Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland calls umpire a liar over spitting claim

Jim Leyland on Tuesday denied spitting on umpire Marty Foster during an argument the night before, going so far as to say Foster lied about the incident.

An angry Jim Leyland points at Marty Foster as umpire Gary Cedestrom tries to keep the two apart. during Monday's argument
An angry Jim Leyland points at Marty Foster as umpire Gary Cedestrom tries to keep the two apart. during Monday’s argument

The commissioner’s office is reviewing the incident.

Foster ejected Leyland for arguing Foster’s call on a third-inning stolen base by the Rays’ B.J. Upton. "I had some sunflower seeds in when I was talking," Leyland told reporters prior to the Tigers’ game at Tropicana Field. "Some sprayed on him, and he indicated that I deliberately spit on him, and I’m not going to take that from anybody. I’m not going to do it.

"Did I spray him? Yes. Did I mean to? No. I was talking right close [to him] and what happens a lot of times, happened. I asked him if he was going to write me up. He said, ‘You spit on me.’ I said, ‘You mean to tell me that you’re going to write up that I deliberately spit on you?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Well that’s a blatant lie.’

"I’m tired of protecting them, worrying about what you should say and what you can’t say. I don’t care that he missed the play. I don’t care that he threw me out. But when you make accusations like that, I’m not going to accept that. That’s a blatant lie. I don’t even spit on the ground."

MLB has not made a decision on whether to suspend Leyland.

Jim Leyland on Tuesday denied spitting on umpire Marty Foster during an argument the night before, going so far as to say Foster lied about the incident.

An angry Jim Leyland points at Marty Foster as umpire Gary Cedestrom tries to keep the two apart. during Monday's argument
An angry Jim Leyland points at Marty Foster as umpire Gary Cedestrom tries to keep the two apart. during Monday’s argument

The commissioner’s office is reviewing the incident.

Foster ejected Leyland for arguing Foster’s call on a third-inning stolen base by the Rays’ B.J. Upton. "I had some sunflower seeds in when I was talking," Leyland told reporters prior to the Tigers’ game at Tropicana Field. "Some sprayed on him, and he indicated that I deliberately spit on him, and I’m not going to take that from anybody. I’m not going to do it.

"Did I spray him? Yes. Did I mean to? No. I was talking right close [to him] and what happens a lot of times, happened. I asked him if he was going to write me up. He said, ‘You spit on me.’ I said, ‘You mean to tell me that you’re going to write up that I deliberately spit on you?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Well that’s a blatant lie.’

"I’m tired of protecting them, worrying about what you should say and what you can’t say. I don’t care that he missed the play. I don’t care that he threw me out. But when you make accusations like that, I’m not going to accept that. That’s a blatant lie. I don’t even spit on the ground."

MLB has not made a decision on whether to suspend Leyland.

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