Oates: Gaston Manager of Year Says Jays boss held team together

Orioles notebook

October 01, 1993|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

To Johnny Oates' way of thinking, the choice for American League Manager of the Year is a no-brainer.

"In my mind, [Toronto manager] Cito [Gaston] is the Manager of the Year. It may not be the most popular vote in Baltimore right now, but I think you judge a manager on what he does for his ballclub," said Oates.

Gaston, who has managed the Blue Jays to last season's World Series title and into the playoffs three other times since taking over in midseason 1989, is not widely considered a favorite for this year's award.

But Oates says Gaston has done some of his best managerial work this season, in guiding the Blue Jays past the New York Yankees and the Orioles into next week's American League Championship Series.

"To hold that bunch together and all those different personalities was really something," said Oates. "People say, 'He should win it with all that talent.' Well, he kept them afloat and kept them going. If he doesn't win it this year, I don't know when."

Oates said he bore no grudges against Gaston for the flap that ensued after the Toronto manager elected not to use pitcher Mike Mussina in this year's All-Star Game.

In fact, Oates, who briefly played with Gaston when both were members of the 1975 Atlanta Braves, said he tried to call Gaston's office three times yesterday, but got no answer.

"Cito has always been nice to me," said Oates. "I mean, we've never been out to dinner together, but he's always been friendly to me."

Devereaux shut down?

Center fielder Mike Devereaux, who missed the previous five games with an ailing right heel, returned to the lineup last night but left the game in the fifth inning when the injury flared up.

Devereaux's heel has been sore for some time, but that problem and the corrective measures he took to alleviate it, brought on soreness in muscles in his back.

Oates said Devereaux likely would not play in the final three games of the season.

Meanwhile, right fielder Mark McLemore said he should be ready to return to the lineup tonight, after missing the past four games with a sore wrist, which he hurt sliding Sunday against the Detroit Tigers.

Salute to Flanagan

The Orioles paid tribute to left-hander Mike Flanagan in a 30-minute ceremony before last night's game.

Joining Flanagan were his parents, his former Little League and college baseball coaches, former teammates Elrod Hendricks, Jim Palmer, Scott McGregor and Rich Dauer, and two of his daughters, Kerry and Kathryn.

In brief remarks, Flanagan thanked a number of his teammates and people who influenced him, saying "It's not the game that I miss so much, but the people. . . . Thank God for little girls."

Rally around the flag, boys

During batting practice, Oates noticed a faux pas in the flag court above the left-field bullpen.

It seems that the flag of the United States was flying on the center flagpole, which rises higher than the two flagpoles that flank it, with the Canadian flag on the left and the Maryland flag on the right.

Protocol, however, holds that the flags of nations fly at the same height.

Oates took note and the U.S. flag was put on the right flagpole, and the Maryland flag was taken down.

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