Gaston and his Blue Jays left booed but unbowed But F. Robinson 'disappointed in the fan reaction' ALL-STAR GAME July 13 1993 Baltimore

July 14, 1993|By Mark Hyman | Mark Hyman,Staff Writer

Find a line in the All-Star record book for Cito Gaston.

Achievement: least appreciated manager.

The Gaston-led American League squad pounded the National League, 9-3, last night at Camden Yards. But that did little to endear the Toronto Blue Jays manager to the Baltimore crowd, which spent much of the night booing his every move.

As he stepped to the foul line during pre-game ceremonies, Gaston was roundly booed. So were the seven Blue Jays players named to the AL team.

In the ninth inning, Gaston was blasted again. He had called Toronto reliever Duane Ward into the game for the final three outs. The fans -- chanting "We want Mike" -- clearly preferred Orioles ace Mike Mussina, warming up in the bullpen.

Ward retired the final three in order. Despite the hooting from the Camden Yards crowd, Mussina, warming up on his own, never got the call.

Gaston seemed to take the jeering in stride.

"You have to understand that we both have been in the pennant race for the last three or four years, and they are going to support their team. I guess I should get out of town," Gaston said, referring to the chilly pre-game reception.

Others felt strongly that the Baltimore crowd had treated Gaston unfairly.

One was Frank Robinson, who knows something of All-Star etiquette. He played in 11 games, and was honorary co-captain of this year's AL squad.

"I'm disappointed in the fan reaction. I don't think it's right," said Robinson, Orioles assistant general manager. "I'd like to have seen Mussina get in. But there was no reason for that. It's an All-Star Game, an exhibition."

Gaston apparently rankled the All-Star audience at Camden Yards with two decisions. Mussina was the last. The first occurred last week. After the fans had voted three Blue Jays to the AL's starting eight, Gaston named four more. Among those left off the team were at least a half-dozen American Leaguers with All-Star credentials, including two Orioles contenders, catcher Chris Hoiles and reliever Gregg Olson.

The top half of the AL lineup looked as if it had been lifted out of SkyDome: Four of the game's first five AL batters were Blue Jays.

Few Blue Jays seemed even remotely perturbed by the harsh reception.

"We're in the same division, so it doesn't bother me," said Toronto second baseman Roberto Alomar, who homered in the third inning. "I went out and played my game. To me, booing is like clapping -- so what?"

Joe Carter, who played in his third All-Star Game, said the rude reaction hardly was a surprise.

"We kind of knew it was going to happen here. We had seven guys on the team. But hey, we're the world champions. The Blue Jays played well today."

Not every Blue Jay was as forgiving. Blue Jays coach Gene Tenace, who joined Gaston on the AL squad, sat at his locker, shaking his head, speaking softly.

"That's the first time I've ever seen anything like that. In an exhibition game, especially with the team winning," Tenace said. "I thought they treated Cito very rudely."

O, CANADA

Toronto manager Cito Gaston caught a lot of heat for stacking the American League All-Star team with seven Blue Jays, but his reasoning may have paid off. A look at how these Blue Jays helped the AL to its sixth straight win:

Player, pos. ........ Contribution

Roberto Alomar, 2B ..... Game-tying home run in third inning

Devon White, OF ........ RBI double in sixth inning, run scored

Duane Ward, P .......... Pitched perfect ninth inning, striking out two

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