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FRIDAY'S BREW-HA-HA RESULTS IN FIVE- GAME SUSPENSIONS
Published June 4, 1996
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).