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Apolitical blues

Special to

September 9

Which way to the top?
One American League scout on watching Al Gore throw batting practice in Detroit Wednesday:

"He has a decent delivery and a pretty loose arm. In fact, his delivery is better than a lot of the pitchers in the league right now, which is pretty good considering he was wearing a shirt and tie. I'd normally say Triple-A tops, but there are a lot of Triple-A pitchers in the big leagues. So my report is to sign him to a non-roster contract for next spring, unless he's busy."

Down below the borderline
Atlanta has long been regarded as the Winnipeg of U.S. sports towns. We know the city is spoiled with the consistent success of the Braves.

But this is how bad it is. The Braves drew 25,529, a record low for Turner-Aaron Field, on Thursday night, and for the classic Tom Glavine/Randy Johnson matchup on Tuesday night they drew 29,722. They also have only 35,000 tickets sold per game for the Sept. 18-20 series vs. the Mets, which last year in the same week drew 141,000. The people in Boston probably believe the wrong team left.

$1,000 wedding
The Mets had lost seven of their first nine games since owner Fred Wilpon announced he wanted Bobby Valentine to return as manager next season.

Crashed in the jungle
The fourth and fifth starters for the Dodgers are a combined 7-25 with a 6.68 ERA in 56 games started.

Don't let the green grass fool you
"I'm like crabgrass. I keep coming back. No matter how hard you try, you can't kill me. I'll always come back."
--John Wehner on his return to the Pirates

Have a little faith in me
For those whining about the Diamondbacks' lofty spot in baseball despite having just the fifth-best record in the National League (75-64, .540, through Friday), consider their place among third-year expansion teams (going into the weekend):

  • D-Backs, 1998-2000, .513
  • Angels, 1961-63, .467
  • Rockies, 1993-95, .466
  • Royals, 1969-71, .452
  • Marlins, 1993-95, .433
  • Devil Rays, 1998-2000, .409

    The future's so bright I gotta wear shades
    Here's the list of the Howe Sports bureau's all-prospects team for this season:


    Name            Pos. Team    Org. Age   Avg. HR RBI
    Carlos Pena      1B  Tulsa   Tex.  22  .299  28	105
    Keith Ginter     2B  R. Rock Hou.  24  .333  26  92
    Sean Burroughs   3B  Mobile  SD    19  .291   2  42 
    Alfonso Soriano  SS  Col.    NYY   22  .290  12  66 
    Brad Wilkerson   OF  Ottawa  Mon.  23  .295  18  79
    Corey Patterson  OF  W. Tenn Chc.  21  .261  22  82 
    Josh Hamilton    OF  Char-SC TB    19  .301  13  61

    Name Throws Team Org. Age Rec. ERA Jon Garland RHP Char. Chw. 20 9-2 2.13 Ben Sheets RHP Ind. Mil. 22 8-8 2.40 Carlos Zambrano RHP Iowa Chc. 21 5-6 2.62 Bud Smith LHP Memphis Stl. 20 17-2 2.26 Ryan Anderson LHP Tacoma Sea. 21 5-8 3.98

    1999 selections
    C: Ben Petrick, Rockies
    1B: Nick Johnson, Yankees
    2B: Marcus Giles, Braves
    3B: Sean Burroughs, Padres
    SS: Alfonso Soriano, Yankees
    OF: Corey Patterson, Cubs
    OF: Vernon Wells, Blue Jays
    OF: Chin-Feng Chen, Dodgers
    P: Rick Ankiel, Cardinals
    P: Eric Gagne, Dodgers
    P: Ramon Ortiz, Angels
    P: Matt Riley, Orioles
    RP: Francisco Cordero, Tigers

    1998 selections
    C: Ben Davis, Padres
    1B: Calvin Pickering, Orioles
    2B: Carlos Febles, Royals
    3B: Eric Chavez, Athletics
    SS: Pablo Ozuna, Cardinals
    OF: Ruben Mateo, Rangers
    OF: Alex Escobar, Mets
    OF: Gabe Kapler, Tigers
    P: Brad Penny, Diamondbacks
    P: Matt Clement, Padres
    P: Bruce Chen, Braves
    P: Rick Ankiel, Cardinals
    RP: Orber Moreno, Royals

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