Tom Verducci's View

April 27, 2003

JAIL TIME

Following last week's incident at U.S. Cellular Field in
Chicago, when a fan attempted to tackle umpire Laz Diaz during
a Royals-White Sox game, commissioner Bud Selig told SI that he
would like an attorney from Major League Baseball to attend all
courtroom proceedings that involve fans who trespass on the
playing field. Selig wants to persuade judges to hand down the
maximum penalty for offenders. In addition White Sox owner Jerry
Reinsdorf, in a repeat warning, was urged by Major League
Baseball to outfit his stadium security officers with more
distinctive uniforms than the nondescript gray polo shirts they
currently wear. "The more security stands out, the better,"
Selig said.

The most effectual change, however, must come from lawmakers. All
fans who trespass on the field--let's not pretend to know their
intentions--should face mandatory jail time. The father and son
who attacked Royals coach Tom Gamboa during a game last year are
still free; the father's case is pending while the son was
sentenced to probation and 30 hours of community service. "What
happened to Tommy Gamboa was awful," Selig says. "I hope it
doesn't take something worse to happen. The toughest penalties
should be meted out. These people should be prosecuted and sent
to jail."

REAL RAUL

While the Yankees were outhomering foes 41-5, no player better
represented the depth of their power than Raul Mondesi, a .232
hitter last year. The erstwhile $13 million albatross, whom New
York tried unsuccessfully to trade last winter, was slugging like
Reggie Jackson, primarily out of the eighth spot in the lineup
(.352, five homers). And why not? Jackson served as Mondesi's
mentor in spring training.

"Reggie made him his personal project," says manager Joe Torre.
"I thought a fast start was more important to him than anybody
else. When we got him last year, it was too late for him to
salvage his average, so he tried to hit the ball out of the park
all the time. Now he can relax and let his ability take over."

THREE STRIKES FOR...
Devil Rays rookie outfielder Rocco Baldelli

Q: What's the biggest difference between Class A California
League pitching and major league pitching?

A: California League pitchers give you pitches you can drive.
Here you get pitches you can put in play. [In the majors] you see
a lot fewer pitches over the middle of the plate.

Q: Are walks--you had one at week's end--overrated?

A: There may come a time when I make adjustments and take [more
pitches]. But now I've got to play my game, which is putting the
ball in play. I have to hit it on the ground and run. That's how
I try to cause trouble for the other team.

Q: You were part of a Rhode Island high school championship
volleyball team. Any such thing as pickup volleyball to work on
your game?

A: The only time I ever played volleyball was the 2 1/2 months it
was in season. Now I have a clause in my contract that says I
can't play volleyball and basketball, the sports I played in high
school. Volleyball at family picnics is out too.

HOT CORNER

Fox television executives, not the owners, continue to work on
the players' association to accept the owners' plan to put World
Series home field advantage on the line in the All-Star Game.
Players have countered with a proposal to give the advantage to
the team with the better regular-season record, but that ignores
the reason the owners came up with the idea in the first place:
plummeting TV ratings for the midsummer classic....Yankees
lefthander David Wells (3-0) faced 249 consecutive batters
(postseason included) without issuing a walk until allowing one
in Monday's 15-1 win over Minnesota....A new Mendoza line? On
April 15, Red Sox reliever Ramiro Mendoza gave up four runs on
nine pitches. One AL general manager said Mendoza's inability to
get his sinker to work may be indicative of arm trouble....A's
reliever Ricardo Rincon took speciality relief to new depths on
April 15 when he asked out of a tie game against the Mariners
after throwing 16 pitches.

Read Tom Verducci's Inside Baseball column every Tuesday at
si.com/baseball.

COLOR PHOTO: TED S. WARREN/AP (FAN) Renegade fans must be stopped. COLOR PHOTO: EZRA SHAW/GETTY IMAGES (MONDESI) COLOR PHOTO: MICHAEL DWYER /AP (BALDELLI)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)