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Belle Asks Media To Show Him Love

July 19, 1999

BALTIMORE (AP) _ Need a sign that Albert Belle plans to stick around in Baltimore for the length of his five-year contract?

Then consider the latest poster that he taped next to his locker in the Orioles clubhouse: 1/2 year down, 4 1/2 years to go so don’t fight it and show me some LOVE!!!

The sign, written in yellow and blue marker, was placed under the one that directs reporters to refer all their questions to his Web site.

Belle hasn’t spoken to the Baltimore media since mid-March, so it’s unclear what kind of display of affection he’s looking for. But he has gotten little support from the local media recently, and his behavior has caused team officials to wonder whether they did the right thing in inserting a three-year no-trade clause in his $65 million contract.

Belle stopped talking to the media after his clubhouse tirade in March was written by reporters who witnessed the incident. He also threw a beer bottle through a television in the visitor’s clubhouse at Tropicana Field and made obscene gestures to fans during a game at Camden Yards.

His production on the field has also been suspect: He has occasionally failed to run out routine grounders and has been booed for an apparent lack of hustle in the outfield.

Through the weekend he was batting a mere .248 with runners in scoring position, including .196 with two outs. But he had hit in 21 of his last 27 games before Monday’s game against the New York Mets.

``He’s been hitting quite a bit lately. And I think Albert’s adequate in right field,″ Orioles manager Ray Miller said. ``He’s going to take a beating because of his contract. Anytime we don’t do well, he’ll be blamed. (But) I don’t see where he’s a negative.″

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