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Garvey Versus Umpire: Unfair, but to Whom?

June 14, 1986

San Diego's media displayed unusual ignorance by their proud coverage of the Padres-Braves home plate controversy on June 5. This incident caused umpire Charlie Williams' name to be voiced on the airwaves and printed in the papers more than any official in local sports history.

Umpires have ejected thousands of players for far lesser antics than Steve Garvey's artistic expressions with a baseball stick. How would Garvey be treated if he granted similar gestures while in an "on-the-shoulder-of-the-freeway" discussion with the Highway Patrol?

Surely, somewhere down the line, sports heroes and scribes must assume certain moral responsibilities to protect the basic integrity of the game. It just so happens our umpire of note wears blue, and is black, too. Williams was the victim of vicious racial slurs and other bitter comments during the balance of Thursday night's game.

Because Williams made an unpopular call, do reporters and Garvey have the right to openly encourage negative fan reactions toward him? Is this what America's greatest pastime is really all about? Is ignorance out of ignorance acceptable?

BOB MOSS

San Diego

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