Apologetic Mathews gets earful and eyeful Replay of tiff with Miller helps pitcher see his error

Sidelight

June 21, 1998|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Disputes between players and managers take place all the time in the heat of battle. They're usually hidden behind clubhouse doors, however, not captured by television cameras and broadcast over the airwaves.

In this case, the images served a useful purpose. They showed Terry Mathews just how inappropriate his reaction was to being removed in the 15th inning of Friday's 7-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays at Camden Yards.

Mathews had a 1-0 count on Shawn Green with a runner on second and one out when manager Ray Miller popped out of the dugout and signaled for Norm Charlton. Flush with emotion, Mathews jammed the ball into Miller's hand as he stormed off the mound, clearly agitated at coming out.

Miller returned to the dugout, stood within inches of Mathews and pointed a finger in his face as he scolded him. The scene was replayed twice on television and viewed by Mathews after he went into the clubhouse.

"It looked a whole lot worse than what I thought," Mathews said before last night's game. "I don't know exactly how it happened, but it happened. He aired me out pretty good and I came in and watched it on TV. I was as embarrassed as I've ever been in a baseball situation. I could see how bad it was. That's something that should never happen."

Mathews apologized to Miller after the game. His reaction, he said, didn't stem from the decision to remove him after 1 1/3 innings. Rather, he was swept away by the emotion that came with the chance to be part of an exhilarating win and to improve his relationship with fans here.

"I made a very big mistake," said Mathews, in his seventh big-league season. "I just really wanted to go out there and do the job and get a win. Sometimes, when you have a lot of adrenalin going you don't realize how aggressive you get.

"Ray understood it. He came over and took care of it very quickly and very firmly, and it was all over. He got his point across. It'll never happen again."

Said Miller: "That's no problem. Those are the things that happen in the clubhouse all the time that you don't see. Fortunately, he sat there when I came off the field and didn't do anything. That was smart. Terry's been through a lot. So have I."

Catcher Lenny Webster missed what happened on the mound, but got an earful from Miller after Mathews departed. "He was very adamant. I was wondering what the heck was going on. I saw the replay and was sick," Webster said.

Mathews admitted to being frustrated by his poor luck since ending his second stay on the disabled list Wednesday. The 15th-inning jam started with an infield hit. The previous night, he was reached for three soft singles that led to two runs.

"The people in here [clubhouse] see that, but the people in the stands may not," he said. "I heard reactions after the ground ball that wasn't even hit hard enough to get to the shortstop. They see a base hit as a single to the infield or a line drive off the wall. It's a base hit to them.

"I want to prove to the fans, the coaching staff and everyone that I'm a quality big-league player and it's kind of hard after coming back and not giving up hard-hit balls, but they're still finding places to fall. It's getting frustrating, but I can't let that emotion take over.

"That's about all I can say about it. Hopefully, it will go away."

It's gone; it's over

Rafael Palmeiro's 15th-inning home run early yesterday morning was the Orioles' eighth sudden-death shot at Oriole Park.

.............. ............. Men

Date .. Player .... Opp. ... on ... Res.

7/9/94 Hammonds ... Oak. .... 0 ... 8-7

4/13/96 Anderson .. Min. .... 0 ... 7-6

5/17/96 Hoiles .... Sea. .... 3 .. 14-13

6/22/96 M. Smith .. K.C. .... 1 ... 5-3

7/15/96 Hoiles .... Tor. .... 1 ... 8-6

6/3/97 Palmeiro ... N.Y.Y. .. 1 ... 7-5

6/2/98 Palmeiro ... Sea. .... 1 ... 9-8

6/19/98 Palmeiro .. Tor. .... 2 ... 7-4

Note: The games of 6/3/97 and 6/2/98 went 10 innings; the game on 6/19/98 went 15.

Pub Date: 6/21/98

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