Fick insists 'it's baseball'

ATLANTA -- Braves first baseman Robert Fick was fined Sunday for for clubbing Chicago's Eric Karros with a forearm in Game 4 of Atlanta's NL playoff series against the Cubs.

Fick said the fine was $25,000.

In a separate disciplinary move, Atlanta manager Bobby Cox also fined Fick. The amount of that fine was not disclosed.

Although Fick was the opposite of apologetic after Saturday's game, he did try to explain himself before Sunday's Game 5.

"It's an elimination game and you've got to do what you've got to do," Fick said in a profanity-laced tirade Saturday. "I'm not saying I did it on purpose. But it's ... baseball."

Before Game 5, he said, "I just tried to hit his glove.

"It was all a reaction. It wasn't like I tried to do it on purpose. I mean, I play hard. I wasn't trying to hurt anybody. I was just trying to knock the ball out of his glove. It ended up a lot worse than I wanted it to."

Fick struck Karros while running to first base Saturday at
Wrigley Field. The blow knocked the ball and glove free; Fick was
called out.

"I like Eric Karros," Fick said. "Shoot, he's a real good
player. He's a (former) Dodger. I've been a Dodger fan my whole
life. It's not something I'm proud of, but it happened."

The Braves wouldn't discuss their portion of the penalty.

"It's not at all what anybody's thinking about today, I can assure you of that, as we face the most important game of the year," general manager John Schuerholz said. "We don't comment on what we do internally. Never have, never will."

Karros was in the lineup for Sunday's game, which was to decide Florida's opponent in the NL Championship Series.

"I'm fine, I'm fine," he said.

Fick was eager to know about Karros' status for Game 5.

"Is he in the lineup today? So he's OK? That's good," Fick said. "I like the Cubs as a team. They've done a lot this year. They've battled. They're a tough team. I like Sammy Sosa. The last thing I want to do is hurt someone."

Fick's actions might have resulted from a frustrating division series. He went hitless in his first 11 at-bats, prompting the Braves to start Julio Franco at first base for the second game in a row.

Then again, Fick is well known for his feistiness, getting suspended twice for brawls while playing in Detroit. He has been on his best behavior in his first season with the Braves.

Until now.

"I've been pretty good all year," Fick said. "I guess I couldn't go through the whole year."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.