CHICAGO — The 21-year-old Cubs fan who threw a beer on a Philadelphia Phillies outfielder said Friday that he got caught up in the "heat of the moment" and hoped his actions would not taint the image of his beloved team.
"I am a true fan. I love the Cubs," Johnny Macchione of Bartlett told the Chicago Tribune on Friday.
He said his decision to throw the beer on Shane Victorino on Wednesday night was not premeditated or encouraged by his friends. He partly blamed the move on frustration for how the Cubs were playing.
"No one said 'Wouldn't that be cool' or 'Hey, let's do something crazy.' It was just the heat of the moment," he said. "It was just an impulse move. There's no excuse for it."
Seconds after the incident, security personnel escorted an innocent Cubs fan out of the bleachers. Macchione said the man was his friend's cousin. He said he did not initially identify himself as the culprit because "I didn't even know what was going on at the time."
"I didn't deny it," he said. "Security just kind of whizzed past me and I saw them grab my buddy and I pointed and said, 'It's not him' and they just dragged him out. We went down to get him. It wasn't like I was making him take the fall."
Macchione said he would like to apologize to Victorino.
"I would like to give him my sincere apology," he said. "I have no disrespect for him. I know what he means to the game. He's a great player."
Macchione also asked for the forgiveness of Cubs fans, who he said were "the greatest fans in the world," and said he hoped his actions did not taint their image.
"I am one person out of millions of people," he said. "It was one mistake. If I could take it back, I would."
Macchione maintained he was not "heavily intoxicated" at the game. He said he has sat in the bleachers "on a consistent basis" for the last five or six years. He also said he had not heard yet whether he will suspended or banned from Wrigley Field.
He said he has learned a powerful lesson from the experience.
"Every action has implications," he said. "No matter how small at the time you think it may be, you never know who is there, who is watching and how it is going to unfold."
Dan DeLaPaz, wrongly accused of throwing a beer on Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino, said his initial reaction to the ordeal was to laugh. Still, he said that was "hard to say" whether security saw him as the culprit for his chuckling.
"I don't think that laughing per se should necessitate that 'hey that was the guy that did it,' considering other people around me were also laughing too," DeLaPaz told David Kaplan on WGN on Friday night.
When he was apprehended, DeLaPaz said he wasn't resisting, but was was "just raising my arms, saying, 'it wasn't me, it wasn't me, what's going on?'"
Security guards took him to a detainment area and "in their mind they thought that they had the right guy; like it was kind of 'okay, we're just getting the answers out of you but we also know that it was you,'" DeLaPaz said, adding he didn't get the "benefit of the doubt" at that time.
"Everything was going through my mind. They're emptying my pockets. They're pretty much telling me that it is me as I'm telling them it's not me," he said.
When DeLaPaz was freed from detainment, he and the group of people with whom he went to the game — including Johnny Macchione — tried to enter Murphy's. Some of the bouncers recognized him, DeLaPaz said, and they didn't allow him to enter.
Though he was unsure whether Macchione was with the group at that point, DeLaPaz said Macchione later met up with them at Harry Caray's in Wrigleyville. There, Macchione told him he threw the beer, DeLaPaz said.
"I believe he came out and then said 'it was me,'" Delapaz said. "I was kind of more in shock and to be honest I couldn't fully get mad yet because I didn't realize the extent of what then would be to come in the next days.
I was so relieved that I was exonerated and let out of Wrigley that like, my wife's not going to kill me and I can go home...the anger didn't set in just yet."
DeLaPaz said he "never could have imagined" the national publicity and his phone "ringing off the hook" over the course of the coming 48 hours.
Asked when he was going to Wrigley again, DeLaPaz said, "I'm hoping to go to the next series against the Mets, so we shall see."