Ump Gets Called Out
Veteran umpire Bruce Froemming, slapped with a 10-day suspension without pay last week for making an anti-Semitic remark about an umpiring administrator, found himself on the other end of an ejection this week.
Froemming was a long-time regular at the Dodgers’ biannual adult baseball camps, the next of which begins Thursday and runs through Feb. 12 in Vero Beach, Fla. But the organization has informed baseball’s most senior crew chief that he is persona non grata in Dodgertown this week.
“Due to present circumstances, we as an organization do not think it’s appropriate that he attend the camp,” Derrick Hall, the Dodgers’ senior vice president of communications, said Monday.
The 63-year-old Froemming, who has worked five World Series, has apologized for using an anti-Semitic slur about umpiring administrator Cathy Davis. “I’m sincerely sorry,” Froemming said Friday. “I made a stupid remark and I accept my punishment.”
Froemming was supposed to travel to Tokyo to handle the two-game, season-opening series between the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners on March 25-26, but as part of his suspension, he was replaced on the crew by Steve Rippley.
Froemming, who lives in Vero Beach, has worked the Dodger adult camps for about 10 years, umpiring games between the campers during the day and participating in fireside chats with former Dodger players and campers in the evenings.
This week’s camp will feature instructors Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell and Ron Cey, who from 1973 to ’81 teamed to form the longest-running infield quartet in major league history, as well as Duke Snider, Ralph Branca, Carl Erskine, Clem Labine, Jay Johnstone, Rick Monday, Reggie Smith and Maury Wills. Almost 100 campers from 19 states, and one from Nicaragua, are expected to attend.
But Froemming will not.
“By this decision, we are not judging the intent or validity of what he said,” Hall said. “We’re merely basing it on his present situation and the suspension handed down by the commissioner’s office.
“We feel it would be highly inappropriate for him to be part of our camp.”
Froemming was understanding of the Dodgers’ decision.
“It’s a timing thing -- I’m just going to let everything rest,” Froemming said by phone from his home in Vero Beach. “It’s been a tough week. I’d just like to let this thing die. I said I was sorry. I just want to move on.”
The Dodgers reached agreement with right-hander Giovanni Carrara on a one-year, $790,000 contract Monday, avoiding arbitration with a reliever who could be used as a starter this season.
Carrara, 34, had asked for $880,000 in arbitration, and the Dodgers, who avoided arbitration with all their players who were eligible this winter, offered $725,000.
Carrara went 6-3 with a 3.28 earned-run average and one save in 63 games last season, establishing career highs in appearances and innings pitched (90 2/3). He made one start and had a no-decision in a 3-2 victory over Colorado on Sept. 25.
The native of Venezuela is 12-4 with a 3.22 ERA in 110 appearances for the Dodgers in the last two seasons, going 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA in four starts.
He has been used primarily as a set-up man and middle reliever, but General Manager Dan Evans said Carrara could move to the rotation if Kevin Brown and Darren Dreifort don’t return from injuries.
The Dodgers have all 39 players on their 40-man roster under contract for 2003. Those players, along with 18 non-roster invitees, will report to Dodgertown for spring training, with pitchers and catchers holding their first workout on Feb. 13 and the full squad beginning workouts on Feb. 18.