Players who share their wealth with the community--and many do--tend to support the young and the sick. Among the Angels, Ken Hill donates $300 per strikeout to youth charities, Kent Bottenfield $200 per strikeout to the National Kidney Foundation and Tim Salmon $100 per run batted in to help abused and runaway teenagers. Mo Vaughn helped fund a playroom at the UCI Medical Center.
Giant second baseman Jeff Kent applauds those players, but he pledges his money in a unique direction. Kent, who attended Edison High in Huntington Beach and the University of California, donates $100 per RBI to women's sports scholarships at Cal. With Kent driving in 229 runs over the past two years, and with corporate sponsors pitching in, Kent has generated over $200,000 since he started the program in 1998.
The inspiration? His daughter Lauren, now 4.
"Teamwork, commitment, dealing with adversity, dedication to team," Kent said. "I learned all those things through athletics, and they helped make me a better man.
"I wouldn't want my little girl, and other little girls, to be without those same experiences."
Vaughn, who singled home the Angels' first run Wednesday and singled home the winning run Tuesday, reported to work Tuesday and rolled the video. Vaughn decided he needed two screens to work his way out of a four-for-31 slump. One screen displayed his at-bats in recent days; the other screen displayed a collection of home runs Vaughn hit for the Boston Red Sox in 1998.
"I only look at my home run swings," Vaughn said. "That's when you're at your strongest--arms extended, hitting the ball where it's pitched. I've had a lot of years of hitting 30-plus home runs. I can look at things."
Vaughn hit 33 home runs last season, but a severely sprained ankle hampered his swing and rendered it useless for purposes of video comparison.
"I really can't look at last year," he said.
If you watched Tuesday's game on TV, you didn't have to be much of a lip reader to figure out what closer Troy Percival was saying.
Manager Mike Scioscia thought he detected something in Percival's delivery that indicated stiffness or soreness in the arm. Scioscia hurried out to the mound, but Percival did not bother throwing a warmup pitch to convince Scioscia he was OK. Percival simply repeated himself: I'm fine, I'm all right, I'm fine, I'm fine, I'm all right, I'm fine.
"I asked him six times," Scioscia said. "He assured me he was OK. His next pitch was 95 mph, so I guess he was."
As the Angels rallied to win in the ninth inning Tuesday, the Edison Field crowd went nuts at the scoreboard debut of the "Rally Monkey." Can't really explain why the otherwise placid crowd so enjoyed a shot of a monkey jumping up and down with the words "Rally Monkey" superimposed, but the Angels did win.
"We've got to go with the rally monkey," hitting coach Mickey Hatcher said. "Before the year is out, he'll be sitting on my shoulder."
Rookie Seth Etherton on Barry Bonds, who crushed a 493-foot home run off him Tuesday: "He's probably the best hitter in the world right now." Then, after a pause: "Well, he and [Darin] Erstad are probably head-to-head." As of Wednesday, Bonds led the major leagues in home runs (25) and Erstad led in hits (96). . . . With off-days today and Monday, pitching coach Bud Black said the Angels could use Etherton in relief over the next week. . . . For the second consecutive day, Scioscia used Salmon as the designated hitter because of a bruised left shin. Salmon said he expected to return to right field Friday. . . . Scioscia, on his expectations for pitchers hitting during the weekend interleague series at Arizona: "Hopefully, they can swing without popping a rib cage."