SBD/25/Leagues Governing Bodies

FOR WHOM THE BELLE TOLLS: ALBERT MEETS BUDIG, OR DOES HE?

     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).
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