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Kile's Son Provides Incentive

October 14, 2002|Steve Springer | Times Staff Writer

SAN FRANCISCO -- He is given a uniform, but doesn't play. Instead, he sits in the St. Louis dugout and offers encouragement and high-fives. And the Cardinals respond.

Not bad for a someone who has yet to celebrate his sixth birthday.

Kannon Kile, one of the three children of Cardinal right-hander Darryl Kile, who died of a heart attack in June, was dressed in a uniform bearing his father's number 57 this weekend. He took his place with the Cardinals on the sideline at Pacific Bell Park for the pregame introductions Saturday and sat in the dugout for Games 3 and 4 of the National League championship series.

"Before the game, he was working with Tino [Martinez] and [Jim] Edmonds on their swings," joked St. Louis right-hander Matt Morris. "He's just an inspiration for all of us.

"Sometimes, just seeing him, we want to see how he's doing and ease his pain, and he's the one who comforts us. It's amazing. He's like a miniature D.K. It's good to see him laughing and hanging out with the guys again. It puts things in perspective a little bit.

"He'll high-five you no matter if it's a strikeout or you hit a home run. It's fun having him."

During Saturday's game, Cardinal Manager Tony La Russa leaned over and asked Kannon the score.

"I bet you half our guys didn't know the score," La Russa said.

Kannon did.


Morris, tonight's Cardinal starter, gave up the home run to Kenny Lofton in Game 1 that led to a near brawl when Lofton became infuriated over an inside pitch his next time up. Lofton assumed the Cardinals felt he was showboating after hitting the ball out.

Not Morris.

"I didn't even see his trot," Morris said. "I was turned around, looking at the ball, to see if it was going to get out."

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