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BUDIG HANDS OUT SUSPENSIONS FROM BRAWL; GETS MIXED REVIEWS
Published May 21, 1998
AL President Dr. Gene Budig fined and suspended five Yankees and Orioles players for their part in the fight Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. Orioles P Armando Benitez was suspended for eight games; Yankees P Graeme Lloyd and OF Darryl Strawberry for three games each; and O's P Alan Mills and Yanks P Jeff Nelson for two games each (AL). Benitez and the Yankees players "waived their right to appeal," while O's officials said Mills "will make a decision about whether to appeal later" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/21). REAX: In N.Y., Joel Sherman criticizes the length of the suspensions and writes that Budig "continues to have a blind spot for how important perception is in a sport that is constantly losing that battle," adding that it was "par for the course for him not to go the 10 miles from his midtown office to [Yankee] Stadium to be on hand last night" (N.Y. POST, 5/21). On L.I., Shaun Powell: "This wasn't a beanball from Budig, this was a Beanie Baby. ... A month off the bench would have gotten an entire league's attention about the whole notion of beanballs" (NEWSDAY, 5/21). Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner, on Benitez's eight-game suspension: "A month's suspension should have been the least he should have gotten" (HARTFORD COURANT, 5/21). In N.Y., Dave Anderson writes that as MLB "is still searching for a commissioner, it needs someone to rule on fines and suspensions in both leagues instead" of the league presidents (N.Y. TIMES, 5/21). Also in N.Y., John Harper credit Budig's ruling, calling it "the first properly severe suspension that Budig has handed down" (DAILY NEWS, 5/21). LEAVING THE BENCH: MLBPA Associate General Counsel Gene Orza, on the suggestion that leaving the dugout/bullpen be an automatic suspension: "It can't be in our sport because there's only one player on the field against nine" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/21). On ESPN SportsZone, Rob Neyer agrees with the dugout aspect, but writes that what is realistic "is a rule barring anyone from leaving the bullpen" (SportsZone, 5/21).