DISTRUST: The New York Yankees supposedly ended the 1978 baseball season by wrapping up their second straight title earlier this week. But owner George Steinbrenner is keeping the grand old game in the news by questioning the integrity of umpires.
Steinbrenner complained in an interview that umpires are "chosen for the Series on a rotating basis with no consideration for ability," that National and American League umpires have different strike zones and that National League umps "openly try to help the team in their league" during the Series.
Stembrenner pointed to an incident in the sixth game of the 1977 Series that occurred while both Los Angeles Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda and plate umpire John McSherry were wired for sound.
Steinbrenner tells it: "It was a tough situation with the Dodgers in a tight squeeze and Burt Hoston pitching. Lasorda walked to the mound and so did McSherry . . . Lasorda said, "John, I've got a tough decision to make here.' McSherry replied, 'I'm out here to give you some time. . . . You've brought them this far, I know you'll make the right decision."
"I was shocked by this episode," said Steinbrenner. "It was something that has no place in a baseball game."
"There is no question in my mind that Steinbrenner is questioning the integrity of the umpires," said NL ump Bruce Frocemming, who added that the Major League Umpires Association is investigating the charges.
Isiah Robertson had some differences of opinion with former Los Angeles Ram Coach George Allen and, apparently, Allen's removal has not done much to soothe the psyche of the outside line-backer.
"I will not play behind Bob Brudzinski," said Robertson, who had started for the Rams since 1971. Robertson sat out Wednesday's practice rather that second-string it behind Brudzinski, the team's 1977 first-round pick from Ohio State.
Robertson rejoined practice Thursday after Ram owner Carroll Rosenbloom had a heart-to-heart chat with him.
Ram Coach Ray Malavasi said, "Let's keep this thing light; there are no problems."
"Right now, I don't care if I come back to Kansas City or not," was the sentiment of Kansas City Royal designated hitter Hal McRae when he learned coach Charley Lau had been fired.