Eds.: SUBS 3rd graf to UPDATE with Sunday’s win
CINCINNATI (AP) _ A day after he threw a base and was accused of bumping an umpire, Cincinnati Reds manager Ray Knight had one regret.
``The regret is after I got in and said, `That probably looked real stupid. That’s not you. You’re not trying to show anybody up,‴ Knight said Sunday. ``It was just a matter of a lot of little things building up.″
The Reds are off to their worst start in 47 years. A 5-0 victory Sunday over San Diego left them 13-28, still the worst record in the major leagues.
Knight could find out on Monday how much his dirt-kicking, base-flinging outburst will cost. He’ll received an automatic fine for being ejected by umpire Jerry Layne, and National League president Len Coleman could increase the penalty based upon Knight’s actions.
Knight said that during their argument Saturday during a 6-2 loss to the Padres, Layne warned him to stop bumping and spitting. Knight said he did not purposely spit or bump the umpire.
Layne declined to talk about the run-in on Sunday because Coleman had not yet received his report. He expected Coleman to read it on Monday.
``It’s customary practice that an umpire shouldn’t comment until his boss knows what’s going on,″ Layne said.
Knight was fined for his ejection on May 1, when he argued a ball-and-strike call with home plate umpire Wally Bell. After his ejection, Knight cleaned home plate with his cap before leaving.
On Saturday, Knight was coaching third base _ his practice the last three days _ when Layne called Deion Sanders out as he tried to advance to third. Knight argued for several minutes, got ejected, then kicked dirt on third base.
Finally, he uprooted the base and slammed it down. It was reminiscent of Lou Piniella’s base fling when he managed the Reds in 1990.
``I kicked the ground and after I kicked the ground he said, `Oh, that’s right, do it again. Why don’t you just go and do it again.′ And then I flashed,″ Knight said.
``I picked up the bag and once I had it in my hand, I didn’t know what to do with it. I wasn’t going to throw it like Piniella did. I said, `What am I going to do with this thing?′ When I looked back, I saw the hole and just kind of tried to throw it in the hole.″
If Layne’s report says that Knight bumped and spit on him, the manager could receive much more than the standard fine for an ejection. Knight said that if he spit on the umpire, it was accidental.
Knight and Layne were face-to-face during the heated argument.
``He said I was bumping him. I said, `I’m not bumping you,‴ Knight said. ``I might have been touching somehow, but I was not bumping. Then he said, `You’re spitting on me.′ I said, `I’m not spitting on you.‴
Umpires are taking a hard line on confrontations this season in response to Roberto Alomar purposely spitting on umpire John Hirschbeck last September. Alomar received a five-game suspension.
Knight installed himself as third base coach on Friday because batters were missing signs. When he was ejected in the third inning on Saturday, Joel Youngblood returned to the coaching box.
``I’m ejected. I know that changes the whole tone and defeated my whole purpose of going to third base _ trying to get some energy going,″ Knight said.
Knight doesn’t know how long he will keep the dual titles of manager and third base coach.
``I may be out there all year. I don’t know,″ he said.
Knight said he’s not watching sports on television or reading the newspapers much because of his team’s start. He polled sports writers before the game Sunday, asking how many thought the Reds could still win the NL Central. The response wasn’t encouraging.
``I may be the only guy that believes this and I say this humbly _ I don’t want it to sound like false hope _ but I don’t think it’s over by any means,″ he said.