The National League and the Reds tried Sunday to diminish the mushroom cloud caused by the Saturday night confrontation between Pete Rose and umpire Dave Pallone. Pallone and the other umpires declined to discuss the situation, and Rose admitted he had violated a rule the league strictly enforces when he twice shoved Pallone in the ninth inning of the New York Mets' 6-5 victory.
But more fallout is expected from that incident and a minor skirmish two innings earlier.The Cincinnati Reds fear National League president A. Bartlett Giamatti will suspend their manager. At the same time, players on the Mets and Reds suspect feelings between the teams will not be particularly hospitable next weekend, when they play in New York.
In the ninth inning Saturday night with the score 5-5, Howard Johnson on second and two outs, Mookie Wilson grounded to shortstop. Barry Larkin's throw to first seemed to pull Nick
Esasky off the bag, but Pallone made no call immediately. After first-base coach Bill Robinson pointed at the bag and crossed the foul line, Pallone signaled safe slowly. Rose estimated the delay to be at least three seconds. Johnson scored with no play on him, but he noted later that catcher Lloyd McClendon was not at the plate.
During the argument, Pallone inadvertently poked Rose on the left cheek. Rose raised both forearms and shoved Pallone and was ejected.
Rose, who still had a welt on his cheek Sunday, admitted his guilt without apologizing. "I was wrong. I shouldn't have done it. But he (Pallone) hit me in the face, and I lost my cool. . . . I think we both should be suspended."
Ed Vargo, the National League supervisor of umpires, arrived Sunday. He declined to discuss the situation and instructed the umpires not to speak with the media. Early Sunday, Pallone told some Mets personnel that he probably would work second base, but he served in rotation as the plate umpire in the Mets' 11-0 victory. He even called two balks against the Reds, one during an intentional walk.
"He showed me something (Saturday) night, making a gutsy call," Mets Manager Davey Johnson said. "And then he came out here and worked the plate."
Reds General Manager Murray Cook said that he had spoken with Giamatti on Saturday night and that Giamatti had expressed concern about the situation that had caused the crowd to become "more unruly than any crowd I've ever seen," according to umpiring crew chief John Kibler.
Cook wouldn't speculate as to what Rose's punishment might be. Some Reds players expressed fear of a 10-day suspension. Cook also said that the Reds were investigating comments made by their radio broadcast crew about Pallone on Saturday night.
Losing pitcher John Franco, who said Pallone was among "the two or three umpires in the league who don't know what they're doing," hinted he might not have continued to pitch after the call and ejection if Pallone had remained on the field. But fans threw objects at Pallone and other debris, and Pallone then sought the safety of the umpires' dressing room. The game was completed wih a three-man crew.
Tensions on the field were high in the ninth because Darryl Strawberry had led a charge of Mets players onto the field after Reds pitcher Tom Browning had hit Tim Teufel with a pitch in the seventh. Browning also hit Gary Carter with a pitch in the sixth, two batters after Strawberry's home run.
Browning said Sunday that he hadn't intended to hit Carter but added, "I'm not going to say whether I intended to hit Teufel."
Browning said he didn't care for Strawberry's comment that Browning was gutless, adding, "It wasn't even his fight."
Other Mets may be seeking revenge against Reds outfielder Tracy Jones. They said Jones swung at Strawberry while Strawberry was being held by Dave Concepcion. Two Mets, Randy Myers and Mackey Sasser, eventually restrained Jones.
Other Mets already were planning their revenge. "You don't hit guys when he's held," one said. "It's a long season. We'll get our chance."