No hard feelings from scribe scarred in Royals' McRae's tirade

April 28, 1993|By Alan Eskew

KANSAS CITY, MO. — * The following is a column written by Alan Eskew, sportswrite for The Topeka Capital-Journal, who was struck in the face Monday night by an object thrown by Kansas City Royals manager Hal McRae. KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- I feel a little bit uncomfortable writing this column. My job is to report the news, not make it. I don't seek notoriety.

But suddenly and inadvertently, I'm in the news. A UFO, believed to be a tape recorder, was thrown across a room by enraged Kansas City Royals manager Hal McRae and struck me in the face after a 5-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers Monday night.

My name made the national wires and my phone started ringing early yesterday. A Kansas City radio station wanted to interview me concerning "the assault." A Chicago radio station called, saying it was "a funny incident" and asked if I would go on their noonday show. I replied that it "wasn't that funny." A Toronto radio station also called.

KMBC-TV in Kansas City wanted to come out and interview me for the 6 o'clock news. I declined all requests.

The Associated Press and The Kansas City Star asked whether I was suing McRae and/or the Royals. I have no such plans.

Back to the incident that precipitated me looking like I went 10 rounds with Kansas City heavyweight boxer Tommy Morrison:

There's a 1 1/2 -inch cut on my right cheek about an inch from my eye. My vision was blurry for a few hours. My face is still puffy, and I took two aspirin for a headache before writing this column. I visited the doctor yesterday afternoon and received a tetanus shot. He said the cut would leave a scar.

McRae didn't intend to hit me with any object. We get along fine.

He was incensed at what he considered to be "a stupid question" from John Doolittle, a sports talk-show host for Kansas City radio station KMBZ.

First, Doolittle questioned whether McRae should have had Brian McRae, Hal's son and the Royals' center fielder, bunting in the ninth inning with two runners on base and nobody out. Brian lined into a double play.

Next Doolittle wondered why the manager did not pinch hit George Brett for Keith Miller in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and two out. Miller's popup ended the inning.

The questions were not out of line, but McRae probably felt Doolittle was second-guessing him.

I've had managers, coaches and players scream and yell obscenities in my face over the years, but never have I witnessed such anger over a question or questions.

I'm sure McRae is feeling the heat of the Royals' second straight dismal start, which is putting his job in jeopardy. But that's no excuse for his behavior. Nor should the Royals condone it.

His response was totally out of line. He could have shooed away the media verbally without throwing glass and plastic objects, food, a desk telephone and busting the television set in his office.

Blowing up like that doesn't help his image or the Royals' image. He personally apologized to me. I accepted and told him he owed me a crab dinner in Baltimore.

I did miss the first edition deadline Monday by 18 minutes. Trainer Nick Swartz treated me after the game, stopping the bleeding and applying a bandage before I could write.

David Cone, who pitched six years for the Mets, took one look at me and said, "I thought the New York media was tough."

Third-base coach Steve Boros asked if I was going on the disabled list. I said no way.

"That's the attitude, rub some dirt on it and go right back out there," Boros said.

I do plan to duck next time, but I hope there is no next time.

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