Thursday, June 21, 2001

Oester gets best of fight with Foli

By Chris Haft
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A clubhouse fight between Reds coaches Ron Oester and Tim Foli after Monday night's game was written off by manager Bob Boone as frustration.

        “There won't be any more problems,” Boone said Wednesday. “It has been handled internally. Stuff happens when you're not going good.”

        The Reds are 11-34 since May1. And Oester and Foli were prime candidates to clash. Both were fiery competitors during their major-league playing careers. Foli was the only coach Boone was allowed to hire, and Boone got the manager's job in November only after Oester was offered it first and thought he was still negotiating salary when the Reds turned to Boone. That infuriated Oester, but he agreed to return as a coach.

        Oester wouldn't discuss the confrontation except to say: “I'm going to do my job the best I can. I don't have a problem with Bob. I want everybody to get along. I want us to be a team. Teams win.”

        Foli declined comment.

        Witnesses said few, if any, punches were thrown, though Foli suffered a cut on his head that required stitches when momentum carried him into the side of a locker.

        The incident unfolded in the coaches' dressing room after a 6-4 loss to Milwau kee. Witnesses said coaches were rehashing the game when talk turned to a bunt single by Milwaukee's Alex Sanchez.

        Oester and Foli differed on how the Reds' infielders should have been playing Sanchez. Witnesses said Oester considered the matter finished, but Foli grew more animated and suddenly flung himself at Oester. Oester put Foli in a headlock until Boone and others separated the two.


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