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Managers Blamed For Base-Brawl

American League President Gene Budig today put the blame for Tuesday's brawl between the Anaheim Angels and Kansas City Royals primarily on the managers of the two clubs.

Angels manager Terry Collins and Royals field boss Tony Muser each were given eight-game suspensions by Budig for their part in two benches-clearing incidents that resulted in 12 ejections. Calling the events an "embarrassment of major-league baseball," Budig took the bold and unusual step of blaming the managers for allowing a situation to escalate out of control.

"The American League has a right to expect much from its field managers," said Budig, who was in attendance at Tuesday's game at Kauffman Stadium. "They are, after all, the ones who chart the strategy of the game for their players and the ones who determine, in large measure, player attitudes and actions. Managers are expected to be strong leaders and epitomize the highest degree of accountability on the field."

The player drawing the biggest suspension was Royals infielder Felix Martinez, who was suspended for five games. Martinez was demoted to the minor leagues after the incident and will serve his suspension when recalled.

Pitchers Scott Service and Jim Pittsley of the Royals were each suspended for two games.

Six Anaheim players were suspended with pitcher Jack McDowell getting a four-game ban and catcher Phil Nevin a three-game penalty. Pitchers Mike Holtz and Rich DeLucia each were suspended for two games, and outfielder Damon Mashore and infielder Frank Bolick received one-game suspensions.

Collins, Muser, Nevin and Pittsley will begin their suspensions next Friday. DeLucia and Service will begin their suspensions June 15 and Holtz and Mashore begin their penalties on June 18.

Managers, unlike players, do not have the right to appeal.

"I was distressed to witness the utter disregard for player safety during the recent Anaheim-Kansas City game," Budig added. "There was a clear breakdown of leadership and the managers must assume much of the responsibility."

Bolick, who like Martinez was later sent to the minors, will serve his suspension when recalled. McDowell will serve his suspension when he is reinstated from the disabled list.

All of the players and managers listed also were fined undisclosed amounts, as were coaches Joe Maddon of Anaheim and Jamie Quirk and Rich Dauer of Kansas City.

The first scuffle occurred in the seventh inning of Anaheim's 7-5 victory when Nevin charged the mound after he was hit in the back by Pittsley's pitch. Nevin previously was hit by starter Chris Haney's pitch in the fifth between home runs by Tim Salmon and Justin Baughman.

The seventh-inning brawl led to the ejections of Nevin, Pittsley, Quirk and Dauer.

The beanballs continued in the botom of the eighth when Angels reliever DeLucia plunked Dean Palmer and was ejected. Collins was also tossed by home plate umpire Tim Tschida for arguing.

In the top of the ninth, Service and Royals manager Muser were ejected after Service hit Angels first baseman Darin Erstad with a pitch. In the bottom half, the benches emptied again after Holtz hit Jose Offerman, who pointed his bat at Holtz before turning to the Angels dugout and arguing with players.

Things intensified after Martinez sucker-punched Bolick. Bolick charged after Martinez before Martinez fell and was attacked by Bolick's teammates. Holtz, Bolick, Martinez and Angels coach Joe Maddon then were ejected.

The fight-marred game came exactly two weeks after the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles engaged in one of the wildest melees in recent history. Five players were ejected and eventually fined and suspended.

The blame for past brawls, however, has fallen almost exclusively on players. In disciplining the managers, Budig sends a clear message that future altercations would be viewed in the same fashion.

"The events of June 2, 1998 warrant severe disciplinary action on the part of the American League," Budig said. "Such altercations undercut the image of the game and the many efforts to regain public favor."

According to Budig, Pittsley, Nevin Bolick, Mashore, McDowell and Martinez were disciplined for their parts in the fighting and prolonging the fighting. Service, Holtz and DeLucia were disciplined for hitting batters following a warning and Maddon was disciplined for his role as acting manager for a throwing incident following a warning. Dauer and Quirk were disciplined for obscene language and excessive arguing.

© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved

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