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Numbers Say Green's Day Is No. 1

May 26, 2002|ROSS NEWHAN

First the news, then the views....

News: Shawn Green hits four home runs, collects six hits and sets a major league record with 19 total bases.

Views: Plugging it into his computers at the Elias Sports Bureau, baseball's official statistics house, president Seymour Siwoff said: "You have to say that on the basis of production it's the greatest day in the history of baseball. How else can you describe it? He completed a performance that stands by itself. Nobody ever hit four homers and had six hits in the same game, let alone 19 total bases and six or more RBIs. On the basis of statistics, which is the only way we can judge it, he stands alone. Absolutely."

News: The slumping Oakland Athletics send rookie first baseman Carlos Pena, second baseman Frank Menechino and reliever Jeff Tam to the minors in favor of a revolving door at first and recalled rookie Esteban German at second. They then trade Jeremy Giambi to the Philadelphia Phillies for John Mabry.

Views: With no more Giambis, General Manager Billy Beane denies that the A's were still angry with Jeremy for failing to slide on the pivotal play at the plate in the playoffs against the New York Yankees, possibly costing the A's a World Series berth.

Beane said that Giambi--whose salary is about twice the oft-moved Mabry's--was simply too "one-dimensional" at a time when the A's, who began the weekend having lost 16 of their last 21 games, need help at more than one position. Privately, the A's also weren't happy that Jeremy kept sniping at the club for failing to retain his brother, Jason. How Jeremy fits in with the Phillies is a mystery, but the prevalent belief is that they are trying to trade first baseman Travis Lee.

News: Phillie Manager Larry Bowa now says he is tired of biting his lip, accuses his players of lacking the commitment to win and instructs his coaches to challenge and correct mental mistakes on the spot.

Views: It was only a week or so ago that Bowa was bemoaning the fact that he couldn't be himself and had too many "fragile egos" to tell his players what he really thought. Did anyone really believe the leopard could change his spots? Bowa's latest tirades included a verbal assault on discipline czar Bob Watson, who suspended him for three games Thursday for a recent run-in with umpire Tony Randazzo. Bowa said Watson has a "vendetta" against him and is on a "power trip." He angrily called his suspension a "joke," but his emotional outbursts aren't drawing much front office laughter any more.

News: Mike Piazza, responding to tabloid rumors, said he is heterosexual, not homosexual.

Views: The New York Post didn't push the journalistic envelope, it pulverized it. At the same time, comments by Met Manager Bobby Valentine and a wide spectrum of players that a gay player, in this era, would not create consternation and problems for his team, while noble, are not realistic. In the narrow and still macho confines of the clubhouse, an openly gay player would be certain to create a measure of anxiety among teammates. No one will admit that, but it's the unfortunate and cold truth.

News: Texas Ranger owner Tom Hicks says the team is going to operate "within our means" from now on and begin a two- or three-year rebuilding program designed to reduce a $105-million payroll to about $70 million.

Views: After the $252-million signing of Alex Rodriguez and last winter's $70-million addition of Chan Ho Park, Hicks has no one to blame but himself for the inflated payroll and now-deflated expectations. Hicks claims the Rangers will lose $51 million this year, and whether the standings have gotten to him or Bud Selig has, it seems unlikely that the Rangers will re-sign either Ivan Rodriguez or Rafael Palmeiro, both eligible for free agency when the season ends.

News: Selig cites the NFL's "reasoned economic system" for NFL parity and increasing franchise values.

Views: As the commissioner and staff ride the campaign train through newspaper offices across the country, bemoaning baseball's competitive disparities and knocking their product amid another season of wonderful performances, they leave one thing out. A major reason for NFL parity is the year-to-year schedule juggling that pits teams with the best records against one another and teams with the poorer records against one another.

News: Jose Canseco says 85% of major leaguers use steroids and will name many of them in a tell-all book.

Views: Well, there's this from Barry Bonds, who denies using steroids, says there's nothing an accused player can do but sue "every newspaper for every article that comes out and that's basically what a lot of us want to do," and, in regard to Canseco, adds: "I think it's just sad. I don't know what Jose's frustration is. I like the guy personally, but I don't understand where he's going with this. I mean, players didn't do anything to Jose other than admiring him as a player. Now that he's retired, why would he take shots at other players? It kind of reminds me of my ex-wife. You get [angry], you want half."

News: Irrepressible Mike Veeck announces a cushion giveaway by his St. Paul Saints of the independent Northern League on June 7.

Views: Never will fans experience more delight in taking their seats. The cushions have a picture of Selig on one side and union head Don Fehr on the other.

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