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April 24, 1998

Leagues Crack Down on Players

Everybody is following the AL's lead

by Joe Sheehan

In the wake of Randy Johnson's three-game suspension for throwing at Kenny Lofton's head (and did anyone else think of Crocodile Dundee? "That's not wild, mate. That's wild."), the other professional sports have announced they will follow the AL President Gene Budig's example of sitting players down for similiarly significant lengths of time.

Today, the NBA suspended the entire Los Angeles Clipper roster for the month of May, citing their status as an embarrassment to the league. When it was pointed out that the Clippers have never played a game in May, the league's Dean of Discipline Rod Thorn replied, "Maybe, but we had to do something."

While that press conference was ongoing, the NHL faxed out a release, suspending Philadephia Flyers forward Eric Lindros for the three days between the end of the regular season and the Flyers' first playoff game. Lindros had no comment, but his father, never shy about meeting the press, called the suspension a travesty and said his son would appeal immediately. When it was pointed out that the suspension would not lead to any missed games, the elder Lindros said only, "Oh."

Not long afterward, the National League banged the gavel down on Cubs rookie Kerry Wood, whose high hard one agitated Dodger second baseman Eric Young on Saturday. Wood was suspended for batting practice before the Cub-Dodger rematch Friday, and banned from the post-game buffet for the entire weekend.

A late rumor has also came out of the suddenly active AL office. Apparently, the Felix Martinez case may be re-opened, with the likelihood that the Royals' rookie shortstop will be suspended for the entirety of the three-day All-Star break. This will force him to decline an invitation to the Home Run Derby, as well as forfeit his best event in the skills competition, the Baserunner Kick.

What did Johnson have to say about all of this? Nothing. He was busy preparing for his next start.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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