ALCS tantrum costs Clemens fine, suspension

November 21, 1990|By Sean Horgan | Sean Horgan,The Hartford Courant

BOSTON -- Don't expect Roger Clemens to be the Opening Day pitcher when the Boston Red Sox begin the 1991 season in April. American League president Bobby Brown suspended Clemens yesterday for the first five games and fined him $10,000 for his Game 4 meltdown Oct. 10 in the American League Championship Series.

In a prepared statement, Brown said the suspension and fine were in response to four specific actions by Clemens in the second inning of the final game against the Oakland Athletics, when Clemens was ejected by home plate umpire Terry Cooney.

Brown said those actions included "making significant physical contact with umpire [Jim] Evans and threatening umpire Cooney, for verbally abusing umpire Cooney with personal obscenities and for not leaving the dugout immediately after the ejection."

Clemens was not immediately available for comment, but his agent, Alan Hendricks, sid the decision would appealed.

"We feel it's totally excessive. We hope to get a fair haring," Hendricks told The Boston Globe. "I have not talked to a person in America who doesn't feel like Clemens didn't deserve acwarning. People's minds were blown by this."

Red Sox general manager Lou Gorman said he talked with the Hendrickses and believes Clemens will appeal.

"At least, that's what they indicated to me," Gorman said. He said the team did not agree with the severity of the punishment, "but at least we're satisfied the issue has been addressed."

Manager Joe Morgan said he had been resigned to the notion Clemens probably would be suspended, but thought the fine was a bit steep.

"I figured he'd get suspended if all the accusations were proved true," Morgan said. "But I think the fine's a little heavy."

The suspension means Clemens, who is entering the final year of his contract, probably will miss one start. "It could be more if it rains, though," Morgan said.

The suspension also could ignite the smoldering dispute between the Major League Baseball Players Association and the umpires union. There is a growing sense among players and their union executives that umpires have become overly contentious in disputes with players.

"A lot of issues have to be touched on," said Donald Fehr, executive director of the players union. "Umpires clearly, without question, are too emotionally involved in the game. Something has to be done. Umpires are not automatically right, even if they're wearing the blue uniform."

Clemens' ejection from the game, which the A's won 3-1 to sweep the series, came after he profanely disputed some ball-and-strike calls by Cooney. Cooney and some A's players said Clemens' language was such that Cooney was correct in ejecting him without a warning. But Clemens said he was not talking to Cooney, but to himself.

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