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MLB NEWS & NOTES: BASEBALL'S TICKING SUPERSTAR
Published June 3, 1996
MLB's weekend action was dominated by coverage of the Indians-Brewers series, where a bench-clearing ball followed Albert Belle's throwing of a forearm into Brewers 2B Fernando Vina while running out a grounder. Belle earlier had been hit by a pitch, and many in the media felt his hit on Vina was malicious ("Baseball 96," CNN, 6/1). Belle's behavior is the focus of USA TODAY's Sports cover story, as his "baggage [is] getting heavier by the day" (Johnson & Antonen, USA TODAY, 6/3). Fox's Steve Lyons: "At what point do some of his teammates stop supporting some of the things that he's doing?" Fox's Jeff Torborg: "I thought it was good clean baseball" ("Fox Saturday Baseball," 6/1). CNN's Tim Kurkjian, on Belle: "I'm sure they'll look at these tapes, but I don't think he'll be suspended. ... He's really going to hurt somebody" ("Baseball 96," 6/1). ESPN's Peter Gammons: "I don't think anything is going to happen. Ever since the owners got rid of the commissionership, they got the anarchy they sought, and the Players Association isn't going to do anything because the Players Association is a rich man's guild" ("SportsWeekly," 6/2). In DC, Mark Maske quotes one AL exec who said that AL President Gene Budig wanted to fine or suspend Belle for throwing baseballs at an SI photographer, but "the union raised hell." The exec: "At some point, even the union is going to have to say 'Enough is enough'" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/2). ESPN's John Feinstein, on the Vina incident: "How can Bud Selig [acting Commissioner/Brewers Owner] properly adjudicate the situation? What he should do is suspend Albert Belle for a month at least, but he can't" (SportsReporters," ESPN, 6/2). MEETINGS: Although quarterly owners meetings in Philadelphia were canceled, MLB's Executive Council will meet Wednesday with the "most significant" figuring to be Reds Owner Marge Schott, "who has been invited to attend." The council is expected to decide within a week whether or not to discipline Schott for embarrassing comments and her operation of the team (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 6/2).