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Manager suspended, fined after attacking umpire

July 11, 1997

TOKYO (AP) _ The American umpire who quit after being poked in the chest by a player may have taught Japanese baseball a lesson.

About a month after Mike DiMuro left Japan, saying he was fed up with the way umpires were treated, a Japanese manager was suspended Friday for three games and fined $880 for shoving and kicking an umpire.

Seibu Lions manager Osamu Higashio was penalized by the Pacific League for attacking second-base umpire Koichi Tamba.

It was the first time in seven years that a manager has been suspended for assaulting an umpire.

``We want to eliminate violence against umpires. Kicking an umpire is the same as kicking the league president,″ league president Kazuo Harano told Kyodo News service Friday.

DiMuro was in Japan to teach American-style officiating.

Barely two months into his stay, he ejected a batter for arguing a strike call. The batter shoved him in the chest while other players and managers surrounded DiMuro.

``I hope that if anything comes out of this, what comes out is that no physical assaults will be tolerated on umpires and they will be able to do their jobs safely,″ the 29-year-old Triple-A umpire said at the time.

DiMuro’s resignation brought attention to the lack of respect given Japanese umpires. They have been known to change their calls when confronted by angry players or managers. At times, they have even been assaulted on the field.

Tamba was attacked after the Lions lost 5-3 to the Kintetsu Buffaloes Thursday.

Higashio was ejected for protesting when one of his players was called out in a play at second base in the ninth inning.

Higashio shoved the umpire in the chest and kicked him. Tamba suffered minor bruises and cuts on his left thigh.

Higashio later said he regretted what he did and agreed to abide by the league’s decision, ``like a sportsman.″

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