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Drysdale: Still Letting Some Pitches 'Get Away'?

June 04, 1988

I was disgusted by Don Drysdale's unauthorized "commentary" after Tim Belcher's ejection from Wednesday night's game against the New York Mets. His criticism of the umpiring crew and thinly disguised bashing of National League President Bart Giamatti was absolutely unjustified and merits a public apology and/or suspension.

In a rambling attack, Drysdale suggested that it was contrary to "the law of the land" for umpire Steve Rippley to determine that Belcher intended to hit Kevin Elster. The self-appointed legal expert evidently does not understand that in this land, the law provides that intent may be proven by circumstantial evidence. Belcher hit the first man he faced after Steve Sax nearly walked into a Sid Fernandez pitch. The mere haste of Belcher's response was support for a finding of intent beyond a reasonable doubt. Drysdale's suggestion that the ball "might have gotten away" is a frivolous defense.

Young athletes should not be told that throwing at people is just part of the game. Drysdale's comments are especially suspect because they come from a man whose achievements were, I believe, marred by the apparent satisfaction he took in letting pitches "get away."

DAN YORK

Pasadena

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