Sometimes ordinary people are put in situations that result in extraordinary actions. That is the case for former Sox skipper and current part-time Rays broadcaster.
“The lights were out, most of us were asleep, when we started hearing these loud voices, some guy talking about Satan and death,” said Kennedy. “And I could hear the flight attendant, a lady, and her voice, she sounded kind of nervous and that woke me up. I was wide awake immediately, and saw this guy crossing himself and saying Satan is following us and all this kind of stuff.”
When Sheffield began threatening about bombs and blowing up the plane, Kennedy said, “We knew it was real.”
“Guys were trying to talk him down and it wasn’t happening,” Kennedy said. “It was getting worse. He said, ‘I’m going to take the plane down and you’re going to hell with me. I’m going to blow this plane up.’”
Kennedy, who was sitting in the second row in first class, did not know if Sheffield had dynamite on him, he just knew he was moving aggressively toward the door of the cockpit.
“I elected to get unbuckled to take him out, as did the other guys,” Kennedy said. “That’s the choice we made without talking.”
Kennedy stood from his seat and Sheffield threw water on him. Another passenger flashed his wallet at Sheffield as if he were an air marshal, and then a bullrush ensued.
Once Kennedy and seven other passengers restrained Sheffield, they had trouble binding him up. He broke free from a belt that had been wrapped around his wrists, in addition to plastic ties that were used to try and restrain him. Finally, they managed to get him under control using seat belts that flight attendants use for their in-flight demonstrations.
“I had his left arm, trying to pull it out,” Kennedy said. “He was strong. I mean, I think I’m sort of strong, but he was strong. I finally got his arm back. Then we held that.”
That is some serious bad-ass behavior by Kennedy, who I always thought looked more like a Statie than a baseball manager. Props to Kennedy and the rest of the passengers for their bravery. No word yet on if it was Gary Sheffield. We now return you to baseball: Sox vs. Orioles and that has to mean a W.