A Wild One
There might not be an uglier game all year than the Mets-Phillies debacle on April 10. It was the longest 10-inning game in history (four hours and 51 minutes) and featured 18 hits, five errors and 11 pitchers giving up a total of 24 walks and throwing three wild pitches, including a heave by the Phils' Tommy Greene that hit the screen on the fly. "A knockdown pitch to Manute Bol," said Philadelphia pitcher Dave LaPoint. The Phillies won 8-7 despite the fact that of the six Philadelphia pitchers who worked, the only one who didn't walk anyone was Mitch (Wild Thing) Williams. His first eight pitches were strikes.
An Up-and-Down Player
Toronto infielder Rene Gonzales, who tried bungee jumping this winter, wants to jump from the roof of the SkyDome. "It could be a first-ball ceremony," he says. "I'd drop down, leave the ball on the mound and bounce back up."
Thank God, Viola's a Pitcher
Royals ace Bret Saberhagen gave up three homers to the Blue Jays' George Bell on Opening Day in 1988, one to Baltimore's Sam Horn on Opening Day last year and one to Cleveland's Albert Belle on Opening Day this year. "Every time I face an instrument on Opening Day, I give up a homer—a Bell, a Horn, a Belle," said Saberhagen. "Hopefully, if I start Opening Day next year, there won't be any instruments in the lineup."
Bill Buckner, Fashion Plate
Bill Buckner introduced hightop spikes to baseball in 1986 because he had weak ankles and a strained right Achilles tendon. "I took a lot of abuse for it," says Buckner. "Now, it's the style." Tom Brunansky, Joe Carter, Jack Clark, Eric Davis and Mike Greenwell are among the growing number of players sporting hightops, which they believe are more comfortable than regular spikes and provide added ankle support. "There was a conspiracy this spring to burn mine," says Greenwell, who along with Clark and Brunansky plays for Boston. "But now Jack and Tom have 'em. They're ugly, but styling never got me a hit."
Thirty-nine-year-old southpaw Mike Flanagan, an Oriole from 1975 to '87, rejoined Baltimore this spring. On Opening Day at Memorial Stadium, he received three standing ovations. "I got a bigger hand than the secretary of defense," said Flanagan, referring to Dick Cheney, who attended the game, "and he had a better spring than I did."
Taxation Without Relaxation
On April 9, Pirate outfielder Andy Van Slyke had a troubled look. "I just got my W-4 tax form. I'm nervous. It should be called a W-4 million form."
By the Numbers
?After the first week of the season, pitchers Steve Avery, Doc Gooden and Terry Mulholland had more steals (one each) than Rickey Henderson and Tim Raines (one each).
?According to The 1991 Elias Baseball Analyst—the best edition of this stats book ever—Mets third baseman Gregg Jefferies finished last season with no hits in his last 37 at bats with runners in scoring position. In Jefferies's first at bat this season, he doubled home a runner from second base.