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BASEBALL EXTRA | DODGER REPORT : NOTES

At Least One Dodger Player Earned a Standing Ovation

September 22, 1997|STEVE SPRINGER and JASON REID

It has been a tough season for outfielder Brett Butler, though certainly not as tough as last season, which was interrupted when he learned he had throat cancer.

But this season, hampered by bad shoulders, burdened by the inability to throw as well as he used to and mired in a late-season batting slump, Butler, 40, has been reduced to occasional pinch-hitting or pinch-running appearances in this, his 17th and final season.

But Sunday night, when Butler came up as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning, the crowd forgot all that and thanked him for the memories.

Realizing there are only two home games left after this and Butler might not make another appearance, the crowd gave him a standing ovation as he walked to the plate.

It got so loud, Butler stepped out of the batter's box and tipped his hat to the crowd before the first pitch.

Even after he fouled out to the catcher, the crowd continued to shower Butler with cheers as he walked back to the dugout.

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With 37 home runs, Mike Piazza broke his own record for homers by a Los Angeles Dodger, set last season.

It is the third time Piazza has set a home-run standard in Los Angeles. When he hit 35 in his rookie year of 1993, he surpassed Steve Garvey (33 in 1977) and Pedro Guerrero (33 in 1985), who had shared the mark.

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With 53,903 fans filing into Dodger Stadium late Sunday afternoon, the Dodgers' home total for the year reached 3,233,991, surpassing last year's total with two home dates remaining.

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Now, Colorado can look ahead.

And feel good about it.

Before the series against the Dodgers, Manager Don Baylor warned the Rockies not to think about their two-game series against the National League-West leading San Francisco Giants beginning Tuesday at Coors Field. Baylor told his players they needed to remain focused on the Dodgers, and see how things turned out.

Things turned out well for the Rockies, who swept the three-game series. Baylor wants his players to enjoy their accomplishment and draw on it for motivation against the Giants.

"It's not very often you [come to Dodger Stadium] and sweep the Dodgers with the type of pitching they have," Baylor said. "But we're playing well at the right time and we've really turned it on.

"We can look at the Giants now and think about what we have to keep doing. This is the time for that."

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