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Baseball doles out punishment for Tigers-White Sox fisticuffs

Posted: Friday, April 28, 2000

CHICAGO -- In what is believed to be the harshest penalty for a brawl in baseball history, 16 members of the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox were suspended Thursday for a total of 82 games.

''They're trying to set an example for the rest of the league,'' White Sox manager Ron Schueler said. ''I think it will. I think you're going to see around the league a little more reluctance to start fights or get involved with them.

''I respect the decision,'' he said. ''Don't necessarily agree with it, but I respect it.''

Managers Phil Garner of Detroit and Jerry Manuel of the White Sox were suspended for eight games each for Saturday's two fights at Comiskey Park. Tigers coach Juan Samuel must sit out 15 for throwing punches.

Detroit third baseman Dean Palmer, who charged the mound after being hit by Jim Parque in the first fight, was suspended for eight games. Parque got a three-game suspension. Chicago outfielder Magglio Ordonez was suspended for five.

White Sox reliever Keith Foulke, who got the worst of the brawl, needing five stitches to close a cut under his left eye, was suspended for three games.

There were 25 people fined -- including the 16 who also received suspensions -- ranging from $3,000 for Palmer to $500 for Detroit pitchers Danny Patterson and Jim Poole.

''We researched this as best we could, and we think this is the largest mass suspension ever,'' baseball spokesman Rich Levin said.

In 1998, fights at Kansas City and Yankee Stadium resulted in multiple suspensions. Five players, including Orioles pitcher Armando Benitez, were suspended for a total of 18 games after a wild brawl against the Yankees.

Two weeks later, nine players and both managers were suspended for a total of 38 games after the Anaheim Angels brawled with the Kansas City Royals.

Thursday's penalties were the first ones issued by Frank Robinson, baseball's vice president of on-field operations.

''Major league baseball wants to send a message ... that participation in these sorts of incidents will be handled in a swift and serious manner,'' Robinson said.

''Altercations like the one that took place in Chicago last week show a lack of sportsmanship,'' Robinson said. ''It sends the wrong message to our fans -- particularly young people. Fighting is not an acceptable part of the game.''

Deciding discipline became his responsibility when commissioner Bud Selig dissolved the president's office in the AL and NL.

''I didn't expect that harsh of a treatment, I guess you could say,'' Manuel said. ''Frank Robinson is a baseball man who I have great respect for. I can't dispute his decisions one way or the other.

''I don't agree with it, but I won't dispute it.''

The penalties came a day before the White Sox were to start a series in Detroit. The suspensions will be staggered from Friday night through May 10 because of the number of players involved.

Some of the players already said they will appeal, and the penalties would not take effect until appeals have been heard.

''All you can ask for is consistent and equal penalties,'' Detroit general manager Randy Smith said. ''I think he made every effort to do that.''

White Sox reliever Bob Howry and outfielder Carlos Lee said their three-game suspensions are scheduled to begin Friday. Both plan to serve them. Ordonez, who said his suspension is to begin May 1, wants to appeal.

Though the suspensions dredge up the bad feelings from the brawl all over again, the White Sox said they don't anticipate problems in Detroit.

''They had some concerns about the severity of it. And more so about the severity for the other club,'' Schueler said. ''After that, it was another war rally, 'Let's go get 'em.' We've got a good bunch of kids in that clubhouse. I think tomorrow you'll see them come out playing hard again.''

Some White Sox were upset, though, that Detroit starter Jeff Weaver wasn't suspended. Weaver started the bad blood by plunking Lee in the sixth inning. He was done pitching and had his uniform jersey off when the fighting began, but he came back out onto the field.

Weaver was fined $750.

''For throwing at Carlos, maybe not,'' Howry said. ''The fact he comes back on the field and the tapes show him fighting with Magglio, yeah, he probably should have gotten something.''

The other Tigers suspended were: pitcher Doug Brocail (four games); outfielder Juan Encarnacion (three games); catcher-DH Robert Fick (five games); outfielder Karim Garcia (three games); outfielder Bobby Higginson (five games); and outfielder Luis Polonia (three games).

Garcia, since sent Triple-A Toledo, would begin serving his penalty if he is recalled.

The other White Sox player suspended was pitcher Tanyon Sturtze (three games).

Eleven people were ejected Saturday and the benches emptied twice -- first for 13 minutes in the seventh inning and then a second time for eight minutes in the ninth after two more Tigers batters were hit.

Palmer charged the mound in the seventh and was ejected following a rumble that started in the infield and spread to right field. Parque hit Palmer one inning after Weaver had plunked Lee, prompting an angry staredown.

Palmer, even though he'd been tossed, returned to the field when a second brawl erupted in the ninth, moments after Howry hit Shane Halter with a pitch. Earlier in the same inning, Sturtze hit Detroit's Deivi Cruz.

''I don't think we'll see anything else this weekend,'' White Sox reliever Bill Simas said. ''If guys couldn't take care of what they needed to during the three games last weekend, then where were they?''



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