On and off field, night to savor for Weiss Recently ill son watches Brave get two hits, RBI

July 08, 1998|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Peter Schmuck contributed to this article.

DENVER -- As if having his 3-year-old son in the stands, smiling and clapping, wasn't enough to fill Atlanta shortstop Walt Weiss with unspeakable joy, he added another poignant scene to the All-Star Game by singling twice for the National League and driving in a run in the fourth inning.

"It'll probably take a while to be able to sit back and reflect," he said. "It was special having him here. It was beyond expectations. We didn't think he'd be able to get here."

Brody Weiss had been lying near death in a hospital bed two weeks ago with an E. coli bacteria infection. Colorado Rockies owner Jerry McMorris flew Weiss' family to the game in his private jet, and Brody sat on his mother's lap for the game.

"My focus for the most part has been far removed from baseball and the All-Star Game," said Weiss, appearing in his first midsummer classic. "It looks like it's going to be a happy ending. My boy is going to be fine."

And so, too, is Walt Weiss.

Teammates, not friends

Being an All-Star hasn't put Los Angeles outfielder Gary Sheffield in a forgiving mood. Not even close.

Sheffield still is upset over an incident at home plate two weeks ago with Pittsburgh catcher Jason Kendall. The players exchanged heated words after a hard tag by Kendall precipitated a bench-clearing brawl in Los Angeles, and Sheffield has been reminded of it since arriving in Denver as a National League reserve.

"He's the enemy," said Sheffield, who along with Kendall drew a three-game suspension. "I wouldn't walk across the clubhouse to shake his hand."

Kendall can live with that. He's too busy enjoying his second All-Star selection to bother with Sheffield or any lingering resentment.

"In my mind it's over and done with. If it isn't in his mind, I can't change it," said Kendall, who added to his enjoyment with a pinch hit in the ninth.

Palmeiro a Rockie?

A New York columnist spoke with Rafael Palmeiro about the possibility of playing for the Mets, one of the teams having interest in the Orioles first baseman. Palmeiro's oldest son, Patrick, offered his own opinion between bites of an ice cream cone.

"I don't want to go to New York. I want to come here. They have a good stadium," he said.

Patrick sat on the field Monday while Palmeiro took his swings in the home run derby. Asked how many homers his father could hit at Coors Field, Patrick said, "88."

"Come on, man, that's too many," Palmeiro said.

All-Star fitting room

Reliever Jeff Shaw got a special delivery in the NL clubhouse -- his Dodgers uniform.

Shaw was traded by Cincinnati after being chosen for the NL squad for the first time.

"It got here today and everything fits good," he said. "I put it on and everybody goes, 'Ooh, you look good in blue and white.'

"I've heard this is a first. Usually you get traded after the All-Star break, not before. The shock still hasn't worn off, but I'm approaching it with an open mind."

Shaw, whose 65 saves over the past two seasons are the second-most behind Randy Myers' 68, celebrated his 32nd birthday yesterday. "My wife asked if she could get me anything and I said, 'Nope, this is enough right here.' "

Hargrove savors moment

This was Mike Hargrove's second time managing the AL All-Stars, the other chance coming in 1996. Unsure if he'll get another opportunity, he was savoring every moment of it.

"You don't know when you're going to be back at this -- if you ever will be back. You enjoy every little bit," he said.

"The first time around it's kind of a blur. The first time I managed anything, it was a little hectic. This time I know what to expect. I'm enjoying it a lot more."

Camden compliment

Interim commissioner Bud Selig acknowledged the important role that Camden Yards has played in the economic renewal of Major League Baseball.

"I think what people haven't understood is that Camden Yards may have been the single most important change in the economics of sports," Selig said.

Balance of Yankees power

Hargrove said he wasn't surprised that no Yankees were voted to the starting lineup despite the club having the best record in baseball. But he didn't look at it as a slight.

"I think it's a big compliment in how well-rounded and well-balanced their team is," he said.

New York's David Wells, last night's American League starting pitcher, referred to the Yankees as "a big family."

"Certainly we don't have any 25-, 30-home run guys. We're doing it fundamentally. It's not just one guy," he said.

Time of game update

Selig said that baseball has made progress in its attempt to reduce the average time of games, but insists that more must be done to improve the pace of play.

"That has become a fetish with me," Selig said. "Not so much speed, but pace. We're down to 2: 41 for the National League and 2: 53 for the American League. We've clearly made progress, but we need to pick up the pace. We need to get under 2: 40 in the NL and under 2: 50 in the AL."

Around the horn

Jim Thome was the third Cleveland first baseman to start an All-Star Game, joining Vic Wertz in 1957 and Al Rosen in 1954. Tampa Bay pitcher Rolando Arrojo and Oakland outfielder Ben Grieve were the only rookies. Grieve was the first rookie outfielder on the AL team since Oakland's Jose Canseco in 1986. This is the sixth time Roberto and Sandy Alomar were named All-Stars in the same season, tying Joe and Dom DiMaggio's record. Alex Rodriguez's home run was the first by an AL shortstop since Cal Ripken in 1991. Tom Glavine's bases-loaded walk to Ken Griffey in the fourth inning was the first in an All-Star Game since Ron Guidry walked Lee Mazzilli to force in Joe Morgan in 1979. Country music singer Faith Hill performed the national anthem. Actress Gloria Reuben sang the Canadian anthem.

Pub Date: 7/08/98

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