'I caught you': Matheny spies teen flashing laser during Giants-Cardinals game

Belleville News-DemocratAugust 8, 2012 

ST. LOUIS — A 17-year-old male was arrested Monday night and could face criminal charges Wednesday after allegedly pointing a green laser at San Francisco Giants pitcher Shane Loux.

Play between the Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals was momentarily delayed in the seventh inning when Matt Holliday was facing Loux. Holliday stepped out of the box when he spotted the laser on Loux's back.

"During Holliday's at-bat, I noticed someone flashed a laser pointer on the pitcher's back," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Tuesday. "I saw it and I saw Holliday kind of panic; (he) stepped out.

"I knew it had to be coming from the first-base side. Play went on, and then the umpire (Marvin Hudson) came up to me afterwards and said, 'Did you know why I called timeout, why everything stopped?' I said, 'Yeah. It's on my side (of the field). I'm going to keep looking.'"Moments later, Matheny looked in the right spot at the right time --a luxury suite along the first-base line."

In between innings, I saw it glance across the ground again," Matheny said. "I looked up and I caught the kid. I said, 'I caught you.' He kind of froze up. I knew we only had a few minutes to get to them before they split. They tried taking off. Fortunately, security got to them."

Joe Walsh, director of security and special services at Busch Stadium, said a resident security agent saw the suspect dump the laser in the trash as he and two other teenagers attempted to leave the stadium. The laser was recovered.

Walsh said the suspect was arrested for disturbance at an athletic event. The two other teenagers were released to their parents.Walsh said charges could be filed Wednesday by the city counselor's office. Laser-pointing violates a city ordinance.

"I think they fully well understood the severity," Walsh said of the three teenagers. "That's why they took great lengths to try and dump (the laser) and get away."

Matheny identified the suspect after the game. He wasn't sure whether the teenager understood the seriousness of his alleged actions."You're looking at a couple of things," Matheny said. "One, Matt being distracted when a 90-plus mph fastball's coming at him. It's got a chance to get our player hurt. Two, it's a crazy world right now. You start seeing lasers in big crowds ...

"To me, I don't think the kid knew the severity of what he was really doing. There were a couple of things that could have gone bad there. It's not like he did it the one time and was like, 'Ooo, that probably wasn't a good idea,' because the whole dugout jumped up and tried to find him. Then he kept doing it."

Walsh called laser-pointing "very dangerous.""Not only the issue (that) a player could be distracted at the wrong time," he said. "Holliday, you saw his reaction. He literally jumped out of the box when he saw it and the umpire immediately stopped the game."The second issue, when you see something like that, you wonder, 'Do we have a crazy guy in the building now?' That's a whole other issue."

Walsh recalled one laser-pointing problem at the former Busch Stadium.

In July 2009, a game between the Cardinals and Philadelphia was delayed when someone pointed a laser at the Cardinals' Albert Pujols and Julio Lugo. The culprit never was found.

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