Dear Mr. Baseball:If the Orioles happen to win the...

MR. BASEBALL

July 21, 1994

Dear Mr. Baseball:

If the Orioles happen to win the American League pennant in 1994, Johnny Oates would be the AL All-Star team manager next year. But what if before the All-Star Game, he got fired and went to another team? Would he still be the manager, or would the new Orioles manager get the honor?

Tracey Borkowski

Baltimore

Dear Tracey Borkowski:

Your question sounds like the premise for an exciting made-for-TV movie. Casting suggestions: Dennis Weaver as manager Oates, Charles Durning as mercurial Orioles owner Peter Angelos and Valerie Bertinelli as the young peanut vendor who befriends them both.

As you point out, managers of the All-Star squads are picked months in advance, with the nod going to the skippers of the previous year's pennant winners. This explains why Toronto's Cito Gaston was at the helm for the AL last week, even though the Blue Jays are pretty dreadful this year.

The scenario you describe -- when a manager gets canned after winning a championship -- seems unlikely, but it has happened. In 1978, the Yankees won the AL pennant for manager Bob Lemon. In 1979, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner fired Lemon about 60 games into the season. In that case, Lemon ended up managing AL All-Stars anyway.

The general rule in such cases is that the league presidents can choose anyone to manage the team.

Dear Mr. Baseball

Why don't we see replays on the JumboTron?

Ed Jackson

Baltimore

Dear Ed Jackson:

You could blame it on the bossa nova. But in this case, the real culprit is the American League.

AL officials have pretty strict rules about what can be shown during games on ballpark video boards. As you may have guessed, replays of controversial plays are a definite no-no.

This rule may be frustrating for fans, particularly those who crave a second look at a disputed checked swing or close play. But you probably can see the league's point. Imagine 50,000 Orioles fans discovering that the runner called out at second was really safe. Imagine being that umpire.

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