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07/29/2008 8:22 PM ET
Sandberg upset about missing brawl game
Peoria manager questions going to Hall of Fame weekend
Ryne Sandberg isn't sure he will leave the team for future Hall of Fame ceremonies. (Craig Watson Photography)


CHICAGO -- In hindsight of Thursday's infamous ruckus, Peoria Chiefs manager Ryne Sandberg would rather have skipped Hall of Fame weekend and stayed with his team.

An on-field fight between the Chiefs and the Dayton Dragons resulted in 17 ejections. Included among the ejections was Carmelo Martinez, the Cubs' Latin American field coordinator, who was subbing as manager for Sandberg. The incident began after Martinez and Dayton manager Donnie Scott got into a heated argument.

"I would say, if I was there, it would not have happened," Sandberg said before Tuesday night's "Road to Wrigley" game between the Chiefs and the Kane County Cougars. "That's what I would hope."

Sandberg, who was away from the team for Hall of Fame activities on Thursday, was informed of the fight by phone immediately after it occurred.

"I just felt helpless about that," Sandberg said. "I would say if I had to do it all over again, I don't think I would have gone to the Hall of Fame under those circumstances."

Sandberg said he will think pretty hard about leaving the team for next year's Hall of Fame ceremonies. Cubs player development director Oneri Fleita doesn't want Sandberg to worry.

"First of all, when you're a Hall of Famer, you should never miss out on Hall of Fame weekend," Fleita said. "It's a shame that it happened while he wasn't there. ... I would never allow him to miss that. I think that's just a great weekend, and what an honor to be there. He worked so hard to get there himself. Now to be part of that every given year, it should be something he should always be there for and treasure."

Peoria players involved in the incident declined comment, but Sandberg addressed the situation with them. He reminded them to learn from it.

"We're talking about kids here -- 18 to 22 years old," Sandberg said. "Maybe a kid might not think that throwing a baseball at a dugout is wrong. I didn't cover that this year. I didn't say in Spring Training, if something happens, don't throw a baseball at the dugout."

Sandberg was referencing now ex-Peoria pitcher Julio Castillo, who was released from jail on $50,000 bond after throwing a ball during the melee that inadvertently hit a fan. Castillo was arrested on a felony assault charge and demoted to the Cubs' rookie-league team in Mesa, Ariz.

"[Castillo] was really coming along and to have this happen and make a mistake like that and have his future and life in jeopardy, doesn't sit very well with me," Sandberg said.

Dayton infielder Angel Cabrera, whose hard slide may have helped instigate the ruckus, was released by the Reds organization on Monday. Further punishments may take some time, but they are on their way.

"It's going to take a while, who wants to have to deal with that?" Fleita said. "At this point, it's in [Midwest League] president George Spelius' hands. We were informed that some time later this week, he'll be able to hand down what I would certainly assume to be very, very harsh penalties."

Nick Zaccardi is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.