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BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : DODGERS : Park Learns That It Isn't Nice to Offend Joe West

March 26, 1994|TIM KAWAKAMI

In his fifth start of the spring, Chan Ho Park bowed often, but was not broken. Park, the Korean rookie, struggled some at West Palm Beach, Fla., against the Montreal Expos, but he learned a key major league lesson along the way--don't show up the home plate umpire, especially if it's Joe West.

With the bases loaded in the fifth inning--Park's last--Park's body language showed that he was upset when West called a borderline pitch a ball to Larry Walker, who had doubled in a run against Park in the first inning.

West, who had been enjoying Park's respectful bows earlier, did not take the gesture warmly.

"He wanted an inside pitch to be called a strike and he acted like an amateur or a minor leaguer," said West, who proceeded to take a cool, hard stare at Park. "I think he got the message."

Park immediately bowed to West, as he had done to start the game and when he came to bat.

"I think he was trying to apologize," West said.

Said Park through his interpreter: "I felt I showed an expression of disapproval, and I felt he didn't like that."

After Park struck out Walker and then Darrin Fletcher on a called strike by West, Park stopped to say, "I'm sorry," in English to West as Park headed to the clubhouse.

Catcher Mike Piazza said that as soon as the umpires get used to Park, he should have no problem, despite his inexperience with American niceties.

"The bottom line is they have to respect his ability," Piazza said. "As he establishes himself in the major leagues, then those kinds of things will be less and less obvious."

*

Jeff Fassero dominated the Dodgers until the sixth, when Raul Mondesi broke up his perfect game with a single. . . . The Dodgers won, 5-3, when Billy Ashley hit a two-run homer against Butch Henry in the top of the ninth.

After Darryl Strawberry grounded out in the seventh, West ejected him when Strawberry complained about some earlier strike calls.

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