Disturbing story out of Baltimore.
According to Yvonne Wegner and Justin Fenton of the Baltimore Sun, two men have been charged after an alleged assault at Camden Yards during Wednesday’s Nationals/Orioles game sent one man to intensive care with severe head trauma and a skull fracture.
The alleged attack occurred after 25-year-old Matt Fortese was being taunted by two fans for wearing his Yankees hat to the game. It eventually led to a confrontation.
By the fifth or sixth inning of the matchup with the Washington Nationals, the couple had endured about an hour of heckling, mostly about Fortese’s hat, from two men sitting a section above them, said Queen, 21. Then one of the men threw a beer that hit the couple, according to police, and when Fortese approached the men and began arguing with them, one punched him in the head.
The blow sent Fortese over a railing and onto the concrete about five feet below.
Two men — Gregory Fleischman, 22, of Jarrettsville, and Michael Bell, 21, of Annapolis — were charged in the attack.
Police said Fleischman punched Fortese.
All of this over a hat. As fate would have it, Fortese was revived by Nathan Steelman, a childhood friend who just so happened to be attending the same game. He’s currently listed in serious condition at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Fortese’s father said that he has been in and out of consciousness and will likely need long-term physical therapy.
Fleischman was charged with first- and second-degree assault and disorderly conduct while Bell was charged with second-degree assault and disorderly conduct. Both were released on $50,000 bond yesterday.
The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.
The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.
Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.