Haney's role goes from familiar to familial with son on mound

July 22, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

Sitting in the stands, he looked like just another scout. The seat location (lower box, section 36, row CCC, seat 2), stopwatch and paperwork were the easy tip-offs.

Anywhere else in Oriole Park at Camden Yards, he would've been just another proud father watching his son pitch in the big leagues.

But on this day Larry Haney was wearing two hats, and there was no mistaking which one fit the best. The ex-Orioles catcher (1966-68), in his 28th season in the big leagues as a player, coach and scout, had an anxious feeling as he settled into his seat to watch his son, Chris, pitch against his old team yesterday afternoon.

"I have two reasons to be rooting against the Orioles, and the biggest one is out there," he said, pointing to the pitching mound, where Chris was making his final preparation. "The other is that they [the Orioles] are in the same division we are."

After 13 years as a coach, Haney is in his second year as a special assignment scout for the Milwaukee Brewers.

It was only the second time the father had seen his son pitch in the big leagues. "I've seen him once at Double-A, twice at Triple-A and the first game he pitched for Kansas City [a 5-2 win over Texas last Aug. 31]," said Larry.

Chris, 24, was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the second round in 1990 and traded to the Royals last August. During his first two professional years, his father was on the Brewers' coaching staff. Last year, his father's scouting schedule provid- ed only one opportunity for a first-hand look.

"You want to come down and listen to my stomach churn?" Larry asked when a request was made to sit with him during yesterday's game.

After three innings, Chris hadn't allowed a hit and had retired seven straight hitters and nine of the last 10. In the fourth, Larry saw the worst -- and best -- of what his son had to offer.

A home run by Cal Ripken. "Fastball down and in, that's a pitch he can hit," noted Larry, unaware it was the first hit Chris had allowed ("I don't think about that until the seventh or eighth inning"). After a walk to Chris Hoiles and a single by Jeffrey Hammonds ("You can't pitch him up"), Larry revealed his professional side.

"He's getting into some counts that I don't like, 2-and-0, 3-and-1," he said. A single by Tim Hulett loaded the bases.

"He needs a ground ball here," Larry said. "You can't get away from what you're trying to do."

David Segui took a knee-high fastball for a third strike, the first out. "Now, he really needs a ground ball -- let's go, Chris."

Jeff Tackett swung and missed at a fastball up and out of the strike zone. "He's sneaky," said Larry. "If you get a guy to swing at that pitch, you can do more things down [in the strike zone]."

Tackett also struck out, missing a low fastball, and Harold Reynolds hit a soft pop to shortstop Greg Gagne for the third out. A big comeback for the son -- a big relief for the father.

One more inning and Chris was finished for the day -- after 91 pitches, three walks and six strikeouts.

The father/scout won't have to file a report on this game -- his

judgments are rendered over a full season. And if the Brewers had an interest in scouting Chris for trade purposes "I'm sure they'd want to send one of the other guys in to look at him."

But, if he had to render an opinion, based on what he had seen, Larry Haney would not have had a problem.

"I wasn't disappointed with his performance at all -- as a father, or as a scout," he said.

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