Perry asks for review of eight-game suspension
PITTSBURGH -- Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon served his one-game suspension Friday night for his role in an Aug. 25 pregame fight with the St. Louis Cardinals, but batting coach Gerald Perry asked the commissioner's office to review his eight-game suspension.
MLB executive vice president John McHale agreed to the review -- which, unlike a player's appeal, was not required -- and plans to notify Perry of his decision Tuesday.
Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan also drew a four-game suspension and a fine for the confrontation, the latest in a series of squabbles between the NL Central rivals over the last two seasons. After the latest flare-up, umpire crew chief Jerry Crawford spoke with McClendon and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa in an effort to defuse the angry feelings, and the two managers later talked on the field that night.
But Duncan might have sparked the ill feelings again Thursday by calling McClendon "an idiot" and saying the manager got off easy with a one-game suspension and a fine. He also said his own four-game suspension was not deserved.
"When you look at the guy, Lloyd McClendon, who seems to think the way to manage a ballclub is to intimidate his players and other teams ... and he gets virtually a slap on the wrist," Duncan said. "He's the most responsible for what happened because of the approach he took."
The feud began when McClendon and La Russa got into an on-field shouting match last season and then reignited during the Aug. 22-25 series between the teams in Pittsburgh.
In the first game, a hard slide by the Cardinals' Hector Luna put Pirates second baseman Jose Castillo out for the season with a knee injury. The next night, Pirates reliever Rick White came inside to Luna with a pitch and Pittsburgh reliever Ryan Vogelsong hit outfielder So Taguchi with a pitch on his left hand. Duncan said something to White the following night, which, in turn, prompted McClendon to confront Duncan, and the teams charged each other behind the batting cage.
On a grainy video tape shot by Fox Sports Net just as one of its announcers was interviewing La Russa, McClendon can be heard screaming obscenities at Duncan and asking why he talked to White. Perry is also seen lunging at Duncan and striking him hard enough that his cap is knocked off.
"I understand that on the video, it looks as if he threw a punch but he didn't," McClendon said. "What we tried to explain is the guy shoved Gerald first, and Gerald shoved him back with his left hand, his left hand came across my right shoulder just to push his hand out of the way. It looked like he threw a punch, but he didn't."
Perry explained his side of the case in a phone call Thursday to McHale.
"I was definitely surprised," Perry said, referring to the length of the suspension. "I thought it was stiff."
McClendon didn't dispute Friday that he was at fault. He missed Friday night's game against the Cubs.
"The fact is it's my responsibility to make sure you keep the peace, so to speak, and in that instance I probably didn't do my job to the best of my ability," he said. "As a result, I'm forced to sit out a day, accept it, deal with it and move on."
The Pirates and Cardinals have one series remaining this season, Sept. 12-14 in St. Louis.
"I've moved on and we'll play the game the way it's supposed to be played," McClendon said.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press