Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe picked up on a curious editor's note in the Philadelphia Inquirer on March 6. It read:
In Saturday's "High & Inside" column, The Inquirer made a regretful attempt at humor in a reference to Boston Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew's coming to Philadelphia to play against the Phillies in June. The sentence, "Get your D-cells ready," should have been edited out of the story. Any reference to throwing batteries at a player is neither funny nor acceptable.
The offending column, written by T.J. Furman, was subtitled "Show your love for J.D. Drew, Philly," and the call to arms was a reference to an August 1999 game between the Phillies and the Cardinals. Drew had turned down Philadelphia's advances to instead — in Furman's words — "slum it in St. Paul, Minn.," with the help of his agent, Scott Boras. In his big league debut at Veterans Stadium, he was so poorly received by bitter Phillies fans that the umpires suspended play to clear debris from the field. The AP commended Drew for surviving "having large batteries thrown at him from the stands."
Furman brought this history to surface on Saturday when he reminded Philadelphia fans that this season might be their last to welcome Drew to the City of Brotherly Love. Thanks to Abraham, here's the original column:
Sorry to say this, Phils fans, but whenever Drew hangs up his cleats, he will have had a productive, if unspectacular, career. But fear not: You'll get one more chance to let J.D. know how you feel about him when the Sox come to town June 28-30. Get your D-cells ready.
Abraham writes that at best, the aside was "in poor taste. At worst, it's encouraging assault." With a battery, twelve seasons after the offense. We propose that baseball fans allow Drew to play what may be his final season without having to duck toxic projectiles on his way to the batter's box. It just seems fair.
Grudge against Drew lingers in Philly [Boston Globe]
High & Inside: NL Notes [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Phillies fans hurl insults, projectiles at J.D. Drew [AP]