- The Washington Times - Monday, July 15, 2002

Baseball writer Mark Zuckerman ranks the week's most talked-about stories:
1 FIT TO BE TIED
They say a tie is like kissing your sister. Yeah, if your sister is Bud Selig.
2 FROZEN IN TIME
If John Henry Williams had any of Dad's talent, maybe he wouldn't need Ted's DNA.
3 MANUEL OUT IN CLEVELAND
Considering where that team is headed, he may be better off.
4 PAYROLL PROBLEM AVERTED
Devil Rays paid their players in free tickets. Plenty to go around at the Trop.
5 EXPOS KEEP BRINGING THEM IN
Players, that is. The fans still aren't showing up.
6 SOSA, GIAMBI ROCK HR DERBY
Imagine how many would have been hit if the players were on steroids.
7 CLEMENS STRAINS GROIN
And he wasn't even on the All-Star team!
8 D'BACKS SLIP PAST DODGERS
Brenly likes his team's chances. As long as he doesn't run out of pitchers.
9 RANGERS CALL UP RUBEN RIVERA
Maybe he can get an A-Rod glove to go with Jeter's.
10 CUBS BEAT MARLINS IN 16
Wait a minute, they kept playing? What if someone had gotten hurt?

AROUND THE LEAGUES
NATIONAL
ASTROS
Houston is creeping back into contention in the wide-open NL Central and is doing so with a makeshift starting rotation. Roy Oswalt (10-5) and Wade Miller (5-3) were expected to anchor the Astros' young pitching staff. But the other three-fifths of the rotation Pete Munro, Tim Redding and Nelson Cruz are as obscure as any trio in baseball. They'll try to hang on while Carlos Hernandez and Dave Mlicki come back from injuries.
BRAVES
Left-handed setup man Mike Remlinger returned from his first All-Star Game with a sprained right ankle, but even that couldn't ruin his moment in the sun. "The only thing I can compare it to is playing in a Little League All-Star game, and I remember being out of my mind," Remlinger, a major-league veteran of 11 seasons, told reporters. "It was one of my best baseball experiences ever." He twisted his ankle trying to cover first base in the seventh inning Tuesday, but the injury was not considered serious.
MARLINS
Team management insists its recent host of trades (Antonio Alfonseca, Matt Clement, Ryan Dempster, Cliff Floyd) does not constitute a "fire sale." Florida players are in strong disagreement, led by first baseman Derrek Lee, who may demand to be traded himself. "I want out," Lee told reporters Friday. "We were blatantly lied to. They said they wanted to win here. But the moves they make don't back up what they are saying. They lied to us. They lied to everybody."
PADRES
Kevin Jarvis
, San Diego's Opening Day starter, underwent elbow surgery Tuesday, a premature end to a disappointing season. Jarvis made just seven starts this year, going 2-4 with a 4.37 ERA, and had two stints on the DL before the surgery. If there is any good news, though, it was that Jarvis' surgery was merely arthroscopic, not the more serious ligament replacement (Tommy John) procedure. He should be 100 percent in time for spring training.
REDS
Last week's Cliff Floyd trade brought much attention to the Expos and Marlins, but don't forget that Cincinnati played a huge role in the deal and in the process improved its team. The Reds were the third team in the mix, sending outfielder Juan Encarnacion to Florida and receiving right-hander Ryan Dempster in return. Dempster gives Cincinnati a proven winner at the top of its rotation, even though he's struggled to a 5-8 record this year.

AMERICAN
DEVIL RAYS
Despite plenty of public speculation, owner Vince Naimoli insists his team is not in financial peril. When commissioner Bud Selig revealed last week that two clubs were in danger of missing payroll and could go bankrupt before the season is over, plenty of fingers were pointed at the Devil Rays, who have the lowest payroll in the game ($34 million). Said Naimoli: "It's not true, not true, not true."
INDIANS
The recent trade of Bartolo Colon and firing of manager Charlie Manuel would seem to indicate Cleveland is trying to start from scratch and is ready to dump more salaries. Manuel, however, thinks that wouldn't be wise. "They've got to keep Jim Thome. They've got to keep Omar Vizquel and they've got to keep Bob Wickman," the fired manager told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "They need those veterans to stabilize the team. "They've got some talent on the field, but they have to be very patient with that talent."
MARINERS
Seattle shouldn't have difficulties reaching the postseason for the third straight year. But if the Mariners want to reach the World Series for the first time, they likely will need to pick up a No. 4 starting pitcher. Freddy Garcia, Jamie Moyer and Joel Piniero have all been outstanding at the top of the rotation, but Paul Abbott is out for the season and Rafael Soriano was just placed on the DL.
RANGERS
Ruben Rivera
, cut by the Yankees this spring after stealing Derek Jeter's glove, had his contract purchased Thursday and was promptly named Texas' new starting center fielder. That could signal the end of Carl Everett's disappointing days with the Rangers. Everett began the second half of the season hitting .193, a far cry from his .300-30-100 days in Houston and Boston.
TWINS
If the Twins get a new ballpark built, it won't be in St. Paul. Mayor Randy Kelly says the club rejected the city's final offer for a new park and he's done pursuing it. The city of Minneapolis is limited to spending a total of $10 million toward construction. The matter could be left in the hands of the state legislature.
Mark Zuckerman

THE LIST
Highest on-base percentages (through Friday's games):
Barry Bonds (SF).558
Adam Dunn (CIN).445
Todd Helton (COL).440
Jason Giambi (NYY).432
Ichiro Suzuki (SEA).429

Lowest on-base percentages (through Friday's games):
Neifi Perez (KC).244
Rey Ordonez (NYM).257
Cesar Izturis (LA).259
Aramis Ramirez (PIT) .259
Chris Truby (DET).264

QUOTABLE
"Like when you thaw frozen strawberries out, they're kind of mushy. That's your brain on cryonics."
Michael Shermer, a psychologist who publishes Skeptic Magazine, on the controversy surrounding the idea of freezing the body of Hall of Famer Ted Williams.

"I'm done. Major League Baseball's credit lines are at the maximum. If a club can't make it, I have to let 'em go."
Commissioner Bud Selig on baseball's financially troubled teams and his ability to help them.

"They treated it like it was a meaningless game. They're telling the fans this game doesn't matter. Not to mention the $175 face value for tickets. It sends a lot of bad messages."
David Cuscuna, a fan from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on ending the All-Star Game in a tie after 11 innings.

"I want to take this opportunity to apologize to the fans. Given the health of the players, I had no choice. The decision was made because there were no players left, no pitchers left. This is not the ending I had hoped for."
Selig on his decision to end the All-Star Game in a tie after 11 innings.


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