Todd Steverson has been barred from California League dugouts after calling an unusual game strategy while serving as temporary coach of the Stockton Ports: forfeiting via balk.
Steverson is a hitting coach in the Oakland organization and was serving as temporary coach of the Ports while Webster Garrison was on vacation. On June 23 the Ports' game against the Modesto Nuts went into extra innings, and Steverson ran out of pitchers. With position player Josh Whitaker on the mound, Steverson ordered intentional balks to end the game quicker. Ironically, the Nuts couldn't score even with the assistance of intentional balks, taking two innings to secure the win.
It was a strategy that didn't sit too well with Cal League President Charlie Blaney, who says he would have suspended the game if asked So Blaney went ahead and suspended Steverson for a year, barring him from dugout access during a game.
"I talked to other league presidents and none of them had ever heard of anything like that, so this was precedent-setting," Blaney told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. "I wanted to talk to the Oakland A's, so they were involved in the process. It compromises the integrity of the game.
"I don't want to deprive anyone from making a living. He'll be able to work with hitters before a game, just not during a game."
This may be a first: we've never heard of a coach -- permanent or temporary -- suspended for a year under these circumstances.
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