- The Washington Times - Monday, August 5, 2002

Baseball writer Mark Zuckerman ranks the week's most talked-about stories:

1 ROLEN TO ST. LOUIS
Phillies cured of cancer, not of losing record.
2 BOWDEN, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?
Uh, Jim, um, well what were you thinking?
3 THE LOWE ROAD
Boston pitcher triggers brawl, gets slap on the wrist.
4 GAGNE IN A FLASH
L.A. closer accidentally hits batter, gets ejected. Where's the justice?
5 BONDS: 598 AND COUNTING
Wait, didn't he just get to 500 last year?
6 SELIG: TWINS ARE AN "ABERRATION"
Note to Bud: So is "fan support" after a strike.
7 D'BACKS SWEEP METS
See, they can win in New York after all.
8 JUAN GONZALEZ MIGHT BE OUT FOR YEAR
You mean he's actually played this season? Who knew?
9 EXPOS WANT APOLOGY FROM STEINBRENNER
They'd rather have a fan base. Or an owner. In lieu of that, they'll take the apology.
10 STURTZE FIGHTS WITH McRAE
Surprising because things are going so well in Tampa Bay otherwise.

AROUND THE LEAGUES
NATIONAL
Braves
Greg Maddux
is quietly continuing his march up the career wins list, notching No.268 on Thursday to tie Orioles Hall of Famer Jim Palmer for 30th all time. Why quietly? Because Maddux, the consummate professional, has never been one to tout his own achievements. "I've always thought that if I stop for a second to pat myself on the back, I wouldn't be as good," Maddux said. "So I refuse to do it."
Marlins
Owner Jeffrey Loria, projecting losses of $20million in his first season in Florida, is going to have a tough time re-signing several of his burgeoning stars over the winter. Seven current players are under contract for 2003 at a combined $21million salary the remaining 18 players would have to make a combined $27million in order to maintain a $48million payroll, and that's unlikely to happen. Look for the Marlins to lose either second baseman Luis Castillo or first baseman Derrek Lee.
Padres
Bruce Bochy
, one of the more underrated managers in the game, is close to signing a contract extension that will keep him in San Diego through the 2007 season. Bochy, the Padres' manager since 1995, is laboring through his worst season with the club, but has the full support of the front office. "I think he does a great job," CEO Bob Vizas told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "And I can't think of anybody I'd rather have managing the San Diego Padres."
Reds
Jim Bowden
's inappropriate comment last week in which he likened a players' strike to the September 11 terrorist attacks was only the latest controversy in the GM's stormy tenure in Cincinnati. Former Reds coach Ron Oester believes Bowden maneuvered him out of a chance to manage the team. Former closer Jeff Shaw insists Bowden broke a handshake agreement when he traded him to Los Angeles in 1998. And Reds legend (and former manager) Tony Perez remains upset at being fired just 44 games into his tenure over the phone.
Rockies
It took awhile for Jack Cust to make his major-league debut, even though he's only 23 years old. But the Colorado outfielder made the most of his first appearance, crushing a game-tying homer off Cubs closer Antonio Alfonseca in the ninth inning Friday at Wrigley Field. Cust, acquired last winter from Arizona for reliever Mike Myers, has long been a top prospect but was blocked in the Diamondbacks system and had a reputation for not working hard in the minors.
AMERICAN
Devil Rays
Carl Crawford
may not be the answer to all of Tampa Bay's problems, but the speedy rookie outfielder sure looks like a rare find for this troubled franchise. The 21-year-old Crawford, who earned a scholarship to play quarterback at Nebraska, decided to stick with baseball instead, and he's wowing the fans at Tropicana Field with his blazing speed. After hitting stand-up triples on back-to-back nights last week, Yankees manager Joe Torre compared Crawford to former Royals speedster Willie Wilson.
Indians
Rest assured, Cleveland fans. You may have lost the majority of your team to trades over the last month, but all that movement may allow you to keep Jim Thome in the end. GM Mark Shapiro has freed up at least $8.7million through 2004 with his recent trades, but it's probably going to cost a minimum of $10million a year to re-sign Thome. The good news: The 32-year-old first baseman appears to want to stay in Cleveland.
Mariners
Club officials are looking into the possibility of fixing the glare problem from center field at Safeco Field. Numerous batters from a host of teams have complained about not being able to see the ball in the twilight because of the way the sun reflects off the giant green screen in center field. One possibility would be to close Safeco's roof for the first few innings of night games, but the Mariners are reluctant to do that.
Rangers
Texas' unreal offense racked up 36 runs over a two-game span last week, more than enough to overcome its lack of quality pitching. The scoring spree didn't last, though. Friday night, the Rangers were held to two singles over seven innings against Boston's Derek Lowe in a 13-0 loss. Most amazing stat: It was the first time the Rangers were shut out at home since April 8, 2000, a span of 213 games.
Yankees
Not every one of George Steinbrenner's acquisitions turns to gold. Right-hander Jeff Weaver, picked up last month in a trade with the Tigers, is just 1-2 with a 6.88 ERA in five starts in pinstripes. And with Roger Clemens expected to come off the DL this week, someone from the Yankees rotation has to be banished to the bullpen. It's either going to be Weaver or Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez.
Mark Zuckerman

THE LIST
Most common last names in the majors:
Perez (8) Eddie, Eduardo, Neifi, Odalis, Oliver, Timo, Tomas, Yorkis
Wilson (8) Craig, Dan, Enrique, Jack, Paul, Preston, Tom, Vance
Hernandez (7) Carlos, Jose, Livan, Orlando, Ramon, Roberto, Runelvys
Johnson (6) Charles, Jason, Mark, Nick, Randy, Russ
Jones (6) Andruw, Bobby J., Bobby M., Chipper, Jacque, Todd
Anderson (5) Brian, Garret, Jimmy, Marlon, Matt
Cruz (5) Deivi, Jacob, Jose, Juan, Nelson
Gonzalez (5) Alex, Alex S., Juan, Luis, Wiki
Martinez (5) Dave, Edgar, Pedro, Ramon, Tino
Rodriguez (5) Alex, Felix, Ivan, Jose, Rich
Walker (5) Jamie, Kevin, Larry, Pete, Todd
Williams (5) Bernie, Dave, Matt, Mike, Woody

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