On his way back to his locker-room cubicle, Jordan patted 2�-year-old Cameron Newson on the head. "Your daddy cost me a double yesterday," he said. Then Jordan faced the media horde gathered at his locker. Say this for him: He has been very patient and cooperative with the media this spring. The only time he bristled after the game was when someone suggested that failure in baseball would somehow tarnish his reputation as a basketball player. "If I strike out 15 million times, is that going to hurt my 32-point-whatever scoring average?" he said. "If I fail at baseball, does that make me less of a basketball player? If I'm a horse——baseball player, that don't tarnish what I did on the court."
Jordan acknowledged that he has a long way to go. "I need to learn patience," he said. "Maybe I need to learn how to fish. Everybody here fishes or hunts, and that takes patience." He also admitted that physiologically he is not suited to baseball. "Look at these arms," he said, holding out the sinewy limbs that have thrilled billions. "Then look at their arms. They're not the same." Indeed, the average baseball player's arms and legs are much thicker than Jordan's. Pitchers hate to face Newson, 5'7" and 205 pounds. They'll love the strike zone of the 6'6" and powerless Jordan.
Perhaps Michael will wake up one morning with Steve Garvey's arms and an urge to tie flies. A much more likely scenario, however, is that he will simply wake up and realize he can't play major league baseball. And the sooner he wakes up to the White Sox's exploitation of his quest, the better.
On Saturday in Port Charlotte, Jordan was in the starting lineup against the Rangers. In the outfield he played a Canseco fly ball into a single and an Ivan Rodriguez single into a double. At the plate he struck out once, grounded out twice and hit a weak fly ball to center. The fly ball happened to come with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh, and centerfielder Oddibe McDowell, trying to come back to the majors after three years' absence, dropped it. McDowell was given an error, and Jordan was given a sacrifice fly and an RBI.
"I was pretty confident that I could make some kind of contact, and I did," said Jordan afterward. "You always think of the Mighty Casey stepping up with the bases loaded, and he strikes out. I just wanted to make contact."
The Mighty Casey? Somewhere men are laughing....