirt made about the pitcher’s wife.
Astros had complained about Yankees fans throwing objects on field
The ugliness surrounding Greinke’s warm-ups came hours after Astros manager A.J. Hinch threatened to pull his team off the field if fans at Yankee Stadium threw debris onto the field as they had in Game 3.
Astros outfielder Josh Reddick claimed to have seen water bottles and baseballs thrown into the outfield on Tuesday, with Hinch claiming objects were also thrown into the bullpen.
“I will pull the team off the field if we get in that situation again where bottles are being thrown and balls are being thrown and it becomes unruly,” Hinch said. “There's other ways to support your home team, and this place does as good a job as anybody to trying to police that while also trying to create an environment that's all pro-Yankees.
“It would be a very ugly scene for baseball, a very ugly scene for the Yankees, if one of our guys was hit by something from the upper deck. Something tragic could happen and nobody wants that.”
It appears a certain set of Yankees fans opted to throw verbal garbage into the bullpen this time, and found yet another line to cross.
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