McDonald to wet line, reluctantly

August 12, 1994|By Lori Van Lonkhuyzen | Lori Van Lonkhuyzen,Sun Staff Writer

There are few things Ben McDonald enjoys more than spending lazy afternoons on his boat, relaxing, fishing and just enjoying the scenery on his lake in Mississippi.

That's what he's going to be doing a lot of in the days, weeks and possibly months to come during the baseball strike of 1994.

But he won't be enjoying it as much as he usually does because he'd rather be doing something else.

"I'm going to go out on my land in Mississippi, do a bit of fishing on the lake, look at some wildlife," McDonald said. "I'll do stuff I haven't been able to do since I've been playing baseball. But I'll be wishing I was playing baseball."

McDonald, like many other players, is having a career year that is likely to never fully evolve, thanks to the strike.

He has a 14-7 record thus far, one win more than each of his past two seasons and a career high. After starting off with seven straight wins, he struggled to a 10-6 record at the All-Star break. Since then, he is 4-1.

And since June 27, when it topped off at nearly 5.00, his ERA has spiraled downward almost as fast as one of his "Big Nasty"

curveballs, from 4.92 to 4.06.

However, he said, as fun as the padding of career numbers might be, the situation is beyond his control.

"There's nothing you can really do about it," said McDonald, who has given up three or fewer earned runs in six of his past eight starts. "I'm happy with how I'm doing so far. I have a career high in wins and it's only Aug. 11th. But there will be other years, hopefully."

But McDonald was quick to point out he doesn't believe the season is doomed. "If there is a strike, I don't think it's going to be long," he said. "That's my opinion, I think it will be just a week and we'll be back playing."

In the meantime -- besides threatening the fish population -- McDonald, who lives in Denham Springs, La., when he isn't at his Mississippi property, will work out at his alma mater Louisiana State University and keep in shape should the season resume.

"I'm going to go home, I know I can work out there and stay close to pitching shape," McDonald said. "I'll stay with basically the same routine I've been in. Maybe I'll throw at some batters at school."

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