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Foul mouth

Froemming suspended 10 games, pulled from Japan trip

Posted: Friday January 31, 2003 1:02 AM
Updated: Friday January 31, 2003 10:10 AM
  Bruce Froemming At 63, Bruce Froemming is baseball's most senior umpire. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

NEW YORK (AP) -- Longtime umpire Bruce Froemming has been suspended for 10 days and has lost his Opening Day assignment in Tokyo for using an anti-Semitic slur to describe a major league baseball administrator, sources said.

USA Today reported Friday that Froemming had been pulled from the Japan trip and was expected to be suspended for the slur in a conversation about umpiring administrator Cathy Davis.

The newspaper said Froemming called Davis a "stupid Jew bitch."

Two baseball management sources, speaking on the condition they not be identified, told The Associated Press late Thursday night that Froemming was suspended for 10 days without pay.

At 63, Froemming is baseball's most senior umpire. He was to start off his 33rd major league season by working the two-game, opening series between the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners in Tokyo on March 25-26.

Davis also is a longtime baseball employee, having worked many years for the National League with umpires before taking over her present job.

Froemming had been told to let the major league office make his travel arrangements to Japan, but did them on his own.

"Bruce did not ask for union assistance regarding this matter," Larry Gibson, a lawyer for the World Umpires Association, said Thursday. "Therefore, we are not involved in it."

In June 1996, NL president Len Coleman spoke to Froemming after the veteran crew chief went into the Los Angeles Dodgers' locker room before a game against the Mets in New York to get players' autographs. Froemming was reported to have gone into the trainer's room to seek Mike Piazza's signature.

At the time, Coleman said it was against league policy for umpires to seek autographs from players because it was a conflict of interest.

Baseball and its umpires have had a bumpy relationship for a few years.

During the 1999 season, 22 umpires lost their jobs after a mass resignation plan designed by former umpires' union head Richie Phillips failed. Twelve have since been reinstated, with the fate of the others still in federal court.

The WUA is meeting Feb. 22-23 in Florida, and umpires will then meet with baseball officials for three days before the start of exhibition games. The WUA and baseball have been fighting since last summer over management's use of a computerized system that rates their balls-and-strikes calls.

Related information
Umpire Durwood Merrill dies at 64
A's, Mariners to open 2003 season in Japan
Judge rules for owners in suit against umpires
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