New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens was fined $50,000 today for throwing the jagged barrel of a shattered bat toward New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza in Game 2 of the World Series.
Umpires in Sunday night’s game concluded that Clemens did not deliberately throw the bat at the catcher, who had fouled off a pitch and trotted a few steps toward first base.
“He just picked up the bat and winged it,” umpire crew chief Ed Montague said. “It was just an emotional deal that built over the months.”
Clemens was not ejected and pitched eight shutout innings in the Yankees’ 6-5 win over the Mets.
However, Frank Robinson, the vice president of the commissioner’s office in charge of discipline, said today that Clemens engaged in “inappropriate conduct.”
Robinson did not disclose the reasoning for his decision or the amount of the fine, but two baseball officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the fine was $50,000.
Clemens vs. Piazza
Game 2 was the first time the two players had faced each other since July 8, when Clemens hit Piazza in the helmet with a pitch.
After the game, Clemens said the whole thing was accidental and that he was being emotional.
“This is the World Series, it shouldn’t overshadow what we’re trying to do,” Clemens said.
The players’ union can appeal Robinson’s decision to Paul Beeston, baseball’s chief operating officer.
“My understanding is Roger wants to put the matter off until after the World Series,” said Gene Orza, the union’s No. 2 official.
Mets general manager Steve Phillips said he thought the matter had been appropriately handled. “If they had come back and said they didn’t want to do anything, that’s fine, too,” he said. “It wouldn’t have broken our hearts either way.”
Said Piazza: “This is a situation that has taken prominence over the ballgame, which is unfortunate. But that’s the way it is.”
Past Behavior Was Considered
Robinson began telephoning executives from the Yankees and Mets on Monday and viewing videotapes, said Sandy Alderson, executive vice president of baseball operations in the commissioner’s office.
“We’re reviewing the situation and will take any appropriate action, if necessary,” Alderson said Monday. “Whatever pattern of behavior that exists or doesn’t exist will be part of the review.
“There’s a perception of a pattern of behavior in the minds of the public that has to be taken into account.”
In the past, hitters have been penalized for throwing bats at pitchers, most notably Oakland’s Bert Campaneris. He was suspended for the rest of the American League playoffs in 1972 after throwing his bat at Detroit pitcher Lerrin LaGrow, who had hit him on an ankle with a pitch.
Phillips, the Mets general manager, said he didn’t think Clemens deliberately threw the bat fragment at his catcher.
“I understand why they didn’t eject him, I really do,” Phillips said.
When Clemens was ejected in the 1990 AL playoffs by umpire Terry Cooney, who thought the pitcher was cursing at him, Clemens was suspended for five games and fined $10,000. A final ruling after two appeals was not made until the following April 26.