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Mariners Bang Out the Angels : Baseball: Griffey hits 37th home run, one of four by 'home' team as Seattle romps to 10-2 victory.

August 03, 1994|BOB NIGHTENGALE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

ANAHEIM — The Seattle Mariners arrived Tuesday afternoon at Anaheim Stadium in an absolutely rotten mood. They weren't supposed to be here in the first place until their roof started falling in at the Kingdome. Plans of playing in Tacoma were abandoned when the Angels protested. And if that wasn't cruel enough, the hours of their off-day traveling and playing in an exhibition game in Cooperstown, N.Y.

They slowly walked into the visiting clubhouse at Anaheim Stadium, wondering how life can possibly get worse, and immediately were taken back by a foul odor. The sewer had backed up and was seeping on the clubhouse floor.

"Beautiful," Mariner right fielder Jay Buhner said, "simply bleeping beautiful."

Said Ken Griffey Jr.: "I think we should bag this and go for a neutral site. Let's go to Peoria (Ariz.). They banged us. Let's bang them."

The Mariners cursed, angrily dressed, stepped onto the field, and unleashed all of their vented frustration upon the Angels, pounding them, 10-2, in front of 11,478 fans--the smallest Anaheim Stadium crowd since 1978.

"We stunk, we played like a bunch of triple-A players," Angel Manager Marcel Lachemann angrily said. "It was the worst exhibition of baseball we have put on all year, and it will not happen again.

"We stunk, and I take full responsibility. If I can't get them to play any better than that . . . I'm embarrassed, and if they're not embarrassed, it's a sad state of affairs."

Lachemann was particularly upset with starter Phil Leftwich, who was slow picking up a Felix Fermin grounder in the fifth inning, and threw the ball away.

"That was not acceptable," Lachemann said. "The only way he should throw the ball away is if he has a broken leg."

The sad part is that the Angels (44-63) could have saved the embarrassment by playing elsewhere, but instead, were left wondering how much this series is going to cost them. They generated only $68,868 in ticket revenue, and after expense figure to make only about $25,000. However, they saved $34,800 in expenses from not flying to Seattle.

Who could blame the Mariners for asking if this really was an improvement over triple-A Tacoma? It's not everyday fans and players must listen to the sounds of heavy construction throughout the game where the new scoreboard is being erected in the upper deck.

"We've seen just about everything this year," Buhner said. "You ever hear that expression, 'you learn something new every day.' Well, every day we see something new."

The Mariners, after all, had only a few ceiling tiles fall down at the Kingdome.

The Angels had their entire scoreboard collapse during the earthquake.

The Angels' biggest concern about this "Ceiling Tile Series," is that their fans might turn out to be, well, a bit rambunctious. You see, most of these folks never have had the opportunity to have such close seats for a major league game and some had never been to a game.

Who would have imagined the most unruly folks in the place were the Angels themselves.

There was Bo Jackson getting called out on a third strike in the fourth inning and ejected from plate umpire Al Clark.

Jackson became livid. He screamed at Clark, and retreated to the bench.

Uh-oh, out came a bag full of balls, 17 of which rolled onto the field. Out came a box full of sunflower seeds, with perhaps 40 being strewn. Out went Jackson.

In the sixth inning, there was Chili Davis striking out, and shattering the bat over his right knee, stalking to the bench.

"It was a hell of a night," Mariner Manager Lou Piniella said, "I've never seen Bo Jackson get that mad. And Chili Davis. . . . you got to be strong to do that. . . . And Hudler curtsying?

"It was a little bit of everything."

It was that kind of game, which included Ken Griffey Jr.'s 37th home run, ending the Mariners' seven-game losing streak. Meanwhile, the Mariners' fourth and fifth hitters combined for two homers and five RBIs, the Angels' duo combined for six strikeouts.

"Obviously, we'd like to play in a different place, but I can't blame the Angels for not wanting to play in Tacoma," Buhner said. "I feel the same way. I don't want to play in no triple-A ballpark either.

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