The Money Game
On June 4, in his first appearance at Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium since signing with the Mets as a free agent, former Pirate outfielder Bobby Bonilla had to dodge a golf ball thrown at him from the stands in the eighth inning. "That happens to me here too, and I'm one of the good guys," said Pittsburgh centerfielder Andy Van Slyke. "Batteries. Golf balls. Money. Now that's what I don't understand. Fans are mad at us because we make so much money, then they throw money at us—quarters, nickels. Why? Throw me a tax audit. Throw me your electric bill."
It's an odd statistic for a player whose nickname is Pee Wee, but through Sunday, 5'8" Mariners utilityman Greg Briley had not walked in 91 at bats this year.
Making a Bad First Impression
No player chosen in this year's amateur draft is ready to play in the major leagues yet, but Cal State-Fullerton third baseman Phil Nevin, who was picked No. 1 overall by the Astros, acts like a big leaguer. He already has his own baseball card and a Louisville Slugger with his name on it, and he wears the Oakley sunglasses favored by many professional players. That has prompted a few grumbles from some of his future Houston teammates—and even from players on other teams. "Look at that," one Oriole said while watching Nevin in the College World Series on television in the Baltimore clubhouse. "He hasn't even signed, and he's styling already. Tell him to lose the glasses and the aluminum bat, then we'll talk."
Blunder from Down Under
A crew from the Aussie television show Real Life Australia recently came to Milwaukee to interview Brewers backup catcher Dave Nilsson, who is from Brisbane. The show's host, David White, was approached before a game by Milwaukee media relations director Tom Skibosh, who told him, "I've got good news for you. Nilsson is catching today." White replied, "Oh, and will he bat, too?"
What a week for grand slams. The Mets' Eddie Murray hit the 16th of his career, tops among active players (though still well short of Lou Gehrig's major league record of 23). The Twins' Kirby Puckett had two bases-loaded blasts, after hitting none in the first 5,191 at bats of his career. The Mariners' Kevin Mitchell also hit his first slam in the majors, after 164 homers.
A Pitcher Who's Not Easily Cowed
Pirate Stan Belinda beat teammate Jay Bell in a cow milking contest on the field at Three Rivers Stadium on June 3. Belinda was chosen because he lives on a farm; Bell is a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Dairy Association in Pittsburgh. "He used three teats, I used one, and I only lost by a quarter of an inch," Bell said. Other Pirates disagreed. "He lost by a quart," said Van Slyke. "It wouldn't have been that close except Jay was pumping that skim milk and Stan was doing whole milk."
By the Numbers
?Through Sunday, Blue Jay Dave Winfield had grounded into 287 double plays, the most among active players and 41 short of Hank Aaron's major league record.