It's no surprise that the short spring training has resulted in some horrific play in the field early this season. But last Friday's game between the Cardinals and the Dodgers was ridiculous. The teams combined for 12 errors in an 8-4 Los Angeles victory. St. Louis manager Joe Torre, whose Cards made seven errors, called it the worst game in which he has ever participated. He held a team meeting after the game—and then called another before the next game—to discuss the fiasco. The 12 errors were the most made in a National League game since June 11, 1959, when the Pirates made seven and the Giants made five in a 12-9 Pittsburgh win.
In the Cardinal-Dodger game, the third basemen, St. Louis's Scott Cooper and L.A.'s Garey Ingram, made three miscues each. In all, there were four misplayed grounders, two dropped foul pops, a flubbed fly and five throwing errors. "The last time I saw anything that freaky," said Cardinal reliever John Habyan, "was when all those geese got loose on the field in Milwaukee a couple years ago." (Incredibly, none of the errors were made by L.A. shortstop Jose Offerman, who three days earlier made three in one inning!)
Even though the Cardinals were held hitless over the first five innings by Dodger starter Hideo Nomo and reliever Todd Williams, a combination of walks and errors enabled St. Louis to score three times. The Cards' runs-hits-errors line on the scoreboard read 3-0-6 after five. "I was hoping that was my batting average," said St. Louis outfielder Bernard Gilkey.
With Nomo pitching, the game was broadcast in Japan. Said Cooper, "I'm sure those Japanese wanted to hop on the first plane and try out for the Cardinals."
A distinguished baseball family lost its patriarch on May 7, when former Red outfielder Gus Bell, 66, died of heart failure. His son, Buddy, 43, was a big leaguer for 18 seasons, and his grandson, David, 22, now plays for the Indians. The Bells and the Boones (Ray, Bob and Bret) are the only families to produce three generations of major leaguers. When Buddy was a high school player, Gus used to sit in his car beyond centerfield and honk his horn, once for a good play by his son, twice for a great play. During a game last year, when he was playing in Toledo for Triple A Charlotte, David saw two men sitting by themselves in the rightfield stands. He could barely make them out, but he knew who they were: Gus and Buddy....
A's outfielder Ruben Sierra clashed recently with his manager, Tony La Russa, who questioned Sierra's willingness to play hard. Sierra, who was batting .254 with four homers and 11 RBIs at week's end, is a terrific talent but can be difficult to handle. When Sierra was with the Rangers, manager Bobby Valentine sometimes put Kevin Reimer, not Juan Gonzalez or Pete Incaviglia, behind Sierra in the order because Sierra felt threatened by those two sluggers and would swing at any pitch with runners in scoring position so he, not they, could get the RBIs.