A homeless man who was drunk, according to police, claimed he was looking for the fastest way to the concession stand at Blair County Ballpark, so he jumped over the center-field fence and walked slowly across the outfield during Tuesday night's Altoona Curve game.
The bizarre sequence - the first of its kind in 12 seasons at BCB - occurred in the bottom of the ninth inning as Altoona played Akron and resulted in the man's arrest.
Tyrone R. Squires, 24, was described by police as being homeless and originally from Massachusetts but with no permanent address. Sporting a thick, dark beard and wearing an old-time military hat, Squires kept his hands in his pockets as he strolled at a very slow pace from left to right along the outfield wall on the warning track.
Ballpark security allowed him to keep walking until he exited the field near the Curve bullpen down the right field line, where officials detained him. About 20 minutes later, Logan Township police arrived on scene to make an arrest.
"This gentleman violated the law by trespassing," Lt. Gil Barton said. "He's drunk in a public place. At this point, we have to take him before a local district justice and let him decide what to do with him as far as the charges."
Squires would be charged with criminal trespass, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness, Chief Ron Heller said.
"The Curve has called and filed a complaint," Barton said. "Being that they filed a complaint, we will file the charges on behalf of the Curve."
One franchise executive said he hopes the incident sends a clear message to anyone who thinks about coming onto the field of play.
"We will prosecute to the full extent of the law," Curve senior adviser Sal Baglieri said. "That can't happen again."
Curve radio broadcaster Dan Zangrilli notified other team officials after spotting Squires on the field after he had lowered himself down from the fence..
"Security got down there quickly," Curve General Manager Rob Egan said. "It was a little tough to see him at first because he was deep in the outfield in between the light standards and the shadows.
"The security did a great job to get him off the field, and then we escorted him to the front office until the authorities could arrive."
No one tried to approach or restrain Squires on the field. Security officials instead let him continue to walk off the field on his own.
"He was very deliberate as he was walking," Curve owner Bob Lozinak said. "He wasn't in any big hurry to get anywhere."
Squires told one Curve employee he was trying to get to the concession stand.
"We'll maybe never know the motivation for why he did what he did," Egan said. "We know what he said, but we don't know what the real reason was."
Squires made no sudden movements as if to try to approach or harm anyone on the field. He walked behind Akron right fielder John Drennen on his way off the field.
Drennen said he never feared for his safety.
"You never know," Drennen said. "There are some crazy people out there, but everyone was keeping an eye on him. Everything was all right."
Drennen said his first thought was, "Get off the field, idiot."
"There's no room for that," the Akron player added. "He should have gotten Tasered."
That last comment was in reference to the Philadelphia Phillies recently making national news when a security official used a Taser on a fan who came onto the field. The Curve do not keep Tasers on hand for such an incident, Egan said.
Blair County Ballpark opened in 1999, and never before has a fan come onto the field of play during a Curve game. Egan said this incident was isolated enough that it should not be considered alarming.
"The fact that this doesn't appear to be a Blair County resident, doesn't appear to be even a Pennsylvania resident, the fact that it appears there was alcohol involved, a lot of things played a factor here," Egan said. "The authorities acted appropriately, and he'll be dealt with appropriately."
Curve manager Matt Walbeck also downplayed the incident, saying it's just something that happens from time to time in baseball.
"You've seen it before, and you think the guy's probably intoxicated or who knows what," Walbeck said. "It definitely didn't look quite right. But fortunately nothing bad happened.
"This guy was harmless. He just looked like he was out of sorts and didn't know where he was really."