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BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : WORLD SERIES : Group AIMS for Change in Mascots

October 22, 1995|MIKE DiGIOVANNA and ROSS NEWHAN and BOB NIGHTENGALE

About 35 members of the American Indian Movement continued efforts to eliminate Native American mascots by staging a protest outside Fulton County Stadium before Game 1 between the Indians and Braves on Saturday.

In a heavily secured area cordoned off for the group, protesters held signs that read "Racist Mascot Must Go," and "No Chop Zone," and urged fans to trash their tomahawks and headdresses.

"We are not your mascots, we are not your playthings," said Atlanta's Cleto Montelongo, 48, who helped organize the protest. "Grow up . . . stop the mockery . . . stop desecrating our culture. That's all we're asking, that you respect us as people, not treat us as clowns."

Montelongo, who will travel with several group members to Cleveland to protest before Games 3, 4 and 5, said efforts of the AIM have had an impact.

"This is beautiful," he said. "People think we're not doing anything, but when we first came here in 1991, there were a lot of people wearing war paint, with the feathers and drums, the full Indian regalia. But a lot of people are just wearing regular clothes today, and that's good. So, we have been doing something."

Indian General Manager John Hart, asked to comment on the protests, said: "That's our team logo. My take is on the players and where we are and what we're doing. [The logo] is not in my scope.

"But you look at our club--for anyone in the world to imagine we're racist . . . We've got ethnic diversity. We go for talent and character and we have it. You're blind to anything else."

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Atlanta shortstop Jeff Blauser, who sat out the last three games of the National League championship series against Cincinnati because of a deep thigh bruise, was taken off the World Series roster when his pregame drills indicated he was still not 100%. The Braves started Rafael Belliard at shortstop and replaced Blauser on the Series roster with Ed Giavanola.

"It was a tough decision," Manager Bobby Cox said. "Jeff's been part of the winning here, but on the other hand he's not a selfish person. He wants to do what is best for the team. We don't lose anything defensively with Rafael at shortstop, but it takes away some power.

"Jeff might be OK by next weekend, but he'd be limited in the meantime and it's going to be cold tonight, cold tomorrow and ice cold in Cleveland."

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Outfielder Dale Murphy, who played 15 years for the Braves during their dreadful era of 1976-1990, said he can't help but feel a bit jealous watching them reach the World Series once again.

"You kind of get envious, yeah," Murphy said. "I'm happy for them, but I tell you, playing sure would be a lot more fun. I went through a lot of times here, boy."

Is it difficult to resist the temptation to suit up for this game?

"I played in Denver for a month and a half," he said, "and when I couldn't hit one out there, I knew it was time to hang them up."

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Atlanta General Manager John Schuerholz, when asked if the signing of starter Greg Maddux might be the greatest free-agent signing in baseball history, paused, and then said:

"Yes, I can say that without sounding too pompous because I was also the guy who signed Mark Davis. I signed the guy who was the best, and the guy who was one of the biggest disappointments."

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Hart, on assembling his club: "We built our club with offense in mind first, and then defense. We figured we could outscore people."

Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones on the Indians: "Their lineup feels they can come out every day and score 10 runs, no matter who is on the mound. They probably have the best everyday lineup in baseball, but in the playoffs, they haven't come out and blown people away like people thought they would."

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Tony Pena will replace Sandy Alomar at catcher when Dennis Martinez pitches Game 2 tonight, Cleveland Manager Mike Hargrove said.

"I don't want this to be perceived as my thinking that Tony Pena is better than Sandy Alomar, because at this point of their careers that's not the case," Hargrove said.

"Sandy is a tremendous catcher, but we all felt there was a marked improvement in the way Dennis went about his job [in Game 6 of the series against Seattle when Alomar was sidelined by a stiff neck]. We're trying to maximize our chances to win, and we think this does that."

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Maddux pitched the 15th complete-game two-hitter in World Series history, the lowest-hit complete game in the series since Pittsburgh's Nelson Briles two-hit Baltimore in Game 5 in 1971. . . . The Braves' Fred McGriff established a series record for total chances by a first baseman with 21 (19 putouts, one assist, one error), surpassing the previous mark of 19, set twice, most recently by the New York Giants' George Kelly in 1923. . . . Atlanta's Mark Lemke had eight assists to tie the series record for assists by a second baseman in one game, accomplished seven times previously, last by Boston's Bobby Doerr in 1946. . . . The five hits in the game--three by Atlanta and two by Cleveland--tied the series mark for fewest hits by both clubs in a game, set by the Yankees (three) and Giants (two) in 1921 and the Yankees (five) and Dodgers (none) when Yankee pitcher Don Larsen pitched a perfect game in 1956.

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