Belle's media actions bring look from league


CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians outfielder Albert Belle may face disciplinary action from the Commissioner's Office and the American League for a dugout tirade in which he was verbally abusive to several members of the press.

Belle angrily cleared out the dugout before Game 3 and shouted at NBC sports' Hannah Storm while she was doing an on-camera interview. No official complaint was levied by Storm or any of the media members, but baseball officials said they are looking into the incident.

"Officially, it is what we consider abusive behavior toward her and the media," said Jim Small of the Commissioner's Office. "Obviously, it was not appropriate. It is something we are concerned about and something [acting commissioner] Bud Selig and [AL president] Gene Budig are going to look at."

It wouldn't be the first time that Belle has come under the scrutiny of league officials. He has been suspended four times for erratic behavior.

The Indians would not comment on whether they had confronted Belle over his behavior.

"It has been our policy to keep things like that internal," said manager Mike Hargrove. "What's done internally, stays there."

That could mean that the Indians are looking into the matter, too, but it also could mean that the last thing the club wants to do is aggravate the slugger at this point in the World Series.

Media-friendly Braves

There have been few unpleasant incidents between the Atlanta Braves and the media, which relief pitcher Mark Wohlers credits to general manager John Schuerholz and his decision to bring in consultant Andrea Kirby as the club's media coach a few years ago.

"That helped us learn about the media and how to understand what they do," said Wohlers, who has had to deal with reporters a lot more this year as the club's No. 1 closer. "I tried to pay attention because I always thought that someday I would be in this position.

"You've got to take the good with the bad. I think people respect you a little more when you're out there after you don't do well, though I think it's much easier to sit back in the training room then and go over and over how you failed."

Oh no, not him again

Cleveland's Orel Hershiser matches up tonight again with Braves ace Greg Maddux, who went the distance and gave up just two hits in Game 1. Hershiser held his own, with three hits in six-plus innings, but he conceded before last night's game that he'll face the same result if Maddux continues to pitch the way he did Saturday.

"To face our lineup and give up just two singles, that's an absolutely awesome performance," Hershiser said. "If he can re-create that, he deserves to win tomorrow. Hopefully, he won't be able to re-create that and we'll swing the bat a little better."

Off the bench

The Braves' vaunted bench figures to take a beating in the off-season, when outfielders Mike Devereaux and Luis Polonia go looking for full-time work.

Devereaux figures to find it after a strong season as a platoon outfielder with the Chicago White Sox and an MVP performance in the NL Championship Series for the Braves. Polonia hopes he'll also find a regular position, after playing part time for three teams during the past two years.

"I came here to pinch hit . . . I knew what the role would be, and I'm excited to be in the World Series," said Polonia, who had a key double in the Braves' three-run seventh last night. "But next year, I'm looking for a team that will give me a chance to be an everyday player. I'm 30 years old. I've still got something to prove."

After leaving the New York Yankees, Polonia ripped the team for trading him. Now, he's having the last laugh.

"Too bad they're there," he said. "I'm here. I got the best part of the deal."

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