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BASEBALL EXTRA | AROUND THE LEAGUE

Belle Fined $5,000 for Obscene Gesture

June 07, 1997|Associated Press

Albert Belle was fined $5,000 by the American League on Friday for making an obscene gesture to rowdy fans in Cleveland after Tuesday night's game.

"An obscene gesture to our fans--no matter what the provocation--is simply not acceptable behavior from a major league player," said Gene Budig, the league president.

Budig ordered Belle to spend the $5,000 on White Sox tickets and distribute them to disadvantaged youth in Chicago.

Belle wasn't available for comment, but the players' union said it will appeal the penalty. Gene Orza, the union's No. 2 official, said if Budig doesn't change his mind after hearing the appeal, the matter might be appealed to the ruling executive council.

"With that kind of abuse, it is easy for someone in New York to say he has to take it, but it isn't that way in the real world," Orza said.

However, Ron Schueler, the White Sox general manager, said neither Belle nor the team will appeal.

"I'm not going to fine him personally, either," Schueler said. "I'm not going to condone what he did. I thought security was terrible the first night."

*

Pitching in front of New York Yankee owner George Steinbrenner for the first time, Hideki Irabu was nearly flawless during a four-inning minor league intrasquad outing in Tampa, Fla.

The right-hander, who signed a $12.8-million, four-year contract last week, threw only four balls in his 35-pitch performance and gave up one infield hit, while striking out six of 12 batters.

Irabu, who was 59-59 with 1,111 strikeouts in Japan's Pacific League, is scheduled to make his minor league debut for Class A Tampa on Tuesday.

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