Umpire John Hirschbeck broke his silence about the Roberto Alomar spitting incident Saturday, saying he forgives the Baltimore Orioles’ all-star second baseman.
In a prepared statement released to reporters after Baltimore’s division series-clinching victory over Cleveland, Hirschbeck said:
“It is time to bring closure to this matter. While the events of the past week have been difficult for me and my family and all who love baseball, I wish to publicly forgive Roberto Alomar for his actions. I am sure that he wishes as much as I do that this incident never occurred.”
Alomar, who issued his apology in a prepared statement Monday, responded with another prepared statement Saturday.
“I want to thank John Hirschbeck and his wife, Denise, for their comments,” Alomar’s statement read. “It was a very gracious gesture. I have apologized to John and his family, and I will do so in person at our earliest convenience. I am sure that he believes, like I do, that we should put this behind us and go forward.”
Alomar spit in Hirschbeck’s face after a first-inning ejection Sept. 27 at Toronto. Umpires, angry that Alomar would not immediately serve a five-game suspension handed down by league president Gene Budig, threatened to boycott postseason games.
However, a federal judge ordered the umpires back to work and the games continued without interruption.