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A Bad Call
2003-02-04 09:17
by Jon Weisman

Not that I couldn't have commented on this before, but since the Bruce Froemming story became a Dodger story today, I feel a little more compelled.

First of all, this is a great decision by the Dodgers. There are certainly plenty of other umpires that you can hire to work a fantasy camp before you use someone who called his supervisor a "stupid Jew bitch" on the telephone. Talk about an umpire's bad call.

Going beyond that, there's the issue of Froemming's punishment by Major League Baseball. His remark cost him a 10-day suspension and a trip to Tokyo to work MLB's opening day.

He shouldn't have gotten anything less. I think his remarks are sufficiently insubordinate, insensitive and destructive to the workplace to merit suspension.

Some say he should have been fired. At least one person has compared this to Al Campanis' egregious remarks about African Americans on Nightline.

Campanis' actions called into question his qualifications to supervise the control of players' careers, so whatever his previous track record, I supported and still support the decision to fire him. I don't know if anyone's going to check Shawn Green's batting stats when Froemming has been behind home plate, but barring any remarkable evidence of that sort, I don't know that the situations are greatly analogous.

However, I do think Froemming, as an on-field supervisor, deserves more of a suspension than John Rocker got for his awful remarks about minorities and others in an interview with Sports Illustrated. Rocker was originially suspended for 45 days of Spring Training and the first 28 days of the regular season. That suspension was later reduced to 0 days of Spring Training and 14 days of the regular season - still more than Froemming has gotten.

Froemming's excuse for making the remarks was that he thought he had hung up the phone - and by the way, he told the press, "There was no anti-Semitism whatsoever on my part.''

This looks like a bad call all around.

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