Greenberg: Yankee ripper

Rangers owner blasts NY fans

ARLINGTON, Texas — As his team was fighting to stay alive in the World Series against the Giants, Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg decided to pick a fight with the Yankees.

During an appearance on a Dallas radio show yesterday, Greenberg ripped Yankees fans for their behavior during the American League Championship Series.

“I thought Yankee fans, frankly, were awful. They were either violent or apathetic, neither of which is good,’’ he said. “So I thought Yankee fans were by far the worst of any I’ve seen in the postseason. I thought they were an embarrassment.’’

In New York, Yankees officials were furious when they heard the remarks, but issued only this terse statement: “At this time, we are honoring the Commissioner’s policy regarding respecting and not distracting from the World Series.’’

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig reportedly admonished Greenberg for his comment. Greenberg then called Yankees president Randy Levine and owner Hal Steinbrenner to apologize before issuing a statement through the team.

“Earlier today, in the course of praising the extraordinary support and enthusiasm of Texas Rangers fans, I unfairly and inaccurately disparaged fans of the New York Yankees,’’ Greenberg said.

“Those remarks were inappropriate. Yankees fans are among the most passionate and supportive in all of baseball. I have spoken directly to Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine to apologize for my intemperate comments.

“I would like to express again how proud we are of our fans and how remarkably they have supported the Rangers throughout lean times and now during this magical season.’’

Kristin Lee, the wife of Texas starter Cliff Lee, told USA Today last week that the Rangers wives were taunted, spit at, and had beer thrown at them in the Bronx.

“The fans did not do good things in my heart,’’ she said. “When people are staring at you, and saying horrible things, it’s hard not to take it personal.’’

But the lefthander, who is on the verge of free agency, quickly tamped down the issue, perhaps knowing the free-spending Yankees would be among his suitors.

“I brush that off as fans being fans. You can’t control 50,000 people and what they’re going to do,’’ Lee said last Tuesday. “There were some people that were spitting off the balcony on to the family section and stuff like that, which is kind of weak. What can you do?

“I know it’s been made into a big deal, but that’s really all it is. Two, three, or four people acting like fools in 50,000. You can’t group them all together.’’

Greenberg’s attack could serve to intensify the battle for Lee in free agency.

Back to business
Once the Series was over, 142 players instantly became free agents, including Mike Lowell, Victor Martinez, and Jason Varitek of the Red Sox. Their teams have five days of negotiating exclusivity.

Players with options have three days before that deadline, which will be Friday at midnight.

The Red Sox hold options on David Ortiz, Bill Hall, and Scott Atchison, while Adrian Beltre holds a player option.

Hall has been told that his $9.25 million option will not be picked up. Lowell is expected to retire, and Beltre will not exercise his $10 million option.

Road warriors
The Giants were 6-2 on the road in the postseason, clinching all three of their series away from AT&T Park . . . The Giants are 20-7 against the Rangers (counting postseason games), with wins in 15 of the last 17 meetings . . . Tim Lincecum became the 15th pitcher to win four games in a postseason. Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, and Madison Bumgarner became the first homegrown rotation to pitch in the Series since the Red Sox started Bruce Hurst, Roger Clemens, Oil Can Boyd, and Al Nipper against the Mets in 1986 . . . Texas dropped reliever Alexi Ogando from its roster after he strained a muscle on the left side of his rib cage while pitching Sunday night. Righthander Dustin Nippert was activated for last night’s game but did not pitch . . . Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins, who played six seasons for the Rangers, threw out the first pitch. The National Anthem was performed by country music legend Charley Pride, a minor owner of the Rangers . . . The Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America named Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton the winner of the Ted Williams Award. The award, given to baseball’s top hitter, will be presented Jan. 20 at the 72d annual Boston BBWAA Dinner. Tickets are $150 apiece and can be purchased with a check payable to The Sports Museum, 100 Legends Way, Boston, 02114. Credit card purchases can be made by calling Rusty Sullivan at 617-624-1237.

Peter Abraham can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.  

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