Prophet of Doom
Before last week's series against the Twins, A's rightfielder Jose Canseco joked with the press about the troubles he has had playing rightfield in the Metrodome. "You know what a Gold Glove outfielder I am," he said sarcastically. "The Twins are probably thinking, Hit the ball to Canseco. It will be a triple." Sure enough, in the third game of the series, Minnesota's Kirby Puckett lofted a fly ball to right. Canseco charged it, stopped short and watched the ball bounce over his head for a triple.
The Gods Must Be Crazy
Pirate pitcher Bob Walk recently gave a theological discourse on how "the gods of baseball run the game." For example, says Walk: "The gods will let you get away with scuffing a ball to get out Darryl Strawberry with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh inning. But if you scuff a ball to get out a .180 hitter with two outs and nobody on, in a game you're leading by six runs in the eighth inning, you'll pay for that later on."
A Brush with Greatness
Turk Wendell, a renowned flake who pitches for the Triple A Iowa Cubs, doesn't like chewing tobacco. Instead, he has been chewing black licorice on the mound since college. Wendell admits, though, that "it leaves an ugly stain." Last Saturday, TURK'S QUIRKS T-shirts went on sale at Iowa's home games. The shirts include a caricature of Turk on the mound holding toothpaste and a toothbrush, with strands of licorice hanging out of his mouth. Because he chews so much licorice, Wendell brushes his teeth after every inning.
A Week That Will Live in Infamy
Former Padres relief pitcher Jeremy Hernandez had one of the alltime bad-luck weeks. It began on April 23, when his truck was stolen for the second time this spring, from his hotel parking lot. In it were Hernandez's TV, VCR, portable phone and golf clubs. The next night, while still with the Padres, he was the losing pitcher in a 16-inning game against the Reds. The day after that he had another ineffective outing, and on April 26 San Diego sent Hernandez down to Triple A Las Vegas. But that wasn't the end of his woes. Two days later he was called back to San Diego because of an injury to pitcher Larry Andersen. But when Hernandez got to San Diego, the Padres told him that they weren't going to put Andersen on the disabled list after all. So Hernandez was sent back to the minors. "I hope my luck changes," he says. "If it gets any worse, I don't know what I'm going to do."
If You're Scoring at Home...
Pittsburgh outfielder Andy Van Slyke has determined the official scoring for the odd play on April 25 in which a grounder by the Pirates' Jay Bell hit teammate Kirk Gibson's helmet, which was lying between first and second base (SI, May 4). The ball bounced to Cub second baseman Ryne Sandberg, who scooped it up and threw to third baseman Chico Walker, who threw to shortstop Luis Salazar. Salazar then tagged out Gibson, who, thinking the ball had rolled into rightfield, was headed for third base. "Score it 7� -4-5-6," said Van Slyke.
By the Numbers
?Blue Jay pitcher Todd Stottlemyre's 1-0 shutout of the Angels was his first in 105 major league starts. It left Boston's Greg Harris with the most starts (96 through Sunday) among active pitchers without a shutout.
?On May 1 the A's Rickey Henderson, whose career began in 1979, stole his 1,000th base. In the last 17 years the Red Sox have had 999 steals.