Metrodome sounds tame to Toronto rookie Guzman

October 09, 1991|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Sun Staff Correspondent

MINNEAPOLIS T — MINNEAPOLIS -- Toronto Blue Jays rookie Juan Guzman got to see last night how crazy it can get at the Metrodome, but he doesn't seem particularly concerned that his concentration will be disrupted when he takes the mound against Minnesota Twins right-hander Kevin Tapani for Game 2 tonight.

Guzman has pitched in the Dominican World Series, where near-riot conditions are not unusual in the stands. The loud, but orderly fans in Minnesota probably will be mild by comparison.

"I don't think it's going to bother me," Guzman said. "The people up here won't make more noise than they make down in my country. They're pretty wild. They do a lot of things. My concentration will be fine. It will not bother me."

Nothing seems to bother the 24-year-old right-hander. He lost his first two major-league decisions -- both to the Baltimore Orioles -- then reeled off 10 consecutive victories to vault himself into the running for American League Rookie of the Year.

He lost his final decision of the year to the Twins, but Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston is hoping that he'll provide the perfect change of pace when he follows Game 1 starter Tom Candiotti to the mound.

The Twins will have to adjust to Guzman's live young arm just hours after facing a knuckleball pitcher, but manager Tom Kelly said Monday that it would not be a problem.

Guzman (10-3) has faced Minnesota twice in the past 12 days. He gave up two runs over eight innings in a 5-2 victory on Sept. 27 in Toronto, and gave up one run in a three-inning performance in Saturday's loss at the Metrodome. He is 2-1 with a 2.57 in three 1991 appearances against the Twins.

Vincent is watching

Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent said yesterday that he is watching as teams replace their managers to make sure they consider minorities.

Long a matter of the commissioner's interest, the issue is of concern again with this week's firing of New York Yankees manager Stump Merrill and Boston's Joe Morgan.

"It's something we've been working on," Vincent said yesterday before Game 1 of the American League playoffs in the Metrodome.

"It's a case of getting them to consider, to interview, minorities. I'm trying to do some lecturing and cajoling."

Merrill and Morgan were the ninth and 10th managers to be fired in 1991. Morgan was replaced by Butch Hobson, who is white.

The New York Mets also are looking for a manager, having fired Bud Harrelson and replaced him with Mike Cubbage, also white, on an interim basis.

Hal McRae, who took over the Royals from John Wathan in midseason, was the only black to get a managing job this year. Toronto's Cito Gaston is the only other black manager in baseball.

Jim Essian's job with the Chicago Cubs is considered to be in jeopardy, and there is speculation that general manager Jim Frey will take over the field duties as well.

Ex-Indian factor

You've heard of the ex-Cub factor? Well, the Blue Jays have a long list of former Cleveland Indians players on their playoff roster and they wouldn't be here without them.

* Right fielder Joe Carter came up through the Cleveland organization before going to the San Diego Padres in the trade that sent Sandy Alomar Jr. to the Indians. He went to the Blue Jays in the biggest trade of the 1990 winter meetings and carried the Blue Jays offense with 33 home runs and 108 RBI.

* Candy Maldonado was the leading run-producer in the Indians' lineup last year, but went to the Brewers as a free agent and on to Toronto in an early August waiver deal.

* Game 1 starter Candiotti was acquired from the Indians on June 27 along with Turner Ward for Glenallen Hill and Mark Whiten. He was 6-7 after that, but still had the second-best ERA in the American League.

If that isn't enough, third baseman Kelly Gruber was the Indians' No. 1 pick in the 1980 June draft, but the Jays yanked him out of the Indians' system in the 1983 Rule V draft.

The list of former Indians who contributed to the Blue Jays' division title drive also includes Pat Tabler and Cory Snyder, though Snyder did not make the postseason roster.

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