Watch Out For That Guy With The Radar Gun, Mr. President!

SIDELINES

Here Come Those Q's Without A's Again

July 28, 1991|By Pat O'Malley

It's been a while, sports fans, and I know you've missed it because you've been calling with your big "Q's." But suffer no more.

Yes, it's time once again for a round of "Questions Without Answers."

Just a refresher on the ground rules: If you have any remarks, questions or even some answers, please ring my 24-hour Sportsline, 647-2499, and fire away.

I'm going to start off today's session with a"Q" that may puzzle you at first, so I'm going to give you the answer and then explain.

* When it comes to President Bush, how tight is security around him? Enough to throw a big-league scout out of the ball park?

This story involves Orioles scout Jim Gilbert, who doesn't live in our county but spends a lot of time here.

A veteran scouting supervisor, Gilbert recently signed two local products -- pitcher Rick Forney of Annapolis High and Anne Arundel Community College,and infielder Donnie Gilbert (no relation to Jim) of Northeast High and Winthrop College in South Carolina.

Gilbert each year assembles the Oriolelanders' team to play our county stars in the Anne Arundel County Sun-Oriolelanders All-Star Baseball Game (this year on Sunday, Sept. 8).

Gil recently told me of a bizarre episode at the Frederick Keys' minor league complex a couple weeks ago when President Bush visited.

Gilbert, who resides in Hagerstown, was scheduled to work in Frederick that night and rate a pitcher. He shows up at a backdoor to the clubhouse only to be met by some huge, hulking guy who wanted to know what he wanted.

The guy happened to be a Secret Service agent, but Gil, unaware of the president's visit, had no idea whyhe was guarding the door.

An argument ensued, and when the SecretService man wanted to look in Gil's black bag, all hell broke loose.

Gilbert told the guy that he had a radar gun (to clock the velocity on a pitcher's fastball). With that, the agent shouted out, "A radar gun? What kind of gun did you say, a radar gun?"

Within seconds, Gilbert was surrounded by about 10 agents who wanted to see his radar gun. According to Gil, the agents didn't have a clue what it was for.

As they started tugging at his bag, Gil grabbed the radar gun and ran across the room shouting "Wherever the gun goes, I go!"

Still trying to figure out what kind of gun it was, the agents apprehended Gilbert, the gun and his Orioles ID. Gil suggested they take him into the Keys' front office so the office personnel could identify him, but when they did, two new people were on duty.

"Have you been drinking?" asked one.

That set Gil off like a Saturn rocket and ittook the appearance of a Frederick police detective to identify him and calm him down.

"All they had to do was tell me that the president was there that night and there would have been no problems," saidGil, a former Baltimore policeman who worked Orioles games with the Secret Service when Richard Nixon was in office.

"I told (the agents) that (former Orioles manager Earl) Weaver used to get thrown out before Oriole games, but that I have to be the first scout ever tossed before a game."

Gilbert wore an FBI cap to the park the next night, without incident, but says he's really been taking some ribbing from fellow scouts, coaches and players.

* Were you one of the 26 pitchers who threw this past week at the Orioles' tryout camp at Anne Arundel Community College?

"Fifteen pitchers threw 80 (mph) or better and I think we came up with a lot of good follows for next year,"said Clayton Jacobson, AACC head baseball coach and an Orioles associate scout who worked the camp.

Pro clubs look for high school players who are going into their senior years at such camps and call those worth seeing that final year "follows."

* Isn't it great that 1986 Arundel High graduate Denny Neagle has been called up to the big show by the Minnesota Twins and was scheduled to pitch last night in the Metrodome vs. the Milwaukee Brewers?

"I can't believe it," said his ecstatic father, Denny Sr., Friday afternoon. "We were planningon going to Portland next week to see him pitch, but now we're goingto Minnesota."

Neagle had been pitching for the Twins' Class AAA farm club, the Portland Beavers, in the Pacific Coast League. But last Monday he impressed the Twins' brass in the Hall of Fame exhibitiongame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Pitching against the San Francisco Giants, Neagle worked six innings and gave up only five hits and two earned runs. He struck out six and did not issue a walk.

Usually, big-league clubs don't call up just anybody to pitch an exhibition like that. They call up someone who they consider just about ready to come up and help them, and such an exhibition is like the final exam.

Neagle passed, and a lifelong dream has come true for a very deservingyoung man of 22 years.

* Wasn't it admirable of the Miami team not to take a forfeit over Puerto Rico early last week in the Continental Amateur Baseball Association (CABA) 18-and-under World Series, being played here in Anne Arundel County?

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