- The Washington Times - Monday, August 19, 2002

Baseball writer Mark Zuckerman ranks the week's most talked-about stories:
1
11 DAYS AND COUNTING
Hope you don't have tickets for the night of Aug. 30.

2
SCHILLING GETS TO 19
Walks, that is. He already has 20 wins.

3
A-ROD: 5 STRAIGHT 40-HR SEASONS
Even more impressive: He's done it the last two years without facing the Rangers pitching staff.

4
STRAWBERRY WANTS TO COACH
Where, the Florida Penal League?

5
ROLEN BOOED IN PHILLY
But not as loudly as Santa Claus.

6
SOSA APPROACHES 500
It is the fashionable thing to do these days, you know.

7
LaRUE: 3 PASSED BALLS IN ONE INNING
Owners and players: Dozens of missed opportunities in the last month.

8
10 CLUBS PAST 2 MILLION IN ATTENDANCE
Wait, I thought this sport was in serious danger.

9
BRAVES UP 18 IN NL EAST
They actually could go on strike alone and still win the division.

10
'COCO' CRISP DEBUTS WITH INDIANS
Count Chocula, however, remains stuck in Class AAA.

AROUND THE LEAGUES
NATIONAL
CUBS
Jon Lieber emerged from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow with spirits high. A 20-game winner last year, Lieber will need at least 10 months of rehab, which means the Cubs must decide whether to pick up his $6.3 million option. "I've played here for four years, and I'm comfortable here with the surroundings," Lieber told reporters. "I'd like to get back on my feet and come back here, but there are no guarantees."
DIAMONDBACKS
One week after Toronto's Carlos Delgado ended his consecutive games streak, Arizona's Luis Gonzalez saw his streak end at 446. The All-Star outfielder, who recently snapped an 0-for-21 rut at the plate, strained his right rib cage and sat out Friday's game at Cincinnati. Gonzalez didn't even make it one-fifth of the way to Cal Ripken's record 2,632 games played. "You learn to respect what Cal did," he said. "You won't see anyone break that record."
GIANTS
When Barry Bonds hit his historic 600th home run, the Baseball Hall of Fame didn't exactly come calling. Asked if the Hall requested any memorabilia from his milestone moment, Bonds replied: "No. Nobody asked for anything. You guys seem to forget I'm not the most liked person in baseball, so why would they ask me for anything?" Bonds failed to mention the fact that he's turned down the Hall of Fame before.
PHILLIES
You've got to hand it to those fans in Philadelphia. They sure know how to berate a player in public. When former Phillies third baseman Scott Rolen made his return to the Vet last weekend with the Cardinals, the locals were prepared. Among the signs seen at the stadium, "No Drew. No Schilling. No Rolen. No Phans," "Beer: $5. Ticket: $10. Rolen: Worthless," and the strategically placed "Scotty's Fan Club." That sign hung from a completely empty section in the upper deck.
PIRATES
Wonder why this team hasn't had a winning season since 1992, leaving it tied with Milwaukee for the longest drought in the majors? Consider this: Pittsburgh's 5-0 victory over the Brewers Saturday night snapped a season-high seven-game losing streak. It also represented the Pirates' 20th win in August the last three years combined.

AMERICAN
ANGELS
Garret Anderson probably won't get much consideration for the AL MVP award, but the Anaheim outfielder has been integral to his team's surprising success. Entering the weekend, Anderson had 20 homers, 90 RBI and a .310 batting average. He's also on pace to hit 60 doubles, a level that hasn't been reached in the major leagues since 1938. Too bad Alfonso Soriano, Torii Hunter and Alex Rodriguez (to name a few) get all the attention.
ORIOLES
Syd Thrift and Mike Hargrove are going to have a busy winter trying to come up with next spring's roster, and for a change the problem is too many players. The Orioles likely will have as many as 10 outfielder/first basemen/DH types (David Segui, Jeff Conine, Chris Richard, Melvin Mora, Marty Cordova, Chris Singleton, Gary Matthews Jr., Jay Gibbons, Larry Bigbie and Luis Matos) fighting for five spots. All 10 are under control for next year, with no pending free agents.
RANGERS
Only four years ago, Juan Gonzalez threatened to break one of baseball's most impressive records: Hack Wilson's 191 RBI in a single season. Now, Juan Gone is on the verge of setting another RBI record, albeit a dubious one. If Gonzalez, who drove in 140 runs last season but is stuck on 35 this year, doesn't return from a thumb injury, he'll become only the third player in history to finish with 100 RBI fewer in consecutive seasons with at least 250 at-bats.
TIGERS
An already embarrassing season in Detroit added a new indignity Wednesday, when the Tigers were caught batting out of order. With two outs in the second inning against Anaheim, No. 9 hitter Chris Truby came to the plate. Unfortunately, No. 8 hitter Brandon Inge was still on the bench. Even though it appears that bench coach Felipe Alou was to blame for incorrectly filling out the official lineup card, manager Luis Pujols took the fall. "I'm the one responsible," Pujols said. "I've got to check everything."
TWINS
When Eric Milton was a last-minute scratch from his scheduled Aug. 6 start at Baltimore with a knee injury, the club feared the worst. But it appears the former University of Maryland left-hander will have a speedy recovery from surgery to repair the torn meniscus in his left knee. The Twins are expecting Milton to miss a month, which would put him in line for three tuneup starts before the playoffs.
Mark Zuckerman

THE LIST
Baseball work stoppages since 1972
YearTypeDays
1972Strike13
1973Lockout12
1976Lockout17
1980Strike8
1981Strike5
1985Strike2
1990Lockout32
1994-95Strike232

QUOTABLE
"I've gone from as optimistic as I can be to as pessimistic as I can be."
Braves player representative Mike Remlinger, before players set a strike date of Aug. 30.

"We may be on the dance floor, but we can't hear the music right now."
Manager Frank Robinson after a 5-2 loss to Los Angeles dropped the Expos 7 games behind the Dodgers in the NL wild-card race.

"I'm from Canada, and we're known for basketball. My vertical skills got me 6 feet off the ground."
Larry Walker on stretching over the right-field fence to rob Andy Fox of a possible two-run homer in the Rockies' 5-4 win over the Marlins.

"When he swung 2-0 at the slider, I wanted to strangle him. But I wanted to kiss him when he hit the ball out of the park."
Manager Mike Hargrove on Melvin Mora, who homered on a 2-2 pitch as the Orioles beat the Twins 3-1.


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