TALE OF THE TAPE
For the past seven seasons the Padres' Tony Gwynn and his wife, Alicia, have been videotaping his at bats, and he uses his vast library to scout pitchers as well as to study his own swing. "I'm the real Captain Video," says Gwynn, who has won the league batting title the last two seasons. "After a couple of years, I knew what I was doing, then I started seeing what pitchers were trying to do to me and how they tip pitches." Gwynn even takes a portable VCR with him on the road so that he can scrutinize each at bat in his hotel
THE GOING GOT WEIRD
Sometime around 1 a.m. on Aug. 24, the Dodgers' Rick Dempsey hit a homer in the 22nd inning to give Los Angeles a 1-0 win in Montreal. The Expos had thought they won the game when Larry Walker apparently scored on a sacrifice fly in the 16th. Three umpires had already walked off the field when the Dodgers appealed at third base, claiming that Walker left the bag too soon. Umpire Bob Davidson called Walker out. That wasn't the game's only oddity, either. L.A.'s Eddie Murray hit what would have been a run-scoring shot off the fence in the 21st, but it was ruled that Walker caught the ball. Replays showed that he had trapped the ball against the wall. Finally, the Expos didn't walk a batter the entire game.
When Steve Stone won the Cy Young Award as an Oriole in 1980, fellow Baltimore pitcher Mike Flanagan came up with nicknames for all the club's starters. Flanagan, who won the award the year before, was Cy Young; Stone was Cy Present; Jim Palmer, who won in 1973, '75 and '76, was Cy Old; and Scott McGregor was Cy Future. Storm Davis, who joined the O's in 1982, became known as Cy Clone because his style resembled Palmer's. Two weeks ago Flanagan—who's now with the Blue Jays—slipped in the bathroom of his hotel room and hit his left eye on a doorknob. The eye was swollen shut for about a week, and Flanagan took to calling himself Cy Clops.
HOW 'BOUT 500 K's?
At week's end, Baltimore pitcher Jeff Ballard had only 41 strikeouts in 27 starts this season, and 109 in 66 career starts. "It would take me about 100 years to catch Nolan Ryan," said Ballard after Ryan reached the 5,000-strikeout mark last week. Tim Kurkjian of the Baltimore Sun figured out that Ballard will have to average about 30 starts for the next 100 years to get 5,000 K's.
THE MAGIC GLOVE
Outfielders Herm Winningham of Cincinnati and Brett Butler of San Francisco both use oversized gloves that look like jai alai cestas. Winningham says he has been told that his is illegal, but he uses it anyway. "The umps know about it," says Winningham. "They don't care. Say it's the seventh game of the World Series, the bases are loaded, and you reach over the fence to take a homer away from someone. That's when the opposing manager will come out and say, 'His glove is too big.' But no one's going to do anything until someone says something." For the record, the rules state that a glove must measure no more than 12 inches from top to bottom and no more than 7� inches across.
?The A's faced a rare test when they had to play three games in three cities on Aug. 20, 21 and 22. They played in Oakland on Sunday against the Twins, in Detroit on Monday (to make up a July 19 rainout) and in Texas on Tuesday. Oakland won the three games by a combined score of 13-1.
?By Aug. 17 the Blue Jays had sold out every home game for the rest of the season, assuring that they would break the AL home-attendance record of 3.03 million, set last year by Minnesota. So pleased is the Toronto management that it is considering lowering ticket prices for next year. The Jays have already received more than 40,000 applications for 1990 season tickets at the current prices.