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MIKE PENNER

Rodgers Squeezed in Juiced Ball Year

May 23, 1994|MIKE PENNER

The truth shall set you free (especially when you are under contract to manage the Angels) and other knowledge gained from the first quarter of a juiced baseball season. . .

--Buck Rodgers loses his job after 2 1/2 seasons because he is "too candid." Tommy Lasorda remains gainfully employed by the same team for the 17th consecutive season. There's a correlation here, I think.

--Rodgers becomes the 11th Angel manager to fail to complete three full seasons. The last man to last three was Gene Mauch (1985-87). The only man to last more than three was marathon runner Bill Rigney, who somehow weathered eight-plus seasons from 1961 to 1969.

--Of course, Rigney never worked for Richard Brown.

--What were the odds of Jim Riggleman outlasting Rodgers this season? Then again, by comparison, that Padre front office is a veritable Rock of Gibraltar.

--Now we know what really happened to Bryan Harvey. Harvey to Angels: "My arm's fine, I swear, I swear." Angels to Harvey: "We can no longer tolerate such brutal honesty. You're outta here."

--Maybe Harvey follows Marcel Lachemann back to Anaheim. There has to be a player to be named later, right?

--There's no crying in baseball. As for lying, well, the Angels prefer to call it "job security."

--Baseball seemed to survive Michael Jordan's uniform change just fine. As opposed to the Chicago Bulls.

--As of Sunday morning, Bob Welch was 0-5, Tim Belcher 1-7 and Mike Morgan 0-5. Maybe Fred Claire had a clue after all.

--Still waiting for the Sports Illustrated cover story, "Marge Schott Is Embarrassing The Grand Old Game."

--Of course, Marge was speaking out of school. What could a nut possibly know about fruits?

--Evidently, Mitch Williams wasn't the only problem with the Philadelphia Phillies.

--Then again, whoever thought he might be the answer for the Houston Astros needs to get outside more often. Even owner Drayton McLane can no longer bear to watch.

--The class of '84 has aged about as well as Cabbage Patch dolls. Ten years ago, the Padres and the Cubs played for the National League pennant; now they have the two worst records in the league. Detroit won the World Series in '84; now the Tigers are last in the American League East. Kansas City, the fourth playoff team that year, just lost three of four to the Angels and has slipped below .500 for the season. The correct pronunciation, I believe, is decayed.

--Still no sign of Phil Nevin in a major league uniform. Ken Caminiti's 120-RBI pace probably has something to do with it.

--It's May 23 and Paul O'Neill is hitting .465. If the ball isn't juiced, O'Neill must be playing slo-pitch softball.

--O'Neill's batting average is higher than the winning percentages of 10 major league teams, including the American League West.

--The American League West is so bad that even ESPN has taken to mocking it in magazine promos. Last week, ESPN touted its exciting broadcast lineup thusly: "Major League Baseball--Yes, that includes the American League West."

--Of course, under new Angel public relations policy, no one is allowed to describe the American League West as "lousy," "a laughing stock," or even "not very good." From now on, all Angel employees must refer to the teams composing the American League West as "occupationally challenged."

--Accepted As Baseball Fact: Managers make all the difference in the world. Accepted As Baseball Fact: Tony La Russa is one of the top three managers alive. Problem On The Blackboard This Morning: What is Tony La Russa's team doing with the second-worst record in baseball?

--If the Texas Rangers only had the foresight to re-sign Rafael Palmeiro and Julio Franco last winter, they'd be a .500 team today.

--Scott Sanderson's 3-0 record with the White Sox has the fans in Comiskey dancing in the aisles. Tell them to wait until June.

--Ken Griffey Jr. is on pace to hit 76 home runs this season, but the ball is not juiced. Pass it on.

--Joe Carter is on pace to drive in 208 runs this season, but the ball is not juiced. Pass it on.

--Kenny Lofton has already hit six home runs this season, but the ball is not juiced.

--OK, we had better stop there.

--In other news, Scott Erickson pitched a no-hitter for the Minnesota Twins this month. Really, that's what it says. Can we get a fact-checker on this?

--What's in a name? Just ask the St. Louis Cardinals, who tried replacing Lee Smith with Willie Smith.

--Anthony Young has already won two games this season. That's what happens when you rest on your laurels.

--Curt Schilling is 0-7 this season. The Phillies ought to trade him for Anthony Young.

--The best thing about Dodger rookie outfielders Raul Mondesi and Henry Rodriguez batting .300 is that Darryl Strawberry continues to bat .000.

--Only the Houston Astros can redesign their uniforms and make them worse. I mean, even the Angels got that one right.

--The biggest change in baseball so far this season? All of a sudden, a 4.50 earned-run average is looking pretty good.

--Ron Gant for commissioner. Got to find him work somewhere.

--I went to a baseball game the other day and a hockey game broke out.

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