NEW YORK — NEW YORK -- Orioles officials and acting commissioner Bud Selig flatly denied a published report that umpire John Hirschbeck, using slang, referred to Roberto Alomar as a homosexual before Alomar spat in the umpire's face Sept. 27.
The New York Post, attributing its information to seven unidentified sources in the Major League Baseball Players Association and in the Orioles' organization, reported yesterday that Hirschbeck called Alomar a "fag" as part of an obscenity-laden tirade before Alomar spat in his face.
Selig issued a statement that said, "The story is so despicable that it doesn't deserve a scintilla of comment."
Orioles manager Davey Johnson, who was standing between Hirschbeck and Alomar during the argument, said he "didn't hear that. I never heard that one."
A source close to Alomar said it was his understanding from talking with Alomar that Hirschbeck used neither a homosexual reference nor a racial reference, only your garden-variety baseball cuss word.
Orioles general manager Pat Gillick said: "As far as I know there was no reference [by Hirschbeck of Alomar] being a homosexual. Not to my knowledge."
But Gillick did reiterate the Orioles' position that Hirschbeck used inappropriate language.
In the first inning of the Orioles' game against the Blue Jays, Alomar was called out on strikes on a pitch that appeared to be eight inches to a foot outside of the strike zone. Alomar argued mildly as he began to leave home plate, and continued to argue as he walked back to the dugout. Hirschbeck told him at least twice to shut up.
Alomar said something from the dugout, and Hirschbeck stepped out from behind home plate to tell Alomar to cease. Alomar says he told Hirschbeck to pay attention to the game, and Hirschbeck threw him out.
As Johnson and Alomar ran out to the plate, they both were asking Hirschbeck why they threw the second baseman out. Johnson and Hirschbeck said the manager asked why the umpire threw Alomar out of such an important game.
At that point, television replay appears to show Hirschbeck referring to Alomar by a obscene epithet, and then Alomar spat in Hirschbeck's face. The next day, Hirschbeck denied calling Alomar by any obscene name.
Pub Date: 10/10/96