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Monday, January 18, 2010
Offerman gets lifetime Dominican ban

By Enrique Rojas
ESPNdeportes.com

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Jose Offerman's career as a baseball manager was over Monday, at least in the Dominican Winter Baseball League.

The league suspended Offerman, interim manager of the Licey Tigers, for life after an incident Saturday in which he tried to hit American umpire Daniel Reyburn in the face. Offerman was arguing a batter's strike count in a playoff game against the Cibao Giants at Quisqueya Stadium in the Dominican Republic.

Because of the incident, Reyburn and three other American umpires working in the Dominican league resigned and left the country, forcing the league to use native umpires in the league's finals that start Monday between Cibao and the Escogido Lions.

The umpires, Reyburn, Jayson Bradley, Justin Vogel and Barry Larson, said they feared for their personal safety after receiving threats from fans after Saturday's game.

Leonardo Matos-Berrido, the league president, said the decision to ban Offerman can't be appealed due to the magnitude of the offense.

"The decision ... is definitive," said Matos-Berrido. "Offerman is excluded for life from Dominican baseball."

Regarding the alleged threats to the umpires, Matos-Berrido said he was requesting an investigation from the Dominican police.

Offerman, 41, took over as the Tigers' manager for the second year in a row, this time from American manager Dave Jauss.

Last season, when he was still an active player, Offerman accepted the job during a critical time for the franchise and led it to its 20th league championship.

A couple of days after being fired, Jauss was suspended by the league for two years for bumping an umpire during one of the playoff games he managed.

In 2007, Offerman, a two-time All-Star during his 15 seasons in the majors, hit Bridgeport Bluefish catcher John Nathans in the head with a bat during an independent minor league game. Offerman, playing for the Long Island Ducks, had been hit by a pitch from Matt Beech of the Bluefish.

A court subsequently forced Offerman into anger-management treatment.

Offerman also faces a $4.8 million civil suit brought by Nathans, who claims he continues to suffer from problems stemming from the incident, which he says ended his professional career.

Enrique Rojas is a reporter for ESPNdeportes.com.