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BASEBALL PLUS

More Dodger, Angel Monkey Business

August 27, 2000|TIM BROWN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Angels have their Rally Monkey, who jumps up and down and causes Angel sluggers to hit home runs.

The Dodgers have their lesbian porn star, who jumps up and down and gets to first base on Dodger home runs.

If the Dodgers could get Nico Treasures to scream "Rally Time!" once or twice, thereby whipping her section into a total frenzy, they might actually be onto something.

It's all about the marketing.

*

They're like chocolate sprinkles: The insects that swarmed Comerica Park this week were not the locusts many hoped would arrive and raze downtown Detroit once and for all.

Instead, they were flying carpenter ants, which had been due for several weeks but had to wait for the flying plumber ants and flying foundation-pouring ants to finish their swarming. Union stuff, you know.

Anyway, Seattle pitcher Paul Abbott found it all amusing.

"I like to blow bubbles when I'm out there," Abbott said. "For two innings, I didn't blow any bubbles, because if I did, the bugs would have stuck to the gum."

That's a bad thing, particularly since these were male carpenter ants showing off for the queens.

Dodger Stadium ushers wouldn't have put up with it.

*

Control yourself: Sandy Alderson, the former Oakland GM, gets a big job in the commissioner's office and spends his days ripping his former peers.

That's why we like him.

Here's the deal: The Chicago White Sox signed former Stanford quarterback Joe Borchard for $5.3 million, in direct violation of previous rants by White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and co-ranter Ron Schueler, who previously viewed themselves as the fiscal conscience of baseball.

And they were, too, right up until they thought drunken spending could help their ballclub.

"It's unfortunate," Alderson said, "when clubs that are usually at the forefront of industry criticism end up adopting the same practice themselves."

*

Catch the fever. Drop the rest: No catcher in history could hit with Mike Piazza.

Beyond that, he's going to have to live with the criticism of his defense. The nearer he gets to the Hall of Fame, the more he'll hear about it.

Might as well pick it up with Gary Carter, himself o-fer in two Hall of Fame ballots.

"I don't see a lot," Carter said of Piazza's defense. "I don't like Mike's style. He doesn't catch well. But, then again, he doesn't have to.

"Mike knows he's an automatic Hall of Famer the way he's going. He's going to be known as the greatest-hitting catcher in the history of the game, which he already is, practically. So, why should he switch [positions], ever?"

Presented with Carter's assessment, Piazza sighed. He's heard it all before.

"I don't agree with Gary on that," he said. "I'm not thinking about my legacy. The reason I want to keep catching is because that's what I've always been: a catcher. I've come to the realization that I'm never going to be considered one of the elite [defensively], but I'm doing my best. All I want to do is help us win. I mean, I don't think I'm awful."

As is his habit, Piazza took the high road. No time to get defensive.

He hopes: Atlanta catcher Javy Lopez, for one, isn't concerned about being caught by the Mets.

"They are playing better than they really are," Lopez said. "They won't keep this up."

*

Nancy Kerrigan got in for free: The Charleston, S.C., River Dogs recently held Tonya Harding Night, on which fans were given small bats and Tonya was available for autographs.

For an extra two bucks, she slammed them in the face with a hubcap off their own Impala.

*

He has a right arm, right? A follow-up on the saga of Leslie Brea, the right-handed pitcher acquired by the Baltimore Orioles in the trade that sent Mike Bordick to the Mets.

Brea, you recall, was not 21, as the Orioles had believed, but 26.

After much research, all in the interest of making GM Syd Thrift look like something other than a buffoon, the Orioles have announced that Brea is not 5 feet 11, as the Mets believed, but 6 feet 1.

Well, there you go.

*

He ran after Marty, though: It surprised few in Cincinnati that the personalities of center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. and broadcaster Marty Brennaman eventually scraped up against one another.

"Junior is hypersensitive and Marty is hypercombative," a friend of both confided this week. "It's the perfect marriage."

The tiff grew from Brennaman's on-air criticisms of Griffey for not running hard to first base. Before it was done--and it's far from done--Brennaman poked a finger at Griffey and said, "The next time you don't run hard to first base, I'll point it out again."

*

He's still taller than Leslie: Chuck Finley makes his 27th start for the Indians today, even as some in Cleveland realize they didn't necessarily get an ace for their $27 million.

"The tiresome theme of his first year in Cleveland is that it's not been an economical $9 million the Indians poured into his gas tank," wrote the Cleveland Plain-Dealer's Bud Shaw. "Finley's salary is a measure of the front office's lust for a left-hander, not of his performance as an Indian. The more pertinent statistic in any fair discussion of Finley's numbers is his age. He's 37.

"If you thought they were signing Sandy Koufax in his prime, you were living in the past."

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