Players dispute Astros road trip

October 02, 1991

The Major League Baseball Players Association filed a grievance yesterday in an attempt to block the Houston Astros' 26-game road trip next season caused by the Republican National Convention.

The Houston Sports Association, which owns the Astrodome and the Astros, rented the stadium to the Republican National Committee for four weeks. HSA chairman John McMullen did not ask for permission from the National League before renting out the stadium.

The Republican convention is scheduled for Aug. 17-20, but organizers say they needed additional time to set up facilities.

The union says the 26-game road trip violates the NL constitution and asked George Nicolau, baseball's arbitrator, to order the trip shortened.

* INDIANS: A heckler hit in the chest by a ball thrown boutfielder Albert Belle last spring filed suit against Belle and the club.

Jeff Pillar of Cleveland, who displayed a red welt on his chest after the incident, filed the suit in Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Common Pleas Court and asked for unspecified money damages.

The suit said the Indians have "a duty to use reasonable care to protect fans from being injured by assaults from players."

Pillar was hit from a distance of about 15 feet during a game May 11 after Pillar jokingly invited Belle to a keg party. Belle spent 10 weeks in an alcoholism rehabilitation program at the Cleveland Clinic last year.

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