Coleman leaves Mets will he return?

August 04, 1993|By Steve Serby | Steve Serby,New York Daily News

MONTREAL -- Embattled Vince Coleman, characterized by New York Mets manager Dallas Green as "quite distraught and upset" about his felony charge, requested to leave the club before last night's game against the Montreal Expos and will be gone for the foreseeable future, if not forever.

In his strongest remarks since the July 24 incident in which Coleman injured three people with a powerful M-100 explosive device, a fed-up Green launched his strongest attack on what he considers conduct unbecoming a professional baseball player.

"We feel it was a dumb, stupid thing to do," Green said. "He's certainly paying the price for it, and well he should. I think it's been a very difficult time for him and somehow he'll get through it, I guess."

Green has benched Coleman since July 25 and made his feelings known in no uncertain terms about the incident to

general manager Joe McIlvaine and vice president Gerry Hunsicker. At the end of an answer in which he praised the outfielder for his on-the-field performance, Green said, "I don't have a problem with Vinny on the baseball field."

Green also noted that "I think the Mets have played as good a baseball as the Mets have played in a while without Vinny being in the lineup."

Green said he met with Coleman prior to Tuesday night's 3-1 loss to the Expos. Green said that Coleman had "come to grips" with his predicament and "fully expected" to return to the lineup last night before the announcement out of the Los Angeles district attorney's office.

"He was quite distraught and upset about it," Green said. "I told him the best thing was to do what he had to do and we'd do what we had to do."

Coleman and his attorney, Robert Shapiro, will attempt to have the felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor. Major-league baseball contracts can be voided if a player is convicted of a felony. Coleman is nearing the end of the third year of a four-year, $11.95-million free-agent deal he signed on Dec. 5, 1990.

"He's going to get his family together and take his family out there and get those people settled and meet with his lawyers and do whatever the judge and lawyer tell him to do," Green said. "So he obviously isn't going to be available."

Hunsicker said he would discuss options with McIlvaine, who is still in San Diego with his wife awaiting the birth of a child. "I didn't realize he had requested to leave the club and would be gone for an extended period of time," Hunsicker said. "I'll have to talk to Joe to see how he wants to handle it. He [Coleman] indicated he had a number of things to take care of. It sounds like he's going to be gone for an extended period."

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