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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO

A Trade Might Be Thing to Get Edmonds' Attention

November 11, 1998|RANDY HARVEY

Jim Edmonds runs into outfield walls, wins Gold Gloves and hits about as well as Yankee center fielder Bernie Williams, who, if he signs for the $13 million a season that he reportedly wants, will earn about $9 million more in 1999 than the Angel center fielder.

What more does Edmonds have to do to remain the Angel center fielder?

Nothing, the Angels say.

The reason his name is mentioned so often in trade talks, such as the one now circulating involving Yankee pitcher Andy Pettitte, is not because the Angels want to trade him. It's because other teams want to trade for him.

Unless a team calls and dangles a player like Pettitte, the Angels aren't listening.

Edmonds should be pleased. A Diamond Bar native and product of the team's farm system, he wants to remain badly enough that he threatened to make it difficult for the Angels to trade him.

But maybe Edmonds should reconsider. The Angels don't need to trade him, but maybe, just maybe, he needs to be traded.

If he were in a situation where he felt less at home, where he needed to prove himself again, he might have a better chance of fulfilling his potential.

That sounds odd considering, over the last two seasons, he averaged .298 with 28 home runs and 86 RBIs and won two Gold Gloves. But as well as he has played, the Angels believe he can be better.

When you look at the dents he has left in outfield walls, and vice versa, no one could claim he should give a better effort defensively. Offensively, however, he quits on some at-bats. Angel coach Larry Bowa has made that point to him, loudly on occasion, and even Edmonds admits he sometimes lacks concentration.

That hardly impresses Terry Collins' corps of gamers, who also wince when he talks candidly about his injuries--tell it to Dave Hollins, who plays uncomplainingly with diabetes, sore knees and a bum shoulder--or milks them as if he's playing the death scene from "Madame Butterfly."

"Once he's made the play, don't watch him," Angel General Manager Bill Bavasi has often said.

Edmonds repaid Bavasi for his understanding by wearing Jim Leyritz's number on his cap the day the Angels traded the catcher in 1997 for Ken Hill.

All else might be excused, however, if Edmonds didn't appear to take losing so affably. That could be necessary for your mental health if you play for the Angels, especially in September, but it aggravates his teammates. When they're down, 8-2, they don't like to see him joking with the umpire and opposing catcher.

Perhaps it's merely a matter of maturity. Although he will turn 29 next season, the Angels are confident he will find that in Anaheim. But he would be forced to find it faster somewhere else, New York for instance.

*

There were a couple of sentences I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to write again. California has a Democratic governor. The AFC is better than the NFC. . . .

It seemed as if the latter might be true last season, when Denver beat Green Bay in the Super Bowl, but there is no question after the Steelers' victory over Green Bay on Monday night. . . .

The best AFC teams, those with records of 6-3 or better, are 11-2 against NFC teams this season. The Jets have the only two losses, one in overtime against the 49ers. . . .

The five NFC teams with records of 6-3 or better are 5-5 against the AFC. . . .

Jay Fiedler, Minnesota's probable starting quarterback Sunday against Cincinnati, is a distant relative of former Boston Pops conductor Arthur Fiedler. . . .

After flirting with Cal and Notre Dame, Long Beach Poly quarterback Chris Lewis, as expected, committed to Stanford. His sister, Robyn, plays volleyball there. . . .

According to some longtime prep football observers, Venice High quarterback J.P. Losman, who committed last summer to UCLA, has the strongest arm they've seen in this area since Granada Hills' John Elway. . . .

In games last season against Oregon, Oregon State, Cal and Stanford, UCLA outscored them, 135-65. Against those same teams this season, the Bruin advantage was 138-112. . . .

UCLA apparently misses defensive coordinator Rocky Long. . . .

Long apparently misses UCLA. In his first season as New Mexico's head coach, his record is 3-7. . . .

Julie Foudy, a veteran of the U.S. women's national soccer team, is a natural as a television commentator. Her nickname is Loudy Foudy.

*

While wondering if "The Waterboy" could possibly be funnier than "Happy Gilmore," I was thinking: The Kings should forget Pavel Bure until they're sure they can't get Jaromir Jagr, it will be good to hear Keith Olbermann talk about the real world again instead of Washington, UCLA's Fab Five is better than Michigan's.

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