April 24, 1996 in Sports

A.L. Officials Ask Belle To Explain Latest Difficulty

Associated Press
 

Albert Belle, accused of throwing a ball at a photographer, has been asked to appear before baseball officials Wednesday.

However, the players’ union would not say if the Cleveland outfielder will show.

Management’s Player Relations Committee requested Belle’s appearance through Gene Orza, the union’s No. 2 official, said a source familiar with the investigation, who spoke on the condition he not be identified.

The Indians begin a series with the Yankees on Tuesday, and players are usually summoned to baseball headquarters when their teams are in New York.

The American League is investigating the April 6 incident in which Belle allegedly threw a ball that hit Sports Illustrated photographer Tony Tomsic.

A.L. president Gene Budig said Tuesday that while no official complaint has been lodged, the incident is “serious enough to warrant further investigation.”

Belle declined comment after the Indians’ 9-8 win over Baltimore on Tuesday night. But before the game, he discussed the controversy with two Cleveland television stations.

“I thought it went over his head or something,” Belle told WEWS. “I didn’t know he had to go to the training room and get treatment.”

Belle told WUAB that reporters are pressuring Tomsic to press charges, although the outfielder did not identify them. He added that he was trying to throw the ball to teammate Manny Ramirez.

“This guy was standing almost behind Manny Ramirez, and naturally over the course of a season a ball is going to get away from me or anyone else,” he said. “I don’t feel like I was doing anything intentional.”

A baseball official, also asking he not be identified, said Belle was supposed to be undergoing counseling as part of the penalty imposed for an incident during last year’s World Series incident.

“But evidently he hasn’t been doing it,” the official said.

Belle was fined $50,000 by acting commissioner Bud Selig on Feb. 29 for a profane tirade at a reporter during last year’s World Series.

The New York Times reported Belle was seeing Dr. Charles Maher, a professor of psychology at Rutgers. Maher is the sports psychologist for the Indians.

Belle allegedly threw at Tomsic at Jacobs Field after becoming angry that the photographer took his picture. Tomsic does not want to become involved in a controversy.

“Without him, it’s very hard to make a case,” said the baseball official.

xxxx

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email