July 24, 2007
Albany - South Georgia Peanuts manager Wally Backman has been suspended for eight games by league president Jamie Toole.
The suspension is for Backman's decision to pull his team off the field in Friday's game at Macon.
Backman had been ejected in the second inning of that game but Toole says it was Backman's decision for the Peanuts to forfeit the game in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Four players were also suspended by the league for their role in a bench clearing incident in the seventh inning that led to Backman's decision to forfeit the game.
Peanuts pitcher Mike Colacchio was suspended for three games and fined an undisclosed amount after he threw in the direction of Macon Music hitter Carlos Arroyo.
Arroyo walked towards the mound with bat in hand which started the bench clearing incident.
Arroyo has been suspended two games by the league fined an undisclosed amount.
Peanuts pitching coach Buddy York, who was ejected from the game in the bottom of the seventh, has been fined.
Peanuts first baseman Brandon Woolard was suspended for three games for bumping an umpire when he was ejected earlier in the game.
Woolard began serving that suspension on Saturday and is scheduled to return to the Peanuts lineup on Wednesday.
The wild night in Macon started in the second inning when Wally Backman was ejected arguing a home run call for the Music's Scott Robinson.
Backman says the ball was clearly foul by some 20-30 feet.
Later in the game, Peanuts hitters Curtis Goodwin and Brandon Woolard were both ejected after arguing called third strikes.
Goodwin and Woolard were ejected by the home plate umpire who also tossed Backman in the second inning.
Peanuts infielder Mike Caruso had also been ejected in the game.
After the bench clearing incident, Backman says the home plate umpire told him that four other of his players and his pitching coach were being ejected.
Backman says at that point he did not have enough bench players to finish the game.
One option was to put pitchers in their place but Backman said he did not want to risk injury to any of his pitchers.
Jamie Toole told WALB News Ten Sports on the telephone Tuesday afternoon that it is unacceptable for a professional baseballteam to forfeit a game.
No matter the score on player availability, Toole says it is the responsibility of the teams to give fans nine innings of baseball.
Toole says the South Coast League researched other forfeits in other minor leagues to determine the severity of punishment for Wally Backman.
It is the third time this season that Backman has been suspended.