Bill Buckner was emotional during a pre-game ceremony in Boston Tuesday, crying, claiming he was crucified by Red Sox fans and media for years because of his famous between-the-legs error in the 1986 World Series.
He said Tuesday’s ceremony finally gave him “closure.”
But this question was repeatedly raised in Boston this week:
Closure from what?
The Boston Globe noted that, on Buckner’s first appearance in Boston after his error in the sixth game of the 1986 World Series, he was given a standing ovation. That took place on opening day in 1987. The paper also reported that Bucker drew another standing ovation in 1990, when he was brought back to Boston for a last hurrah.
It was also noted that Buckner has profited from the error, making joint appearances at card shows with Mookie Wilson, the former New York Mets batter whose ground ball Buckner missed.
Various websites offer baseballs, photos, and posters autographed by both men, baseballs on one site going for more than $200.
• When the Expos left Montreal a few years ago, Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos battled hard to keep the franchise out of Washington. He battled because he thought the Nationals would be too close for comfort to Baltimore. He didn’t think the region would support two franchises.
This week, Angelos publicly admitted he’s happy he lost the battle. He even said he hoped Orioles fans are travelling to Washington on occasion and checking out the Nats.
“There’s no law against visiting the other franchise,” Angelos said. “It took me a while to realize that Washington is a National League city and Baltimore’s an American League city, and they’re entirely different ball games.
“Originally, I felt Washington and Baltimore were too close to each other. But I don’t think that any more. Washington is the nation’s capital, and the team is there. And it ought to e supported. Hopefully, it’ll stir up even more baseball interest in Baltimore. I think both franchises will provide successful baseball.”
• Check this out:
Any day now, a new CD about baseball will hit the music stores – and critics are raving about it.
It’ll be called Diamond Dreams. Its singer: None other than major-league umpire Joe West.
They say he has an outstanding voice.
• Sammy Sosa, whose 609 home runs will land him in the Hall of Fame unless voters decide to make his alleged use of steroids and/or HGH an issue, will announce his retirement any day now.
Sosa is 39, and can’t find a major-league club to employ him, so. . .
• MLB and its players’ union have tentatively agreed to have an administrator oversee the sport’s drug-testing program as they move toward adopting many of the recommendations in the Mitchell Report.
The overseer will be appointed to a fixed term and will be given many protections from dismissal.
• The Atlanta Braves’ top prospect, Jordan Schafer, received a 50-game suspension in the minor leagues for using HGH.
Shafer’s father said his son was ordered by his lawyer to refrain from talking about the charge or about the suspended handed down by MLB commissioner Bud Selig.
“And it’s killing him to keep his mouth shut,” the father said.
• Shawn Hill, the Nats’ right-handed pitcher and a native of Mississauga, Ont., is pitching these days for Class A Potomac.
He’s on a rehabilitation assignment and he battles soreness in his forearm. Club doctors figure he’ll be back up with Washington before May.
• Another formidable Canadian player, outfielder Jason Bay, is suffering from a sore right knee and was pulled from the Pittsburgh Pirates’ lineup the other night.
The knee may explain Bay’s terribly slow start.
• To take out his own frustration at being 0-2 for a winless team, Detroit Tigers pitcher Kenny Rogers ran upward of a dozen miles around the Fenway Park warning track during batting practice Wednesday.
Rogers said he spent a few hours circling the park 60-65 times on the warning track. The word from the Red Sox is that five laps around the warning track equals one mile. That means Rogers ran 12-13 miles.
“More than I probably should have,” Rogers told The Detroit Free Press.
And more than Rogers, 43, had ever run at one time before.
• Everything seems to be going wrong for the Tigers.
Placido Polanco even made an error. His errorless streak ended Tuesday at 186 games, a major-league record for a second baseman.
• Cliff Floyd, new designated hitter for the Tampa Bay Rays, was “speechless” and surprised Wednesday after an MRI exam revealed a torn medial meniscus in his right knee.
The 35-year-old ex-Expo will be out for at least four weeks
• Several San Francisco Giants pitchers say they are trying to adjust to a mound at their home stadium that seems different than before, and even different than their bullpen mound.
“It’s wider,” Tyler Walker said. “It seems to have hips. They measured it and it cleared, so it’s legit. It’s high enough, but where your foot is landing, it seems to sneak up on you.”
• According to research by the Elias Sports Bureau, Kyle Lohse is the first St. Louis Cardinals pitcher since 1900 to begin his career with the team without giving up a run in his first two starts.
• Mets right-hander Nelson Figueroa traveled the world last season after the Seattle Mariners released him at the end of spring training, pitching in Mexico, Taiwan and the Dominican, winning MVP awards in All-Star games and playoff series virtually everywhere he went.
Figueroa, who turns 34 next month, told U.S. baseball guru Ken Rosenthal that his most disappointing moment was when he checked his voicemail after his 17-hour flight to Taiwan and learned that he had minor-league offers from both the Colorado Rockies and the Toronto Blue Jays.
He couldn’t turn back — he already had agreed to pitch in Taiwan — but then three straight typhoons hit and his team didn’t play for 17 days.
• Speaking of the Jays, remember second baseman Orlando Hudson?
Well, he’s a star with the Arizona Diamondbacks but unlike his successor Aaron Hill, who signed a three-year deal last week with the Jays, Hudson cannot agree to terms with his club on a new contract.
The D-Backs have had intermittent talks with Hudson’s agent about an extension since late in 2007, but the sides appear so far apart that it would take a major move by one to rekindle meaningful dialog.
Hudson, a three-time Gold Glove winner who will become a free agent after this season, is seeking an annual salary similar to the $15-million U.S. given to the Philadelphia Philles’ Chase Utley.
• And, finally, this vital piece of information about Yankees legend Mickey Mantle, courtesy of The New York Post:
“Mantle may have scored a home run with America’s perennial movie virgin.
“In his upcoming tell-all (book), Doris Day: the Untold Story of the Girl Next Door, (author) David Kaufman says the perky star met the skirt-chasing Mick when he did a cameo in her 1962 flick, That Touch of Mink.
“After Day became ‘a free agent’ when her marriage to Martin Melcher crumbled, Mantle homed in.”
“A notorious womanizer,” Kaufman writes, “Mantle boasted to friends that not only had he slept with Day at his regular suite in New York’s St. Moritz Hotel, but that she was ‘one of the best [bleeps] of his life.”
A spokeswoman for Day, who turned 84 last week, said the actress would have no comment.