NEW YORK — Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth stepped into the feud between Billy Martin and the umpires Tuesday, and within hours the New York Yankees manager issued an apology and the umpires' association said he would be permitted to go on the playing field to question calls.
Speaking at a mid-afternoon news conference to announce that he would not accept a second term as commissioner, Ueberroth told the parties to "stop it and stop it now." He said Martin should be treated as any other manager and the umpires should be treated with respect.
"Now that it's escalated into talks of lawsuits being brought and name-calling--'liars, jerks,' that sort of thing--I've talked with both sides and told them to stop it and stop it now," Ueberroth said.
"I think all managers need to be treated the same on the field of play. At the same time, we will not tolerate abuse of umpires. We have to have the game played equal."
In a statement released by the Yankees before Tuesday night's game with the Boston Red Sox, Martin said he was sorry for an incident in Oakland last week in which he threw and kicked dirt on umpire Dale Scott. He received a three-game suspension and a $1,000 fine.
Later, the umpires' association, headed by Richie Phillips, released a statement saying, "Due to Billy Martin's apology and his promise of good behavior, Billy will be permitted to go on the playing field to question umpires."
Martin, under threat of ejection for arguing any call, stayed off the field Monday night when the Yankees lost, 3-2. But after the game, Martin said: "I'll be out on the field all day. Every time I want to go out, I will go out on the field and I will argue and do everything a manager is supposed to do. I defy Richie Phillips to stop me."