Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent met yesterday morning with National League President Bill White and later with the umpires union chief, Richie Phillips, hoping to settle the dispute that erupted over the conduct of, and rules applied to, umpire Joe West.
Vincent said in a statement released late yesterday that the two league presidents soon would decide -- after consultation with the Major League Umpires Association -- on instructions for umpires in dealing with on-field fights.
Vincent's other point was to try to put a lid on the sort of acrimonious comments that escalated the dispute between White and West and Phillips. That dispute stemmed from a series of incidents involving West, including a fight between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies, and West's ejection of Phillies outfielder Von Hayes from a game against the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Aug. 22.
"I am pleased the matter has been resolved and that we will be working together to decide the important issues affecting baseball and the umpiring profession," Vincent said in a statement.
White was unavailable to comment and a National League spokesperson said he was unlikely to issue any statement. Phillips and West could not be reached for comment.
White met last week with West and Phillips in Philadelphia, after which the umpire and union chief offered accounts on the meeting differing from White's version.
West said White told him he handled the Hayes situation properly and that White was considering asking umpires to stop interceding in on-field fights. When White read West's comments, he issued a statement saying he had, in fact, not approved of West's ejection of Hayes and had instructed West not to touch players while attempting to break up brawls.