- The Washington Times - Monday, July 29, 2002

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

1 THE WIZARD OF COOPERSTOWN
Nobody did a back-flip better. Not that anyone else ever tried
2 TRADE DEADLINE FRENZY
Otherwise known as the slowest week of the Orioles' season.
3 ANGELS IN FIRST PLACE
You knew a Disney-owned team eventually was going to dominate the world.
4 NO, WAIT, MARINERS IN FIRST PLACE
You knew a Nintendo-owned team eventually was going to dominate the world.
5 RED SOX FADING?
Ted Williams must be rolling over in his vat.
6 A'S GET DURHAM
If the small-market teams are in so much trouble, how do these guys keep doing it?
7 SCHILLING: 18 WINS, 18 WALKS
And one Cy Young Award.
8 A-ROD'S B-DAY GRAND SLAM
Well, that was certainly worth $250 million.
9 NOMAR'S 3 B-DAY HOMERS
At least he gives the Sox more bang for the buck.
10 ROYSTER AND DeJEAN GO AT IT
Manager and pitcher went toe-to-toe on the mound. Of course, they're Brewers, so no one saw it.

AROUND THE LEAGUES
NATIONAL
CARDINALS
Few pitchers have a history of success facing Barry Bonds. Fewer still have dominated the Giants' slugger over his career. Which makes St. Louis closer Jason Isringhausen something of a freak of nature. Isringhausen has faced Bonds 11 times over the years. Bonds is 0-for-11, including a game-ending strikeout with two runners on last Monday. "I'm not really talking about it," Isringhausen said of his record against Bonds, "because I really can't tell you."
CUBS

Offense isn't usually a problem at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field, unless you're talking about this year's Cubs. Through Friday's games, Chicago owned the worst team batting average in the major leagues (.238) and the most strikeouts (754). The Cubs are second in the NL with 121 homers (thanks in large part to Sammy Sosa), but it should be obvious that there's a lot more to this game than home runs.
DIAMONDBACKS

The D'backs won a World Series title with a roster full of veterans, most of them acquired via free agency. Now they finally may be building some legitimate players of their own. Rookie pitcher John Patterson, one of the franchise's first signings in 1996, pitched 7⅓ innings of shutout ball Thursday against San Diego to earn his first career win. The right-hander, whose progress was stalled by elbow surgery a few years ago, may become Arizona's first truly home-grown pitching prospect.
GIANTS

What happened to Rich Aurilia? The San Francisco shortstop hit .324 with 37 homers and 97 RBI in 2001; he's hit .259 with eight homers so far this year. He's still one of the Giants' most valuable players, though. With him in the starting lineup, San Francisco is 47-27. Without him, the team is 10-17.
PHILLIES

With the trade deadline two days away, time is running out for the Phillies to deal disgruntled third baseman Scott Rolen. There are indications that GM Ed Wade may not be able to strike a deal in time and will be forced to try to move Rolen through waivers before trading him in August. The sad part, for Philadelphia fans, is that Wade nearly dealt Rolen to the Orioles last winter for five players. He won't get nearly that much now.

AMERICAN

ANGELS

If the Angels have been known for anything over the years, it is for collapsing down the stretch every time they're in a pennant race. Plenty have been waiting for history to repeat itself in 2002, but this Anaheim club (which battled the Mariners for first place in the AL West over the weekend) doesn't appear ready to go away. The best proof: Despite All-Star closer Troy Percival's presence on the DL all month, the Angels bullpen has gone 5-1 with a 2.55 ERA.
ORIOLES

Fans and writers around the country are beginning to find out about Baltimore rookie pitchers Rodrigo Lopez and Jorge Julio, and the attention could lead to the franchise's first Rookie of the Year honoree since 1989 (Gregg Olson). The Boston media swarmed Lopez (11-3) after the right-hander shut down the Red Sox for the fourth time this year on Friday. And most every town in the league has gotten a glimpse of closer Julio this year, making both pitchers potential postseason award winners.
TIGERS

Team president and GM Dave Dombrowski apologized for derogatory comments he made about several Detroit players during a luncheon for season-ticket holders last week. Dombrowski lamented that many of his players (including Craig Paquette, Damion Easley, Bobby Higginson and Dean Palmer) are untradeable because of their high salaries and/or injury problems. The comments wound up running on the radio, and Dombrowski apologized, saying, "In my career, it's the most embarrassed I've been about a situation."
TWINS

Yes, there are still two months to go in the season, but you can just about pencil Minnesota into the playoffs for the first time in 11 years. The Twins extended their lead in the AL Central to 14 games over the weekend, and the White Sox and Indians have all but given up hope. History is on the Twins' side, too. No team has held a 14-game lead on July 4 and finished worse than in a tie for first place, and the only one ever to do that was the 1978 Red Sox (who lost in a one-game playoff to the Yankees).
WHITE SOX

Five years ago, with his team trailing the Indians by only three games at the trade deadline, owner Jerry Reinsdorf made a flurry of deals in what became known as the White Flag trades. Last week's trade of Ray Durham (and the likelihood of more) might conjure up similar images, but the sentiment in Chicago is that Reinsdorf thinks it's the players who raised the white flag, playing far below potential and making a housecleaning inevitable.
Mark Zuckerman

THE LIST
Baseball's all-time greatest shortstops
1. Honus Wagner
Regarded by many old-timers as the greatest player in the first half of the 20th century.
2. Cal Ripken
Redefined the position for future generations. And then there's that streak, too.
3. Ozzie Smith
One of the best defensive players ever, not to mention an underrated hitter.
4. Alex Rodriguez
When it's all said and done, he'll probably surpass them all. For now, he's fourth best.
5. Ernie Banks
A power-hitting shortstop before that was expected. And never played for a winner.

QUOTABLE
"It's good for everybody's soul to occasionally win a game because these are the times that try men's souls."
Manager Hal McRae after the Devil Rays earned their league-lowest 30th win by downing Toronto 7-5.

"You don't see days like this coming. You never say, 'I feel good. I'm going to hit three.' It was just good timing."
Nomar Garciaparra, who homered three times in the Red Sox's 22-4 victory over the Devil Rays on his 29th birthday.

"Both sides are wrong. Somebody's got to think about baseball rather than their selfish needs."
Duke Snider, on baseball's labor woes.


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