Wed, Sep 11, 2013 - Page 12 News List

Breaking the silence

In an exclusive interview with the ‘Taipei Times’, CPBL umpire Brian Kennedy says he regrets putting his hand around the throat of Huang Chiung-lung, but feels that the 10-game suspension that followed is a little excessive

By Chris Fuchs  /  Contributing reporter

“Then the interpreter said, ‘Brian, he just wants to know what happened,’” Kennedy said. “That’s when I turned around again, and turned to the interpreter and said, ‘Look, he won’t stop yelling at me, I’m not going to explain the play unless he calms down. We’re done talking here.’”

Kennedy can then be heard in the video warning the interpreter again that Huang was close to being ejected, telling both men, “I’m turning my back,” in what Kennedy described as an attempt to deflect further confrontation and end the discussion.

You’re outta here

However, in a Sept. 7 story the Apple Daily translated Kennedy’s remark as: “You can only talk to my back. I’ll eject you if you say another word. (你只能跟我的背講話 、再說一句就趕你出去).”

Huang and the interpreter, however, remained on the field, while the interpreter continued speaking to Kennedy, the video shows. Kennedy said he issued Huang one more warning and then ejected him when he did not leave.

“After an ejection, I’m prepared for an argument, but not what occurred after that,” Kennedy said.

Arms outstretched, Huang walked over to Kennedy and bumped him with his chest, and Kennedy responded by raising his hand and placing it on Huang’s throat.

“My gut reaction was to get him at arm’s length away at first,” Kennedy said, adding he had been told before about Huang’s 1993 attack on Lipsey. “It wasn’t a thought process. I don’t really know why I put my hand up around his throat area.”

“It was an overall feeling that I was going to get hit.”

After the Rhinos’ catcher intervened, Kennedy can be seen in the video yelling briefly at Huang, then at the translator who Kennedy said told him Huang was trying to apologize before being ejected. Restrained by teammates who had cleared the bench, Huang continued to advance toward Kennedy, who in the video then walks up the third-base line away from the commotion.

Last week, Huang was quoted extensively in the Taiwanese media, including in one Sept. 7 Liberty Times (the Taipei Times sister newspaper) article in which he said, “I asked the translator to say that I apologize if my tone was not good, but please ask him to explain the [balk]. He didn’t say anything; he just ejected me. I can’t make heads or tails of it. I’ve never seen an umpire lay hands on someone like this before.”

It is unclear if and when the interpreter translated Huang’s apology into English. Kennedy said the interpreter had a very good command of English, but not of baseball terminology.

Kennedy, who said he is the only American umpire in the CPBL, said that in his four years officiating in Taiwan, he did not have a history with Huang, a base coach who became EDA Rhinos’ acting manager after Hsu Sheng-ming (徐生明) died suddenly of a heart attack last month.

Suspensions

Huang, who played under Hsu for the now defunct Wei Chuan Dragons (味全龍), was suspended with Hsu for three games in 1993 for attacking Lipsey, who called a game they were losing because of rain. Hsu was also fined NT$50,000.

For the Sept. 5 incident, Huang received a three-game suspension and a NT$60,000 fine, while Kennedy was suspended 10 games, fined NT$50,000 and demoted to the minor leagues for two weeks, according to a Sept. 6 press release issued by the league. Kennedy’s fine also covered his use of a cellphone during the fifth-inning maintenance break without obtaining permission from his supervisor, the statement said.

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