Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

He Always Enjoyed Life in the Slow Lane

May 27, 1996|THOMAS BONK

Since baseballs are being sent into orbit at an amazing rate this season, it's the perfect time for a "Spaceman" comeback, isn't it?

That would be Bill "Spaceman" Lee, the free-spirited, slow-balling, former Red Sox left-hander who won 119 games, but hasn't pitched in the majors since 1982.

Lee, who will turn 50 in December, is still semi-active on the mound in a slow-pitch league in Montpelier, Vt., which he figures to be a decent test of pitching ability.

"You actually have to be pretty skilled to get these big baboons out," Lee said. "You just have to pitch slow. That's basically what I did for 12 years in the majors anyway."

*

Trivia time: Who is the winningest Boston Red Sox left-hander since 1950?

*

Whistle stop: The Lakers' Nick Van Exel will be a guest on "Sports Theater," a kids show scheduled for June on Nickelodeon. Odds are no one will try to bump him from the show.

*

Name game: The new Quebec franchise in the International Hockey League will be called the Rafales. Yes, the Rafales, probably because it's Canada and Mighty Canards already was taken. Sort of.

Actually, Rafale (pronounced RAH-foul), is a fierce wind that accompanies a winter storm. The team logo is a snow creature, called a Yetis (YET-ee), riding a hockey stick. The team colors will be dark green, purple, red, yellow and black--or all the colors of a nice frostbite.

*

Open-and-shut case: On Saturday, the Skydome roof in Toronto was opened for the first time this season. They should have kept it closed. The roof fell in on the Blue Jays in the 10th inning when the Twins scored twice to win.

*

And invite Walter Mitty: Take your pillow to lunch today. On this date in 1960, Baltimore Oriole catcher Clint Courtney for the first time used the "big mitt," 50 percent bigger than a standard catcher's mitt, to catch knuckleball pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm.

*

Candle city: Happy birthday to two of the game's greatest batters: Frank Thomas of the White Sox and Jeff Bagwell of the Astros, who are each 28.

*

Knee news is good news: Golfer Brad Fabel played the Kemper Open despite a painful cyst on the back of his knee, the same knee on which he had arthroscopic surgery less than two weeks ago. Fabel said he plans to stay on tour, although there is one thing he has to look out for.

"As long as I don't step in a hole, I'm OK," he said.

*

He'll skate: Sandy McCarthy of the Calgary Flames doesn't have to do any acting on the ice, where he plays the role of enforcer with ease, but it's a little different elsewhere.

McCarthy, 23, was signed to play Jim Thorpe in an upcoming film and decided he needed an acting coach. So he chose Burt Lancaster. Actually, McCarthy has been studying Lancaster's portrayal of Thorpe in a 1951 film.

*

Trivia answer: Bill Lee, 94 victories, 1969-1978.

*

And finally: Comedian Dennis Miller on why NFL great Lawrence Taylor allegedly bought crack cocaine: 'He wanted a tryout with the Dallas Cowboys."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|