A defiant Carl Everett blamed the media for the 10-game suspension and undisclosed fine he received Thursday for twice bumping an umpire last weekend.
The suspension levied against the Boston Red Sox outfielder was announced by Frank Robinson, vice president of on-field operation for major league baseball. The players' union immediately appealed the ruling, and Everett homered Thursday against the Baltimore Orioles in the opener of a day-night doubleheader.
He went 1-for-5 with four strikeouts in the opener and 0-for-3 with a strikeout in the nightcap.
Everett can continue to play until a hearing is held by Paul Beeston, baseball's chief operating officer.
No date was set for the hearing.
Everett is hitting .317 and leads Boston in homers (26) and RBIs (74). Although television replays clearly showed him making contact with the umpire during last Saturday's game against the New York Mets, Everett said his role in the confrontation was not accurately portrayed.
"The whole thing is that the majority of the media tried to make a monster out of a guy," Everett said. "Everyone is quick to judge. I fault the media. ... I would say I didn't do the things people said I did."
Everett became furious when Ronald Kulpa, umpiring at home plate, drew the inside line of the batter's box with his foot, showing where the hitter could stand.
The Boston slugger confronted Kulpa, making contact twice, the second time with a bump to the head that sent the umpire staggering. Everett was ejected from the game and continued his tirade.
He had to be restrained by teammates and coaches. When he reached the dugout, he tipped over a water cooler and threw a bat.
A night earlier, Mets reliever Dennis Cook was thrown out of the game after hitting Everett with a pitch. Cook stormed toward the plate, indicating that Everett's wide-open stance takes him beyond the batter's box lines.
Everett said he spoke with Robinson before the suspension was levied to give his side of the story.
"I talked to him. That's all I can do," Everett said.
Now he's got to tell the story all over again.
"I could say some things that could ruffle some feathers," he told reporters, "but I'd rather keep that to myself until I state my case."
Asked if he thought the penalty against Everett was excessive, Boston manager Jimy Williams said, "It's not for me to decide. Frank Robinson has tough job but somebody has to make a decision. He's handled it the best way he can."
The batter's box measures 4 feet-by-6 feet and is outlined in chalk on three sides with the inside line closest to home plate not drawn. Umpires allow 6 inches off the plate to indicate the inside limits of the box. It was that 6-inch area that both Cook and Kulpa said Everett had violated.
Over the years, baseball's punishment for contact with an umpire has been inconsistent, often depending on whether the contact was intentional or accidental.
The Red Sox expect Everett to be suspended; the only question is for how long.
"We're still going to have to pitch well, with him or without him," catcher Jason Varitek said.
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