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BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : DODGERS : Old-Timers See a Need for Change

June 11, 1995|BOB NIGHTENGALE

The Dodgers celebrated their glorious past Saturday by bringing many of their former greats to play in their old-timers' game, but perhaps the most noticeable difference from the past was the small crowd.

"You look around, and I couldn't believe all of the empty seats," said Roger Craig, who had not attended a baseball game since he last managed the San Francisco Giants in 1992. "The image in baseball is bad. We have a lot of work to do to bring the image back."

Joe Black, one of the original Boys of Summer, said the game is missing a charismatic star. It doesn't have a Michael Jordan or a Barry Sanders, and worse, Black said, is that too many of the star players are suppressing their emotions on the field.

"The players don't act like they're having fun," said Black, the first African American pitcher to win a World Series game. "That's why people are saying baseball is too boring. They just don't see the exuberance.

"Ken Griffey Jr. can be the type of person, but then a lot of people say he's showboating. He's just having fun, and we need more of that."

Said former Dodger pitcher Ralph Branca: "Baseball has got to come back, it's too great a game just to drop it. In football, a guy misses a block, and you don't know who missed it. In basketball, a guy makes a basket, and you don't know always know who was supposed to be covering him.

"Now in baseball, you make an error, and everybody in the world knows who made it. . . ."

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