The fans had a ball, but the Dodgers didn't.
They forfeited a game to the St. Louis Cardinals, 2-1, Thursday night after many fans in an announced Dodger Stadium sellout crowd of 53,361 littered the field with baseballs with one out in the ninth inning.
"It was unbelievable," Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda said. "I've never seen anything like this. I'm disappointed in the ones who threw the balls, not the good fans."
The forfeit loss cost the Dodgers a chance to move into a first-place NL West tie with the Colorado Rockies, who lost to the Florida Marlins.
The teams, who had been pulled from the field when fans hurled promotional giveaway baseballs onto the field in the seventh inning, were pulled again with one out in the ninth inning after fans threw balls onto the field. They were protesting after right fielder Raul Mondesi and Lasorda were ejected for arguing with home plate umpire Jim Quick, who earlier threw out first baseman Eric Karros, who struck out looking to end the eighth inning with a runner on first.
Lasorda returned to argue with first base umpire Bob Davidson as the ground crew cleaned the field. The Cardinals came out of the dugout to take the field and play was about to resume when a baseball came out of the bleachers and landed in center field.
Quick, the crew chief, then ordered the game ended.
"Obviously, it was an unsafe situation," Davidson said. "We stopped the game on the third time and the fans here kept throwing baseballs on the field, so for our safety and the St. Louis Cardinals' safety, we forfeited the game.
"We gave them three chances: Strike three and you're out. In my opinion, Lasorda instigated the whole thing. I would put the full blame on him and management for giving baseballs away before the game.
"We've got to protect ourselves and the visiting ballclub. People here are usually tremendous baseball fans. That's really disgraceful for Los Angeles and their fans. Very disgraceful.
"It's a tough enough job without fans throwing baseballs. As an umpire you hate to do that. Games are nine innings, that's what they're supposed to be, but this was a dangerous situation."
Lasorda had a different version.
"They didn't warn us," Lasorda said. "We didn't throw the baseballs.
"All I did was I went out and I wanted to know why he was throwing my players out," Lasorda said. "He [Davidson] is the guy that made them forfeit the game. There was never any warning given to the fans."
Dodger Executive Vice President Fred Claire said he plans to contact the league office today.
"What amazed me is that they would forfeit the game without having any announcement made," Claire said. "I don't know how you can do that without giving a warning over the PA."
It was the first Dodger forfeit since July 18, 1916, when Brooklyn defeated the Chicago Cubs in the 10th inning because the Cubs' pitcher accused the Dodgers of stealing signs.
The last major league forfeit was July 12, 1979, Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park, when the Chicago White Sox had fans blow up disco records between games of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers.
The last National League forfeit was July 18, 1954, when Philadelphia defeated St. Louis after the Cardinals tried to stall for an ending.
The forfeit stunned the Dodgers.
"It was ridiculous," left fielder Billy Ashley said. "The fans shouldn't be doing it in the first place, especially in a game like this where we had a chance to come back."
The forfeit even overshadowed Nomomania.
Hideo Nomo (9-3) gave up two homers in the first four innings. Jose Offerman singled in a run with two out in the eighth inning to make it 2-1.
Nomo, who had won his last two starts, gave up six hits and two runs in eight innings before he was pulled for pinch-hitter Delino DeShields in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Nomo struck out seven Cardinals and has 168 strikeouts this season. Nomo gave up three walks and threw a wild pitch.
Nomo had given up five home runs in his last 16 starts. The two homers were the most he had given up in a game since he gave up three to the Colorado Rockies at Denver in his second start on May 7.
Center fielder Brian Jordan hit a 1-0 pitch halfway into the left-field bleachers to give the Cardinals 1-0 lead in the second inning.
Nomo, who retired eight consecutive batters after Jordan's home run, gave up a two-out homer to rookie first baseman Mark Sweeney in the fourth inning. Sweeney drilled Nomos' first pitch of the inning into the right-field bleachers for his first major league home run.
The Dodgers cut it to 2-1 when Offerman singled in Dave Hansen with two out in the eighth inning. After Mike Piazza's infield single, Karros struck out looking on a breaking ball and was ejected.