- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 21, 2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Being attacked by a shirtless father and son in Comiskey Park is not what Tom Gamboa would like to be known for.
"It's 15 minutes of fame for a no-name guy," the Kansas City Royals' first-base coach said yesterday, his face still scratched and puffy from what happened a night earlier.
"It's like I'm today's Kato Kaelin. Ten years from now, somebody will point to me and say 'That's the guy who was attacked.' Nobody likes to be remembered for that. I'd like to be appreciated for the job I do."
Gamboa spent more than 25 years in the minor leagues before reaching the majors as third-base coach of the Chicago Cubs in 1998. He was coaching across the field for the Royals on Thursday night when the two men jumped out of the stands and attacked him from behind.
He was on the ground being pummeled when the Royals players surged out of the dugout and attacked his attackers, reaching the wild scene even ahead of stadium security.
Bleeding and dazed, Gamboa was led back to the dugout a few minutes later.
Known to friends and players as "Gambi," the violence didn't affect his sense of humor.
"It was like I was playing in a football game and I was the only one they forgot to issue equipment to," he said.
He swore he would not be afraid to set foot on the field again.
"I look forward to going back to Chicago," he said. "I'm the eternal optimist. If I'd have been captain on the Titanic, I'd have told people, 'Don't panic. We're just stopping for ice.'
"I'll never forget what happened last night. But I'm not going to let it affect who I am or what I am."
Before the attack, Gamboa was merely an obscure coach for a losing team, a guy very few baseball fans could pick out of a lineup. But he spent yesterday being interviewed by local and national media outlets. He began his day with an appearance on NBC's "Today" show.
"I'm amazed," he said. "My friends say, 'Oh, my gosh, your name's all over the country today.' And I say yeah, but for what?"
The father, identified by police as 34-year-old William Ligue Jr., and his 15-year-old son were led away in handcuffs and charged with aggravated battery. The father said Gamboa had made an obscene gesture toward then and "got what he deserved."
"The only thing that's really got me upset even more than the incident itself is the charge that there was something going on between us," Gamboa said.
"It's an attack on who I am. I'm a no-name guy that's spent 25 years in the minor leagues to get to the big leagues. My whole career ask anybody who played for me and against me has been based on integrity and honesty. I have never in my professional career ever responded [to fans].
"At no time, no matter how bad it got, have I ever made a hand gesture or verbally done anything to the fans."
The Royals tightened security at Kauffman Stadium, where the team began a six-game home stand last night.
"We'll make a few adjustments here," said Chris Richardson, director of security. "We're reassigning some of our officers from the seating area to put them in position to where they'll have a little more visibility on the field."

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