When the Dodgers arrived in St. Louis for a three-game series last week, Third Baseman Pedro Guerrero went to the home of Cardinal Pitcher Joaquin Andujar, a childhood friend from the Dominican Republic. While dining on rice, beans and shrimp, Guerrero boasted he would hit a home run off Andujar the next day. It didn't concern Guerrero that he had never tagged his buddy for a four-bagger—not in school, playground, winter league or major league ball. Andujar's wife, Walkiria, even told him, "If you do, you won't be coming back here to eat." But with the count 1-2 in the sixth inning the following evening, Guerrero belted one out. "I wanted to pitch him high inside," Andujar said. "But I went to his power, low outside. A fastball, 92 miles an hour it was, and he hit it." Was Guerrero then barred from further rice and beans at Andujar's place? "Hell, no," Andujar said. "We're friends."
Rod Carew may retire at the end of the season because of what he feels is unfair media pressure and criticism of, for example, his RBI output. California's 37-year-old first baseman is a .331 lifetime hitter and was batting .470 at the end of last week. "I've already decided what I'm going to do," he says. "I'm just not ready to disclose it."
Baltimore Reliever Tim Stoddard, miffed because he has been used sparingly despite pitching well, sounded off last week. With three righthanded Oakland hitters coming up in the eighth inning, Stoddard felt he should have been brought in rather than lefty Tippy Martinez. After the game Stoddard complained to Manager Joe Altobelli and then told the press, "If he's not going to use me, then I don't want to stay here."
Altobelli fired back: "I confronted Tim. I'll probably confront him again. I guarantee he won't do this to me again."
Pitching Coach Ray Miller was upset, too, saying that Stoddard's outburst was "the dumbest thing I've ever seen in baseball. Seventeen games into the season, and he says he doesn't want to pitch for this team? Especially after Tippy retires the side on seven pitches. That makes it twice as stupid."
Seattle's Julio Cruz's streak of successful steal attempts was stopped at 23 when Boston Catcher Jeff Newman nailed him trying to swipe third.... St. Louis' Ken Oberkfell may not be able to carry the Cards with his bat, but in games in which he has carried the starting lineup card to the plate, St. Louis is 6-1.... The anticipated sale of the Indians is "on the back burner now," according to majority owner Steve O'Neill. He wants to know exactly how large Cleveland's share of the new network television contracts will be.
"A lot of managers go by the book just to cover their butts," says Texas Manager Doug Rader, who isn't a big fan of the sacrifice bunt. "They can't be doubted, even if the strategy fails. The basic point is that many times, depending on the club, you can't do things by the book."
Although a number of scouts and general managers say there's less trade talk than usual, two players are almost certain to be swapped soon. Several clubs have expressed interest in Pitcher Ed Farmer, for whom the Phils would want a young prospect. And Outfielder Warren Cromartie is not likely to be wearing an Expo uniform much longer.
Minnesota Reliever Ron Davis is a third who may go. Some general managers are buying the opinion of scouts who say that Davis will have an improved attitude and fastball if he leaves the Twins and owner Calvin Griffith, with whom he has been at odds.
Former Oriole Manager Earl Weaver, who is watching games from the stands for the first time in 35 years, says, "The big difference is that ice cream sandwiches cost 75 cents. They used to be a dime."
Former Stanford Quarterback John Elway has indicated he will sign a minor league contract with the Yankees rather than play for the Colts, who picked him No. 1 in last week's NFL draft. Most baseball scouts are convinced, however, that Elway's prospects are better on the gridiron than on the diamond. Jack Pastore, the director of scouting for the Phils, says his bird dogs "are not that high on him. At best, he's average, across the board."
Rookie Greg Brock, who has replaced Steve Garvey at first base for L.A., attributes his good start—four homers and 14 RBIs in his first 21 games—to tips from his "personal scout," 37-year-old teammate Rick Monday, who tells Brock what to expect from various pitchers.... The A's will have to decide soon whether to stick with Shortstop Tony Phillips, who has been flashy but erratic in the field (six errors through Sunday) and who was hitting only .175. If Phillips is sent down, Oakland will go with Bill Almon, a mediocre fielder who was hitting .340.... The A's, though, are all smiles about Reliever Tom Burgmeier, who hadn't given up a run in nine appearances covering 13‚Öî innings.
San Diego Third Baseman Tim Flannery and Cincinnati Catcher Dann Bilardello got to keep their first major league home-run balls last week. A half inning after Flannery hit his off Chicago's Chuck Rainey, San Diego Centerfielder Ruppert Jones traded a Wrigley Field bleacherite two balls for the one Flannery had hit. Bilardello's homer came off the Mets' Tom Seaver. His wife, Tish, followed the ball's flight into the Riverfront Stadium stands, found the person who caught it and arranged to trade an autographed ball. Said Bilardello, "I hope she didn't have to kiss somebody."
Oriole owner Edward Bennett Williams figures he lost $1 million in 1982 because six home dates were rained out. So he has bought "rain insurance" from Lloyd's of London. "If we'd had that policy last year, we'd probably have collected $500,000," Williams says.
The policy, which probably cost less than $100,000, pays off only after two rainouts. According to the best estimates—Williams won't discuss the specifics of the policy—additional rained-out games that can't be switched to open dates will bring $100,000 each.
"Rain insurance isn't new," says American League President Lee MacPhail. "When my brother was with the Dodgers [Larry MacPhail owned them from 1938 until 1944], he bought it for an important doubleheader against the Cardinals. He got lucky: It rained enough for him to collect on the policy, but not hard enough to postpone the games. And they won both."
After losing eight of nine games, in large part because of a .228 team batting average, the Mariners sought a cure. Shortly before facing the Red Sox in the King-dome, Seattle's Bill Caudill, Mike Stanton and Richie Zisk burned 15 bats in a pile outside their clubhouse door. "We pulled one bat out of the fire, crushed the ashes and sprinkled them around home plate and on our bench," Caudill says. Forthwith the Mariners became hot hitters, scoring four times in the first and winning 7-6.
White Sox Catcher Carlton Fisk thinks he knows why Pitcher Floyd Bannister lost four of his first five games and had a 5.65 ERA. Fisk says Bannister has been trying to prove he's worth the $4.5 million five-year contract he signed with Chicago this winter as a free agent. "I wish I could get inside his head," Fisk says. "He's squeezing the ball like it's going to get away. When you try too hard, you get all tensed up. You keep milk shook up, and the cream can't come to the top."
During a 10-4 victory over the Phillies that enabled the Braves to tie a club record of 10 consecutive at-home wins, Atlanta Reliever Terry Forster doubled and singled in his first at bats of the year. That raised Forster's career average to a gaudy .415 (27 for 65). Far more surprising was a 385-foot RBI double by Pitcher Rick Camp that helped the Braves beat the Mets 6-3. Camp is one of the worst hitters in big league history—.036 lifetime (3 for 83).
When the Yankees looked for an advertising campaign to promote this year's team they ignored their rich tradition and big-name players, like Dave Winfield, Don Baylor and Steve Kemp, and instead chose to emphasize the pugnacious nature of Billy Martin, back for his third term as New York's manager. Last Friday night in Texas, Martin kicked dirt on Umpire Drew Coble and received his second thumb of '83. Not only did Martin's immature tirade fail to arouse his struggling team, which lost 8-3 to Texas, it also earned him a three-day suspension. Is that the sort of battling the Yankees want—or ought—to sell?
A REAL OTTITY
When the recently installed Bishop Stanley Ott of Baton Rouge designed his personal coat of arms, he included a small baseball because he's a fan—and a second cousin of Hall of Famer Mel Ott.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
LARRY McWILLIAMS: The Pittsburgh lefthander allowed only a fifth-inning single in a 3-0 win over San Francisco and four hits in a 2-1 victory over San Diego while lowering his ERA to 2.23.
SAN DIEGO PADRES"
BALL PARK FIGURES
Of the 71 batters hitting .300 or better at the end of last week, these are among the least likely to be in that category at season's end:
Wayne Gross, A's
Danny Heep, Mets
Tim Flannery, Padres
Bob Bush, Twins
Tim Foli, Angels
Jerry Martin, Royals
Mike Davis, A's
Tom Brookens, Tigers
Ernie Whitt, Blue Jays
Davey Lopes, A's