Insurance company to Belle: "No play, no pay."

added 3/9/2001 by Astrodamus
Saturday, March 10th

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- Orioles insurance provider gives Belle three options.

Albert Belle was placed on the 60-day disabled list Friday -- the first step to protect the Orioles' insurance coverage of his contract, which guarantees the slugger $39 million in the next three years. About 70 percent of that total will be reimbursed to the team by the insurance company, that said it won’t pay unless he suits up for the next three years. The Oriole’s, who don’t want to be left holding the bag, have also said that the way the contract reads, the insurance company is right, and said that Belle must work as part of the team in order to get paid.

A spokesman for the insurance agency said that in order for Belle to receive the remaining $39 million, he would either have to play, remain on staff as a batboy or he could toss batting practice from behind a cage. An outraged Belle started breaking plates and even slung a coffee carafe upon hearing the news from his agent while eating at a Vero Beach Denny’s. Belle hollered “They are just trying to humiliate me into retiring so they can pocket money that I earn... get.”. This is certainly a cruel twist of fate since Belle has a history of being rude to lowly bat-boy’s and BP pitchers. Ken Rosenthal (TSN) in a recent article wrote “As he would head back toward his dugout, Belle would flip his helmet to the ground, forcing the bat boy to pick it up. Didn't matter how close he was to the bat boy. Didn't matter how close he was to the dugout. Belle made a habit of showing disdain for his fellow man, and who deserved more disdain than a lowly bat boy?”

When asked which option Belle would choose, he began shaking and sweating “They know they have me over a barrel, what am I supposed to do? Throw away 39 million dollars? I’m not going to do anything but tie this up in court so long that by the time there is a ruling, I will not have to play.” Upon hearing the news, infamous attorney Johnny Cochraine made a public statement that he would like to expose the racism in this case, and wouldn’t mind taking on the insurance company as a public service and then mentioned a small service fee to cover any expenses.

Syd Thrift, the Orioles' vice president of baseball operations, said that he thinks it would be a great thing having Albert around the clubhouse for three more years as a bat-boy. And added that it would be a humbling experience for him and could actually help erase some of the negativity that many say will hurt his chances at being inducted into the Hall of Fame when he is eligible. “Being a bat-boy is not all that hard” said 11 yr. old Jeffrey Wallace, “the only hard part is when players fling bats and stuff, I could even show him the ropes, the biggest thing he’ll have to watch out for is handing the wrong bat to the wrong player, I did that once to some guy named Carl in Boston and he snapped the bat over his knee and threw the stubby end at me, my dad really wanted to beat him up but decided not to.”

Gary Kerschopf, one of the Oriole's insurance agents, flatly denied that he ever said he would consider letting Belle off a year early if he would paint his home, his summer cottage and wash his car every week for the last year of the contract.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, said “Suck it up.” But when cornered by reporters he back pedaled a bit and said “Oh, I thought you were talking about the Wells/Sirotka deal.” Belle, nor Toronto’s president Paul Godfrey were amused. Johnny Cochraine has scheduled a meeting with Albert’s agent on Monday.