Warehouse to Horn: Come on and get me, big guy

Ken Rosenthal

April 01, 1992|By Ken Rosenthal

Sam, my man:

We meet at last.

You, the lefthanded slugger.

Me, the warehouse in rightfield.

It's destiny, isn't it? I'm 94, you're 28, but baseball spans the generations. This is "The Natural" come to life.

Goodbye, Robert Redford.

Hello, Sam Horn.

Man, I love lefthanded hitters with bang-bang names. Babe Ruth. Remember him? Used to play down here. Old man ran a bar in centerfield. Kid was trouble, but he could hit.

Times change. The B&O Railroad is gone. Oriole Park at Camden Yards is here. The name is about the dumbest thing I've heard. But they've fixed me up inside, all nice and pretty.

Yep, I can even talk now, but only through certain disturbed columnists. Just another perfect touch from the greatest construction project since the pyramids of Egypt.

Trust me, no brick was left unturned.

An implant here, a tuck there.

Joan Rivers has got nothing on me.

Anyway, Sam, it's time for you to get busy. I'm only 460 feet away, down the rightfield line. You're the only Oriole capable of reaching me with a home run.

You're thinking, "Hammer time."

I'm saying, "You can't touch this."

This won't be easy, Sam, but I'm rooting for you. You've never hit a triple, stolen a base or executed a sacrifice bunt in your entire major-league career. You need me, pal.

And face it, I need you.

Eddie Murray comes to town for the first exhibition Friday. Sam, I don't want the Frown Prince touching me. I know you're not a pitcher, but you're 6 feet 5, 247 pounds.

Threaten the pitchers.

Threaten Eddie.

Do something.

As for your own team, Sammy, I'm not worried. In fact, I'm a little miffed. Did anyone inform your front office that I'm standing in rightfield, not left?

Those righthanded hitters will never get me. And I'm not exactly trembling over the other lefties, Brady Anderson, Joe Orsulak and Chito Martinez.

Sam, it's me and you now. Come on, Mr. Home-Run Frequency. The Sam Man. Sam-o-rama. Sam-meister. Sam, bam, thank you Ma'am.

Let's see what you got.

I know you're trying not to think about me. I know you might strike out 150 times trying to hit the big bomb.

I know those idiot reporters will be asking, "When? When? When?"

Block it out, Sam.

Just imagine the possibilities.

Me, I'm staying put. But you, some marketing wizard can make you rich. Maybe you can autograph some of my loose bricks and sell them for the price of a luxury box.

Now that I think about it, club president Larry Lucchino occupies one of my better offices facing the field. Big desk. Plush furniture. And a big glass window ready to shatter.

Hit one through that window, and you can autograph it special for Lucchino, complete with your arbitration request for next year.

Say, $4.6 million -- $10,000 a foot.

Heck, I'll even let the Orioles mark the spot. They flew a "Here" banner to show where Frank Robinson hit the only ball out of Memorial Stadium. Yours can say "There."

Sam, they put the main ticket office inside me, plus the executive offices, plus a cafeteria, a bar and an exclusive club.

It's all very nice, but it's up to you to make everyone remember the B&O.

B as in "back, back, back!"

O as in "out of here!"

See you Friday, Sam.

You, the lefthanded slugger.

Me, the warehouse in rightfield.

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