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Dodgers Needed a Fireman

September 29, 2006|Bill Plaschke | Times Staff Writer

DENVER — How hot are the Dodgers?

They are so hot that, on Wednesday night, one of their best players was on fire.

"Literally," Derek Lowe said.

For all the silliness they survived Thursday afternoon, nothing compared to the incident 18 hours earlier, when Lowe accidentally set his pants ablaze in the dugout.

"Craziest thing I've ever seen," Manager Grady Little said.

In the top of the fifth inning, Lowe was standing in the corner of the dugout preparing to step into the on-deck circle.

Next to his right leg was a large space heater.

Lowe was so intent on watching the game that he didn't feel the heat or smell the smoke.

Then teammate Matt Kemp saw his polyester pants leg burning, and cried out.

"He said, 'Dude, you're on fire,' " Lowe recalled.

At first, Lowe thought he was just being complimented on his pitching.

"Then he said, 'Literally,' " Lowe said.

Lowe jumped away from the heater and the flames subsided but not before the fire had burned holes in his pants and socks.

With his teammates in stitches, Lowe ran into the tunnel and changed into a new pair of pants that Mitch Poole, the Dodgers clubhouse manager, had rushed into action.

Poole was not exactly surprised.

Believe it or not, this was the second time a Dodger had caught fire from a space heater. Last season, it happened to pitching coach Jim Colborn.

Lowe was uninjured and finished his six innings for the 100th victory of his career.

He autographed the toasted pants as a memento.

"It's that time of year," Poole said, shaking his head.

bill.plaschke@latimes.com

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