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MIKE DOWNEY

Rodriguez Is a Favorite in Montreal, Bar None

May 13, 1996|Mike Downey

Oh, no, Henry, no Oh! Henrys!

Montreal's baseball nuts have begun throwing Oh! Henry candy bars onto the field, in honor of sweet-swinging Henry Rodriguez, the ex-Dodger turned Expo whose team begins a three-game series at Dodger Stadium tonight.

We don't need any more trouble here, Henry, so, please, as a favor to all of us . . . go hitless.

So many Oh! Henrys came flying from the stands Sunday, the visiting Houston Astros had to leave the field for 10 minutes. If you think that movie "Twister" is scary, wait until you see an Oh! Henry storm coming your way.

What a way to go.

Death by milk caramel and chocolate.

Henry Rodriguez--whose "HR" monogram suits a home-run hitter--is no Henry Aaron, but he is really hammerin' the old horsehide.

Same goes for the Expos, who have the best record in baseball with that "Eye Chart" lineup--Rodriguez, Grudzielanek, Stankiewicz, Santangelo . . .

(I can't tell if these are baseball players or nations after the Soviet Union's breakup.)

Rodriguez is so hot, he is hitting just like Barry Bonds and Albert Belle, the principal difference between them being that Henry isn't a jerk.

The Dodgers traded him to Montreal--the Dodgers trade everybody to Montreal--because they never knew where to put Henry, his best positions having "Occupied" signs on them, like airplane restrooms.

When the Expos dumped their best players--the Expos always dump their best players--space became available for Henry, or, as they call him up there in Canada, "Henri."

Next thing you know, he became le toast of Montreal.

Homers, doubles . . . you name it, Henry hammered it.

And before long, Montreal fans forgot all about the tragedy of Patrick Roy being traded to some other hockey team and began cheering for Rodriguez, or, as they call him up there in Canada, "Wah-riguez."

How this candy-bar ritual began, I don't know.

All I do know is, after Henry doubled in Sunday's game, it rained Oh! Henry bars in Quebec.

Coming from Houston, the Astros had seen bugs, bees, birds and probably buzzards, but never an attack by killer candy. They took shelter in the dugout. The game was delayed, the litter was picked up and Montreal's manager, Felipe "Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut, Sometimes You Don't" Alou got kicked out of the game, probably because he refused to let the umpires eat the candy bars.

It was the first confection-related incident of the season.

I was reminded of the Reggie Bar rhubarb at Yankee Stadium, when fans threw Reggie Jackson's candy bar onto the field, which inspired Manager Bob Lemon to say: "I tried a Reggie Bar. They're better for throwin' than for eatin'."

Whereas, Oh! Henry bars happen to be yummy.

Of all the great ballpark candy--Baby Ruth, Pay Day, Jack Clark bars, Dwight Gooden Plenty, Mounds--my personal favorite is the Oh! Henry, although I also like Jose Offerman's favorite, Butterfingers.

So, please, you Dodger die-hards. Don't throw 'em. Eat 'em.

I know you miss Henry's bat. Throwing baseballs last summer was foolish. But throwing food is a sin.

Remember, baseball fans are starving in Europe.

As for red-hot Rodriguez, welcome back. When you were traded to Montreal last year for Roberto Kelly and Joey Eischen, I was afraid it would be one of those "Gift of the Magi" exchanges that backfires on everybody.

The irony of this story is that the Dodgers could use an outfielder right now, which is you, but they did get a left-handed pitcher in Eischen, and the Dodgers use left-handed pitchers about as often as they use snow blowers.

So, oh Henry, please go 0 for the series.

If you don't hit anything, your fans won't throw anything.

As soon as you leave L.A., however, Henry, go ahead and start hitting again. Go for 60 homers, even. Go on. Go nuts.

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