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Baseball
Tim Kurkjian
July 06, 1992
Stop the Fighting
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July 06, 1992

Baseball

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Martinez hopes that increased pop will get him named to the All-Star team as a reserve by Minnesota manager Tom Kelly. "There was big doubt in the minor leagues whether I'd ever play in the majors," says Martinez. "Making an All-Star team is one of my dreams."

Mickey Tettleton, Tigers. He's sixth in the voting for the American League catcher, behind, among others, Carlton Fisk, who had played in only 11 games through Sunday. An All-Star in 1989, Tettleton hit 31 homers last season and had 18 homers and 49 RBIs this year. The only catcher ever to hit 30 homers in back-to-back seasons is Roy Campanella.

Ron Gant, Braves. What's the deal here? He's seventh in the voting for National League outfielders. Even teammate David Justice, who had 16 fewer RBIs at week's end, is ahead of him. Gant may be one of the National League's three best outfielders, and he has a chance this year to become the first player to have three 30-homer, 30-steal seasons in a row. Except for San Diego first baseman Fred McGriff, Gant is the best player in baseball today who has never made an All-Star team.

Carlos Baerga, Indians. He's no Roberto Alomar—who is?—but how can he be trailing at least eight other second basemen in the balloting, including the Yankees' Pat Kelly, who was recently recalled from Triple A Columbus? Through Sunday, Baerga was leading American League second basemen in hits and runs batted in (41) and was the main reason that Cleveland led the majors in double plays.

Remember, if you don't elect the best candidates, you'll get the All-Star Game you deserve on July 14 in San Diego.

Bonillagate

Had the Mets talked to some of the Pirates before the club signed Bobby Bonilla for $29 million last December, New York would have been provided with an accurate scouting report: good player, plays hard, decent guy, but not the great clubhouse influence he's cracked up to be. "I wouldn't call him a fraud, that's too strong," says one Pirate. "But don't be fooled by his smile. Everyone thinks Hubby is the greatest guy and Barry Bonds is a jerk, but at least you know where you stand with Barry. Bobby is all smiles, but he spent most of last year talking about his contract."

The Mets now understand that Bonilla's smile isn't always sincere. During a 9-2 loss to Chicago at Shea Stadium last Thursday, Bonilla misplayed a double to right as New York allowed seven runs—six of them unearned—in a badly played first inning. He was correctly charged with an error, but after the Cubs were retired lie called the press box from the dugout to complain about the ruling, a shameful move in the middle of a game. After the game he lied to the press, saying that he had merely called to check on the health of Jay Horwitz, the Mets' public-relations director, who said he had a cold. When teammates in the dugout later confirmed that Bonilla had lied, he ripped "the unidentified sources" for betraying him to the press.

Had Bonilla told the truth, it would have been a minor story. Instead, the lie earned the same headline—CRY BOBBY—on the back pages of two New York tabloids.

It wasn't Bonilla's first controversy as a Met. There was the earplugs incident on May 30, when he stuffed his ears to block out the boos he was getting after hitting .145 in his first 21 home games. And there was his visit to Bonds in the Pittsburgh clubhouse after the Pirates' three-game sweep of the Mets in mid-June. And, on June 22, he made a move to charge the mound after he was hit by a pitch thrown by the Cubs' Shawn Boskie. Some of the Cubs thought Bonilla's anger was staged to get the fans' support.

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