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FOR WHOM THE BELLE TOLLS: ALBERT MEETS BUDIG, OR DOES HE?
Published April 25, 1996
The Indians' Albert Belle met with AL President Gene Budig yesterday for questioning on his recent incident with SI photographer Tony Tomsic. Phyllis Merhige, AL VP/Media Affairs, said they would have no comment until the situation is resolved, adding, "I can't confirm or deny that there was a meeting." But MLBPA officials confirmed the meeting. Indians Manager Mike Hargrove admitted the image of his team "seems to be taking a beating" because of Belle's problems with media and fans. Hargrove: "It's regretful if the image of the club is hurt. I'm very sorry for that, but this is not a bad team. ... If baseball's success depends on one player, the game is in more trouble than any of us realize" (Sheldon Ocker, Akron BEACON JOURNAL. 4/25). FUNNY GUY: Sheldon Ocker of the BEACON JOURNAL notes that Belle has "not lost his charm" in the wake of the latest incident. Reporter Kelly O'Neal and an ESPN crew approached Belle as he stood on the sidewalk in front of the AL office on Park Ave. O'Neal stuck out her hand to make an introduction and Belle responded, "You're not supposed to touch me, dear." Ocker: "End of introduction. End of attempted interview" (Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 4/25).