The American League will not respond to umpires' plans to punish Billy Martin until the Yankees manager is treated unfairly on the field, a league spokeswoman said Saturday.
Umpires union chief Richie Phillips said Friday union members felt Martin's three-game suspension for throwing dirt on Dale Scott in Oakland was too lenient.Phillips said Martin, for whom dirt-kicking has become a trademark, would be ejected for behavior tolerated in other managers.
AL President Dr. Bobby Brown Friday said he had confidence umpires would continue to act impartially.
"He said, `I don't believe in crossing your bridges until you come to them,"'league spokeswoman Phyllis Merhige said. "Our basic position has been, when there's some action to be dealt with, it'll be dealt with."
Merhige said the league learned about the umpires' gripe in the press and that, to her knowledge, they had not lodged an official complaint.
"He (Brown) said earlier if the crew chiefs individually have something to say to me, I'll listen. I think that still holds true."
Phillips said Martin's suspension was inadequate when compared to the 30-day ban handed Cincinnati Manager Pete Rose for pushing an umpire. Martin, who also was fined $1,000, was fined earlier in the season for kicking dirt on an umpire.
"For Martin to stay in the game, he's going to have to behave like an altar boy," Phillips said.
In Boston, where the Red Sox played the Toronto Blue Jays Saturday, umpire Larry Barnett said Phillips did speak for his crew.
"The only comment we will have will come out of the office of the Association," said Barnett, the crew chief.
For Martin, in his fifth term managing the Yankees, the controversy is his second of the young 1988 season. Earlier, he needed 40 stitches in his ear following an incident at a Texas topless bar. Police disputed Martin's claim that he was attacked in the bathroom, saying the 60-year-old manager had thrown the only punch in the incident and hurt himself against a wall outside the bar.