Spike Lee casts focused eye on Jordan

March 24, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

SARASOTA, FLA — SARASOTA, Fla. -- Film director Spike Lee, pressed against the chain link fence yesterday at a White Sox minor-league diamond, chatted with the right fielder between pitches.

"You see your team play last night?" shouted Lee, who was wearing a John Starks New York Knicks jersey.

"I ain't even playing," Michael Jordan answered. "Why would I watch it?"

Lee: "They only had 78."

Jordan: "They could have used my 32, or 54, depending on the night."

Lee: "They didn't even have Starks, he's out until the playoffs."

Jordan: "Make that 64."

Make that another 0-fer at the plate for the world's most gifted basketball player. Playing for the Double-A Birmingham Barons against a Pittsburgh affiliate, Jordan went 0-for-4, was charged with an error and struck out twice.

Worse yet, a football player struck out Jordan. Canadian Football League quarterback Damon Allen of the Edmonton Eskimos retired Jordan on a swinging strike.

Allen, 30, former CFL Player of the Year and Grey Cup MVP, is attempting a dual career. He pitched for the Double-A Carolina Mudcats.

"I didn't even know it was him until I sat down after he struck me out," Jordan said of Allen, whose more famous brother Marcus plays for the Kansas City Chiefs. "I told him to follow your dreams and do whatever it is you want to do and don't let anybody talk you out of it."

Last night's major-league exhibition game between the White Sox and Orioles was an advance sellout in part because of Jordan's anticipated appearance, but the game Jordan played in was witnessed by fewer than 100 spectators.

Only a half-dozen reporters -- plus Lee snapping photos with a disposable cardboard camera -- circled Jordan's locker after the game.

"That's OK, I don't mind," Jordan said.

Jordan did not appear surprised at the news Magic Johnson was named to coach the Los Angeles Lakers.

"Coaching is something Magic has always wanted to do," Jordan said. "He was a coach on the basketball court anyway as a point guard."

Pitching on the mend

Orioles starting pitchers had a 2.99 ERA in the seven games before Moyer's outing last night.

Medical update

Sid Fernandez (bursitis) will be re-evaluated Sunday in St. Petersburg by team orthopedist Dr. Michael Jacobs. If cleared, Fernandez could begin light throwing Monday. Thus far, Fernandez has been restricted to strengthing exercises for his shoulder. . . . Brady Anderson (back stiffness) returned to the lineup after a four-day absence. . . . The Orioles placed Paul Carey (non-displaced fracture of his left forearm) on the 60-day emergency disabled list.

Blue Jays on deck

Arthur Rhodes (1-0, 4.40) opposes Toronto left-hander Al Leiter today at Al Lang Stadium in the third of four spring games between the Orioles and the defending World Series champion Blue Jays.

The Jays will be without Joe Carter (broken thumb) for up to eight weeks.

Mike Mussina will start for the Orioles tomorrow, when Minnesota visits Al Lang Stadium.

ORIOLES TODAY

Opponent: Toronto Blue Jays

Site: St. Petersburg, Fla.

Time: 1:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: None

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