It happened with Matt Holliday at the plate against the San Francisco Giants, Monday. Holliday abruptly jumped out of the batter’s box and time was called.
That night, Matheny told KTRS radio that the umpire told him if it happened again play would be stopped. So between innings the Cardinal skipper and players were watching the stands closely.
“And in between innings I saw it glance across the ground again and I looked up and I caught the kid. So I called security over and pointed him out and security went up and took care of it,” Matheny said.
The teenager, Eric Bogard, 17, of Ladue, was in a luxury suite along the first base line. Matheny went so far as to make eye contact and communicate with him according to Cardinal officials.
“He mouthed to him, ‘We see you. We know who you are and we see you,’" team director of security Joe Walsh said. “The subject just kind of waved and smiled at him and continued to point.”
A lawyer representing Bogard, Joel Schwartz, says the team is, to a degree, misrepresenting what happened. He says Bogard was part of a group of teenagers in the suite.
He described the group as, “Kids in the box acting foolish. Acting like kids.”
He says Bogard never directly pointed the laser at any individual, and questions whether it was his client who had it when Holliday jumped from the batter’s box.
After Matheny pointed Bogard out to security, police went to the suite. As they were arriving, some of the teens appeared to be leaving.
“At that time they were milling around and (an officer) observed one of them remove something from his sock and dispose of it in the trash can,” Walsh said. “It turned out to be the laser.”
Bogard was taken into custody, then security went to the suite, owned by Mercy Health Systems, to speak with the adult hosting the group. Walsh says they were greeted by a woman who bordered on being combative with officers.
“I don’t want to say lack of cooperation, but there was some disagreement as to what was going on,” he said. Asked whether the kid or the adult behaved worse, he laughed, “Well, let’s put it this way, there wasn’t much good behavior by anybody at that point in time.”
In a statement, Mercy Health System Vice President of Communications, Barb Meyer, said, “Mercy takes very seriously the situation that occurred at the Cardinals game and we are continuing to investigate the incident. Once we fully understand the facts, we will take the appropriate steps to ensure that this kind of incident cannot happen again. We apologize to the players involved and to the Cardinals organization.”
Bogard was charged Wednesday afternoon with Peace Disturbance at an Athletic Event. It’s a misdemeanor charge.
But Cardinals officials say you can’t discount the seriousness of what he did. They say it could have been very dangerous.
“If you have a sphere like a hard baseball coming at you at 95 or 100 miles per hour, the last thing you need is to be temporarily blinded or distracted by a laser pointer,” Walsh pointed out.