Farewell to Falstaff. Twin first baseman Kent Hrbek, 34, announced on Aug. 4 that he would retire after the season. Few players have been more of an everyman than Hrbek, a couch potato who loves to eat and has grown plump doing so but who had hit 293 career homers through Sunday and might be the greatest defensive first baseman never to win a Gold Glove. He will be missed.
Exposed. Last Friday, while a pitch from the Reds' John Smiley was on its way to the plate, catcher Brian Dorsett's mask was slipping, so he pulled it off his head, leaving his face unprotected. "It was like Russian roulette," Dorsett said. "As the pitch was coming, I thought, Please hit it. Then I thought, Please hit it fair." The pitch was in the dirt, and Dorsett snagged it. "When I saw it wasn't in the zone, I thought, I've got to block this ball," Dorsett said. "My instincts took over. It was strange. But I'm alive."
Winning Ugly. On Aug. 2 Padre rookie pitcher Bryce Florie attempted to intentionally walk the Dodgers' Tim Wallach, but on his first pitch he accidentally threw a strike. Wallach, who was stunned, didn't swing. San Diego manager Jim Riggleman, a smile on his face, went out and talked with Florie, then decided not to walk Wallach, who proceeded to ground out. "This is Padres baseball," said San Diego hitting coach Merv Rettenmund. "We mentally vapor-locked a smart hitter. We can do that."