SBD/4/Leagues Governing Bodies

FRIDAY'S BREW-HA-HA RESULTS IN FIVE- GAME SUSPENSIONS

     AL President Gene Budig has suspended Albert Belle and
Julian Tavarez of the Indians and Mike Matheney of the Brewers
for five games each for their roles in a 10-minute brawl Friday.
In a statement, Budig states that Belle was suspended "since his
action not only threatened injury to an individual but also led
to the later disruption of the game."  Budig said Tavarez's
altercation with umpire Joe Brinkman "was clearly wrong and his
action contributed to a dangerous situation" (A.L.).  MLBUA head
Richie Phillips called Tavarez's suspension "woefully
inadequate":  "I thought it should have been a minimum of 30
days, and up to 60 days to the remainder of the season."  All
three players said they would appeal the suspension (Mult., 6/4).
     BELLE-ICOSE:  There was mixed reactions to Belle's
suspension.  A N.Y. POST editorial likens it to "a slap on the
wrist":  "Had Albert Belle been kept off the field until after
the All-Star break, it would have sent a much clearer signal
about what kind of behavior baseball will tolerate, and what it
won't" (N.Y. POST, 6/4).  NEWSDAY's Jon Heyman:  "Budig's
decision was bold because Belle is viewed as the most likely of
players to break Roger Maris' coveted single-season home-run
record" (NEWSDAY, 6/4).  Philly columnist Bill Conlon:  "Imagine
the national debate that will rage in September if Belle falls
just short of the home-run record with each of those 25 missed
at-bats looming larger?" (PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 6/4).  ESPN's Peter
Gammons:  "This is just to kind of calm down some of the public
furor over Albert Belle, who has become baseball's most
recognized guy. ... You'll see a major battle from the Players
Association over the Belle suspension" ("SportsCenter," ESPN,
6/3).
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