Something smells fishy about Marlins' stories After taking bait on Brown, media feels reeled in

NLCS notebook

October 14, 1997|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

ATLANTA -- The Fish Stories are piling up.

The Florida Marlins have made misinformation an art form -- intentionally or not -- during this National League Championship Series, and yesterday they threw another curve.

Manager Jim Leyland said yesterday that ailing pitcher Kevin Brown, who is scheduled to start a potential clinching Game 6 tonight, traveled with the team from Florida after Sunday's game.

But Brown showed up on a morning flight from Fort Lauderdale to Atlanta yesterday with numerous members of the media covering the series.

Later, a Marlins spokesman retracted Leyland's assertion that Brown was on the team plane and said the manager and general manager Dave Dombrowski didn't know he had stayed home overnight.

That misunderstanding followed an errant story after Game 1 that Moises Alou had a "jammed hamstring" when the injury really was to his wrist and the error regarding Brown's whereabouts when he first contracted the virus.

The Marlins first stated that Brown was at Pro Player Stadium on Friday when, indeed, he remained home all day.

A skeptical media corps is now wondering whether Brown is really going to pitch tonight.

"Yes, he is," Dombrowski said. "I just saw him. He feels fine. He's ready to go. He looks like he's his regular ornery self as far as being able to go out there and pitch."

Brown 'ornery'

Brown, indeed, appeared yesterday and was his ornery self.

He said he feels fine, has gotten better each day and will pitch "unless lightning strikes me."

Of course, he had said he would start Game 5 unless somebody shot him. "Do you want to see the bullet wounds?" was his reply to that question.

Livan Hernandez substituted in the fifth game and pitched a 15-strikeout, 2-1 gem of a victory, an outing that Brown described as "spectacular."

Catcher Charles Johnson said Brown is "very intense, into every pitch and focused. He keeps us on our toes and aware on defense."

Bonilla breaks out

Ex-Oriole Bobby Bonilla had made little impact on the series, partially because, like Brown, he was experiencing chills and fever.

Bonilla was removed from Friday night's game because of the condition, then Sunday he went 3-for-3 and had a hand in both Marlins runs.

"I never really had a successful Championship Series, and this one wasn't going too well either," Bonilla said. "So many people were bringing it to my attention, I figured something had to go my way."

Bonilla said he felt better Sunday after a good night's sleep.

"I was struggling there for a bit when I came back from Atlanta. I wasn't able to shake whatever was going on."

Around the horn

Dombrowski said he feels good about the Marlins' season, but "I don't think you're ever satisfied until you win a World Series." Atlanta general manger John Schuerholz said he would characterize the series as "frustrating in that we have not played as crisply as we did all season long."

Looking ahead

Potential pitching matchups for the Marlins-Braves series:

Gm. 6, at Atlanta, 8: 07 p.m. today

Atl.: Tom Glavine (1-0, 1.17)

Fla.: Kevin Brown (1-0, 4.50)

Gm. 7, at Atl., 8: 07 p.m. tomorrow

Atl.: John Smoltz (0-1, 7.50)

Fla.: Tony Saunders (0-0, 3.38)

Note: All stats for NLCS

Pub Date: 10/14/97

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