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August 15, 2007 August 15, 2007

Posted by atlanticleaguenews in Uncategorized.
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**JOSE OFFERMAN SUSPENDED BY THE ATLANTIC LEAGUE INDEFINITELY. **
The league released this short statement: The Atlantic League announced that LI infielder Jose Offerman has been indefinitely suspended based on his actions during the 8/14/2007 Long Island @ Bridgeport game.

His violation of the Atlantic League on field behavioral policy is under review and a decision on his status and that of other participants will be announced by weeks end.

Joe Klein
Executive Director
Atlantic League of Professional Baseball Clubs.

For Mike Ashmore’s complete coverage all day long, read below. – Scott Stanchak

11:00 AM — ASHMORE TALKS TO TOMMY JOHN, QUOTES BELOW…
5:30 PM — ASHMORE TALKS TO MARY JANE FOSTER, QUOTES BELOW…

(CONNECTICUT POST PHOTO)

Check back throughout the day for breaking news on this story…

Offerman Arrested Following Bat Attack: In what may be the ugliest incident in the ten year history of the Atlantic League, Long Island Ducks INF Jose Offerman was ejected from the game, and then arrested following attacking Bridgeport’s Matt Beech and John Nathans with his bat.

Scott Stanchak had the first ALB.com post about this yesterday, and you can see the comments section from yesterday to see how people first started getting word of this.

The Connecticut Post’s Rich Elliott original story is here, updated story with quotes is here and the game story is here.

Offerman, who had homered in his previous at-bat, was plunked by Beech and charged the mound with his bat in hand. Nathans tried to prevent Beech from being hit with the bat, and ended up getting hit in the head with the bat in Offerman’s backswing.

“I called (Atlantic League executive director) Joe Klein immediately after the incident and told him what had occurred on the field,” Bluefish CEO Mary-Jane Foster told Elliott. “And I have asked that the Atlantic League suspend Jose Offerman from the league for life.”

Elliott writes that Beech and Nathans were taken to Bridgeport Hospital for further examination. According to Elliott, Beech suffered a broken right middle finger. Nathans became stricken with nausea in the dugout.

Offerman was arrested for his efforts, and according to Newsday, was charged with second-degree assault. He was being held on $10,000 bond, although the AP story says he has reportedly posted bail.

The pictures on the Connecticut Post page are absolutely horrifying. This is a disgusting and deplorable incident, and Offerman will be lucky to ever play again. He faces an almost certain suspension from the league, and could face a lifetime ban.

It’s certainly worth noting that, in somewhat of a sick irony, Offerman was one of Bridgeport’s proudest alums, heading back to the big leagues with the Twins in 2004 after spending all of the previous season with the Bluefish.

Offerman in 2003 (Ashmore)

For the very image conscious Atlantic League, this is a nightmare. The AP has already picked up the story, and it’s sure to attract further media attention.

I’ll do what I can in order to provide some original material on this, but I have a suspicion that with it being very possible that charges could be pressed, that it may be hard to find anyone willing to talk about it.

According to Rich Elliott’s story, Ducks manager Dave LaPoint declined comment after the game.

UPDATED: As expected, word of this is spreading quickly. AOL has now picked it up via their FanHouse blog, and ESPN.com has deemed it newsworthy enough to put it on their front page. Numerous other sites have it as well. Headlines such as “Jose Offerman Went Nuts” and “When Washed Up Former Major Leaguers Attack” are commonplace.

As someone who defends the league until I’m blue in the face, there’s not much to be said here. Offerman’s actions are indefensible.

ALB UPDATE: I have placed calls to the Bridgeport Bluefish, Long Island Ducks and Atlantic League office. An attempt to reach a spokesperson from the Bridgeport police department was unsuccessful, but I’ll try that again.

If/when I hear back, I’ll keep everyone informed…

TOMMY JOHN SPEAKS TO ASHMORE: No less than 15 minutes after he was on ESPN2’s “First Take” discussing the incident, I was talking to Bridgeport manager Tommy John about the events of last night.

John recalled the incident, saying that it was the top of the 2nd, and that Offerman hit a home run in his first at-bat. He said that in Offerman’s next at-bat, Beech started him out with a slider for a strike, and then threw another slider that hit Offerman in the left calf.

“He takes one step towards first, raises his bat, and then runs towards the mound,” John told me.

John said that Offerman took “at least two” swings at Beech with his bat, and that he then struck John Nathans in the head with the bat. According to John, Nathans has suffered a concussion and will likely be out for the season.

“He was swinging at his head,” John said of Offerman’s actions towards Beech.

“Who knows what would have happened if John Nathans didn’t get there in time?”

John said that Offerman was led out of the clubhouse in handcuffs and spent last night in jail, after charges were pressed by both Beech and Nathans.

“I think he should be gone for the rest of this year and all of next year,” John said.

“The Ducks are saying this is just baseball, but if this was just baseball, Offerman would have dropped his bat and they would have went at it.”

John told me that Beech will attempt to make his next start, and that his finger may be in a splint. He also said that the trade for Sandy Aracena “didn’t go through” and that “Sandy’s back on our team.”

John said that Joe Klein would be meeting with the umpires involved, and that he was headed up to Bridgeport to meet with everyone involved, including Offerman via telephone.

ALB is the place to be if you want all the latest, make sure you keep checking back…

UPDATE: Video has now surfaced of the aftermath, courtesy of News 12 in Connecticut. ESPN2 showed video of Offerman being put into a police car in handcuffs, and also of Nathans being wheeled in the ambulance.

BLUEFISH CEO MARY JANE FOSTER SPEAKS: I just got off the phone with Bluefish CEO Mary Jane Foster, who was kind enough to call me back towards the end of a difficult day.

Here’s what she had to say…

“In our view, this is a sad experience, it’s tragic really. Jose Offermans career is in all likelihood over, he’s facing some very difficult times. Our players are shaken up. It’s not what the Atlantic League is about, its not what Minor League Baseball is about. We pride ourselves on community commitment and a philosophy that this is fun affordable to kids, and what happened last night was direct contradiction to all of that.”

– She said that John Nathans had an MRI and was examined by a neurologist, and has a severe concussion. He is set to be re-examined again shortly. A broken middle finger were the extent of the injuries on Beech, nothing has changed.

– Foster believes that Offerman’s suspension should be changed from indefinite to permanent by the Atlantic League.

WORTH NOTING: The Ducks did not return a call for comment. I’m not saying that’s negative, I’m not saying that’s positive. It is what it is.

Bluefish Losses Not Over: Jim Seip reports that Bridgeport has traded C Sandy Aracena to the York Revolution for P Matt Ford. I think it’s extremely possible that you see this trade reversed, as Bridgeport appears to be without the services of John Nathans for a while due to a likely concussion suffered at the hands of Jose Offerman.

However, with Beech likely now out of action as well, Ford will be a welcome addition.

UPDATED: See the Tommy John quotes above for an update on this story…

Patriots Sign Big League Outfielder: Ryan Dunleavy is reporting in his blog that the Somerset Patriots have signed OF Luke Allen. The Courier News scribe also writes that the team has released OF Bryan Goelz.

Allen has been rumored to be heading to Somerset for approximately two weeks now, but it was thought the move wouldn’t happen when Mike Kinkade was signed. However, once Kinkade was picked up by the Yankees, a roster spot became available.

Allen, who has big league experience with the Dodgers and Rockies, was released by Los Angeles in mid-May after hitting .236 with one home run and nine RBI in 33 games for Double-A Jacksonville.

Following that, Allen joined Tijuana of the Mexican League and apparently brought his rake with him, hitting an impressive .351 with five home runs and 22 RBI in 42 games.

The question is: Where does this guy play? Mike Lockwood, Elliott Ayala, Jose Morban, Alan Zinter and Jason Romano are all options in the outfield.

Morban and Ayala can, and have, played in the infield as well…but where do they play now? Brandon Larson is at third, Teuris Olivares is at short, Danny Garcia is at second, and Josh Pressley is at first.

I’m guessing the starting outfield is supposed to be Allen, Lockwood and Romano. I’d assume that Zinter and Pressley can alternate between playing first and DH.

Allen will become the 41st player to wear a Patriots uniform this year, which is exactly how many they used all of last season.

Rizzuto And Yogi In Newark: I was saddened to learn of the death of Yankees legend Phil Rizzuto yesterday. I was more familiar with him as a broadcaster, and can remember many a game I watched on channel 11 that he called.

This LoHud.com article has a file photo of Rizzuto and Yogi Berra at Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium in 1999.

Booth Activates Self: A quick glance at the roster of the Can-Am League’s Sussex Skyhawks shows that former Atlantic League C Jeremy Booth has been forced to activate himself. I spoke to Booth last night, and he said that it was done on an emergency basis, and that he didn’t want to play and doesn’t expect to.

Booth, who split last season between Newark, Somerset and Sussex, has served as the Skyhawks hitting coach this season. – Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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Comments»

1. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - August 15, 2007

BoosterBabe– regarding your comment yesterday. It is extremely sad what happened yesterday and the Bridgeport Bluefish are now going to be known, for at least a little while, as the team with this crazy former major leaguer. I was simply saying that the Ducks have gotten lots of good pub this season and now it’s going to be major bad pub. If the Fish got major pub this season, I’d have said the same for them. Secondly, the way they have handled the situation has been great and it shows what a solid run organization they are.

2. Jeff - August 15, 2007

I seem to recall Jose Offerman having some prior domestic issues involving law enforcement. So I don’t think this is a one time issue ….

3. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - August 15, 2007

That first comment is Scott, by the way…

4. Voltaire - August 15, 2007

Thanks for your great coverage of this story. I’ll stay tuned.

A sad day for everyone involved. I support a lifetime ban on Offerman.

Best wishes to Nathans, Beech, and the entire Bluefish team and fans.

5. www.BrickCityBruins.com - August 15, 2007

If the Ducks did indeed say that “this is just baseball”, they better wake up. I find it hard to believe that anyone would take such a relativley casual attitude toward this incident, but if that is the attitude they’re taking, that only makes this horror story worse. Assault with a deadly weapon is not “just baseball”. This is a very sad situation. I hope John Nathans is okay. If he’s out for the season, I hope he can sue Offerman on top of everything else for taking away his livelihood. This whole thing is terrible! I can’t imagine what the families of little kids were going through as this ugly scene was unfolding right before their eyes. I can’t even imagine shock and horror of that magnitude.

6. mnlem - August 15, 2007

On a more pleasant note, the Patriots opened a crucial series against York with a win. Given the inconsistent Sam Marsonek was pitching, that is indeed a big win. Brian Adams goes tonight and with a win the Patriots are in first.

7. Fausto Gabon - August 15, 2007

Too bad they let Offerman change before the perp walk, you might have got your mugshot wish:

While We’re Talking About Departments: This one comes from the things I know I shouldn’t link to department. The Atlantic League can only strive to one day have people arrested in their apparel… – Mike Ashmore – 7/26/07

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2007/0720071sportsmugs1.html

8. Roadwarriorfan - August 15, 2007
9. Z - August 15, 2007

Why was Tommy John kicked out of the game???? Makes no sense to me when Offerman lost his mind…I love when a place like ESPN gives some publicity to the Atalantic League….but this is not good publicity at all….I hope Boulton and company don’t minimize this incident…Funny that there are no comments from Dave LaPoint…

10. BoosterBabe - August 15, 2007

I was sitting with my friend and her 10 and 8 year old (who have already gone through a lot this summer) and it happened so fast, and she and I both hid our emotions from them, so I think the kids I was with, anyway, won’t be scarred from this. It was scary but it ended quickly, as far as the fighting goes. i’m not sure kids understand what “might have” happened, the way we do. Plus, where we were sitting, we didn’t see Nathans get sick, he appeared to be ok initially. His symptoms occurred later, in the dugout and the clubhouse. We were behind the dugout so we were shielded from the severity and the reality of it.

I think the real issue for the kids in all this should be that there are consequences for your actions.

11. Roadwarriorfan - August 15, 2007

Road Warriors released Trevor Marcotte.

12. tteski - August 15, 2007

What exactly would you like Dave LaPoint to say? It’s better for him to not have any comment rather than saying something that might be taken the wrong way.

13. Roadwarriorfan - August 15, 2007

I guess with Offerman’s suspension the Ducks needed to fill his spot on the roster…Estee Harris goes back to Long Island. Warriors sign RHP Kieran Mattison.

14. AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com - August 15, 2007

Just spoke to Ms. Foster, quotes above…

15. tteski - August 15, 2007

Newsday says that the reason that Beech was ejected was that the umpire told him it was to prevent further things from happening in the game

16. #10 Bluefish Fan - August 16, 2007

We’ve been Atlantic League fans for years for, among other reasons, the professionlism and conduct of the players. Last nights incident is a huge blackmark on the league. Unfortunately, its compounded by the remarks of Frank Boulton who apparently seems to be justifying Offerman’s actions by stating “The pitcher was ejected because the umpire felt he threw at the batter,” he said. “We all know that stuff happens.”

Did he really say that? Is he that clueless? And how does any of that justify the injuries to John Nathan, who is a heck of a nice guy who may well have ended his career in baseball last night.

17. Z - August 16, 2007

I would expect Dave LaPoint to say that his player lost his mind and that said player was a disgrace to the league..and to baseball….


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