Coach Says Belle Followed His Orders

Associated Press

Dave Nelson, first base coach of the Cleveland Indians, said in a television interview that outfielder Albert Belle was carrying out Nelson’s orders when he flattened second baseman Fernando Vina of the Milwaukee Brewers in the basepath May 31.

In an HBO segment of “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” devoted entirely to filmmaker Spike Lee’s interview with Belle, Nelson said he chewed out Belle for failing to do the same thing to Vina earlier in the game. Belle was suspended for two games and fined $25,000 by the American League for the incident.

“I definitely had no intentions of trying to hurt him or end his career or knock him out for the rest of the season,” Belle said.

The first collision between Belle and Vina occurred in the third inning of the game at Milwaukee with Belle on first base. Vina fielded a grounder, charged Belle for the tag, then threw to first for the double play after Belle bumped him lightly.


Nelson said he had just finished telling Belle to be sure to break up any double-play attempts.

“Now it’s three outs,” Nelson said, “so Albert’s standing out on the infield, and I go out there . . . and I said, ‘Dammit Albert, what did I tell you?’ I said. . . . ‘You cost us a . . . run, and you should have took the guy out.’ ”

In the eighth inning, after Belle was hit by a pitch, nearly the same thing happened, only this time, Belle smashed Vina to the ground. Belle was out, but there was no double play.



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