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Apolitical blues

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September 30

Adam raised a cain
The No. 1-rated JUCO football player in the nation is quarterback Corey Jenkins of Garden City (Kansas) C.C. He will play for South Carolina next fall. What then is Jenkins doing in this space? Well, he was a first-round pick of the Boston Red Sox in 1995, played four seasons in minor-league ball and then went back to football. Maybe Jenkins and South Carolina will get matched up in a bowl with Texas A&M, whose QB is Mark Fariss, the former No. 1 pick of the Pirates. Fariss, by the way, was selected one spot in front of Nomar Garciaparra in the 1994 draft.

Incidentally, Boston, which now has the smallest scouting staff in the majors, had two first rounders in '95. One of them, right-handed pitcher Andy Yount, the 15th pick overall, is also out of baseball.

Who do you love?

GS IP IP/Start ERA Pitcher No. 1: 30 211 7.0 3.84 Pitcher No. 2: 31 185 6.0 4.17

Pitcher No. 1 is Brian Kingman in 1980 when he went 8-20.

Pitcher No. 2 is Darren Dreifort from this year, who could make $45 million over five years as a free agent this upcoming offseason.

Kingman has been following Omar Daal, who had two chances to lose his 20th game this year but came away unscathed and will finish with 19, but says he didn't root for Daal to lose his 20th game.

"I want to keep my record (as the last 20-game loser)," says Kingman. "It's like being Miss America."

Warren Spahn returned to County Stadium -- where he pitched the first major league game in 1953 -- this week to help close out the park along with Bud Selig.

Asked about the beanball incidents that take place in today's game, Spahn replied, "That's the Latin part of the game. When the Latins came to the game, they also brought their habits with them, so that now we have people fighting with bats and charging the mound. The cultures are a lot different."

Pedro Martinez, gave a measured response to Jeff Horrigan of the Boston Herald: "When the first fight in baseball occurred, did they have Latins?" asked Martinez. "And from what I heard, Ty Cobb was in fights almost every day. Is he Latin?"

Riding shotgun down the avalanche
The Blue Jays' season was captured by the combined line of Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay on Thursday:

5.2 IP, 10 H, 13 R.

Only the song survives
The lineup the Twins started against Cleveland Tuesday night, in the heat of a pennant race, had a combined total of 17 homers in it. Meanwhile, the payroll of Cleveland's lineup was $54 million while Minnesota's was $2 million.

Before I go
Reggie Jefferson, who went home before the playoffs last season when told by Boston GM Dan Duquette that he was not on the postseason roster, was pulled from the middle of an inning by the Seibu Lions for bobbling a groundball in a key situation. Jefferson refused to play the next night and was released. Jefferson, a career .300 hitter in the U.S. major leagues, batted .260 in Japan this season.

More fodder for those who scoff at the notion of Kazuhiro Sasaki being selected rookie of the year.

"That," says Tampa Bay scout Matt Keough, who pitched for five seasons in Japan, "would be like Trevor Hoffman going over there, having a good season and being named rookie of the year."

Raise your hand
Going into the final two days of the regular season, 37 Red Sox baserunners were thrown out at home plate this year. That is the same number worn by Jim Piersall and Bill Lee.

Money for nothing and your kicks for free
Travis Lee hit one home run for the Phillies since they acquired him from the Diamondbacks in late July in the Curt Schilling trade. Despite his struggles, he has refused to play winter ball to try to improve himself. In case you forgot, this is the same guy who chose not to stay with his Diamondbacks teammates for the playoffs last season when he wasn't on the active roster.

Makes you kind of think that perhaps a $10 million bonus to someone who's never done a thing might be a crackbrained notion.

The promised land
Statistics going into the weekend for Shawn Green and Raul Mondesi, who were swapped in the same deal last offseason between the Dodgers and Blue Jays.

Player		G     R	   BA    HR    RBI    OPS
Shawn Green	159   96  .270   24    98    .842
Raul Mondesi	 96   78  .271   24    78    .852

Crossing muddy waters
The numbers at the Baseball Prospectus web site can be hard to explain, but the overall comparative ratings are relevant and usually accurate.

For instance, by their numbers, these are the least productive players at four production positions (starting at the bottom):

1B: Ron Coomer, Minn.; Tino Martinez, NYY; Kevin Young, Pitt.; Travis Lee, Phi.
3B: Vinny Castilla, T.B.; Scott Brosius, NYY; Michael Barrett, Mont.
LF: Troy O'Leary, Bos.; Ricky Ledee, Tex.; Reggie Sanders, Atl.
RF: Dave Martinez, Tor.; Paul O'Neill, NYY; Brian Jordan, Atl.

Then there are the pitcher ratings:

Luckiest starters
Scott Elarton, Houston
Tim Hudson, Oakland
Andy Pettitte, Yankees
Brian Meadows, Kansas City
Garrett Stephenson, St. Louis
Unluckiest starters
Mike Mussina, Baltimore
Masato Yoshii, Colorado
Omar Daal, Philadelphia
Brad Radke, Minnesota
Jeff Weaver, Detroit

Helped by bullpens
Pedro Astacio, Colorado
Steve Trachsel, Toronto
Paul Abbott, Seattle
Jeff Suppan, Kansas City
Rolando Arrojo, Boston

Hurt by bullpens
Shawn Estes, San Francisco
Jimmy Haynes, Milwaukee
Pete Schourek, Boston
Roy Halladay, Toronto
David Cone, New York

I went back to Ohio
On his Athletes Direct web page, Albert Belle answers his Cleveland critics by disputing that he soaked the visiting clubhouse carpet at Jacobs Field with Gatorade, as reported.

Here's what Belle had to say on his web page:

"I have always said that there is a double standard in Cleveland and this was evident when we recently played there. The fans applauded Mike Hargrove when he was announced, and deservingly so, because he helped the Indians win. I helped win a lot of games there, too, but when I was announced, I was booed. You figure it out; it is a double standard. I sweated blood and tears to help win games for that organization. I slid on my (butt) down my condo stairs to win baseball games for Cleveland, yet I am always looked at in a negative way by Cleveland and their fans."

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