The ugliness is partly attributable to the fact that the Yankees were two games under .500 at week's end, after having finished 27 games over last season. "Nothing is the same this year—and we have better players," says New York outfielder Luis Polonia. "Last year this was a nice place to play. This year it's, 'Oh,——, here we go again.' "
The same week that McDowell insulted the fans—earning such headlines in New York as JACK ASS and JACK THE FLIPPER—there were also accusations from on high that slumping DH Danny Tartabull was faking a rib cage injury that had kept him out of the lineup for 11 games through Sunday. And if all that wasn't enough, there seemed to be renewed squabbling over the contract of troubled outfielder Darryl Strawberry, who was propping at Triple A Columbus for his return to the majors.
Yet despite all the recent strife, the Yanks had won five straight through Sunday, pulling them within 5� games of the Red Sox in the American League East. The Yankees still have a chance to win the division or a wild-card spot in the postseason—if they don't implode first.
Jim Bowden, the Reds' general manager, strengthened Cincinnati for the stretch run by trading outfielder Deion Sanders (page 54) and four minor leaguers to the Giants for pitchers Mark Portugal and Dave Burba and centerfielder Darren Lewis. With Red ace Jose Rijo out with an elbow injury, Bowden needed a pitcher. He got a quality starter in Portugal, who won 18 games for the Astros in 1993. Bowden is said to be pulling out all the stops in an effort to win this season because Cincy is over budget and will have to unload salaries next season. And the Reds have already said that manager Davey Johnson will move upstairs next year, so Johnson surely wants to go for it all now too.... One of the nicest people in the game, As pitcher Dave Stewart, 38, announced his retirement Sunday, saying he just wasn't pitching well enough (6.89 ERA) to continue. Through good times and bad, Stewart's personality never changed. He was always open, honest and friendly. At his best he was a hell of a pitcher: He had 168 career wins and was 8-0 in league championship series. And he was able to turn the worst moment of his career into a victory. In January 1985, while he was a member of the Rangers, he was arrested in Los Angeles for lewd conduct with a man who was dressed as a woman. Less than 48 hours later he was scheduled to be awarded the Good Guy Award at Texas's annual midwinter banquet. Not only did he show up, but he also made a stirring speech. "Even nice guys make mistakes," he told the crowd, and the audience gave him a standing ovation when he was done. We'll miss you, Stew.