Bobblehead lets Weaver stand tall with Palmer

August 22, 2004|By PETER SCHMUCK

EVEN THOUGH Jim Palmer and Earl Weaver both gave their blessing to the dual bobblehead doll that the Orioles will hand out today, don't mistake that for some kind of public reconciliation between Baltimore's favorite internecine rivals.

"The last time I talked to Earl, he told me, `There's still time to call this thing off,'" Palmer said. "I said Earl, you're taller than you've ever been in relation to me, so you'll love it."

True enough, the funny, face-to-face bobblehead isn't exactly to scale. Palmer towered over Weaver when they stood on the mound together, and he used to stand right at the top of the mound to accentuate the dramatic difference in their heights.

"To make it realistic, I've got to be much taller," Palmer said, "and I'm not."

Obviously, the 6-foot-3 right-hander still likes to get under the skin of his 5-7 manager. Sure, it's mostly schtick - except for that one nasty banquet a couple of years ago - but it never stops being fun.

Palmer claims that the only reason he approved the bobblehead was because he was sure that Weaver wouldn't, and vice versa. That's the same kind of odd synergy that made the two of them such a successful team when Palmer was pitching and Weaver was yelling at him about it.

Weaver, who was at Oriole Park yesterday to see Brady Anderson inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame, said that both he and Palmer probably would have preferred to have their own bobbleheads - "for our egos" - but conceded that the two-headed promotional item would probably be more popular with fans.

"I hope they fill the place up tomorrow," Weaver said, well aware that he was within earshot of Mike Flanagan. "If they do, maybe they can buy another pitcher."

Anderson had a confession to make during his speech at the luncheon in his honor Friday afternoon.

"I was terrified of facing Randy Johnson more than any other pitcher in baseball," Anderson said. "I used to check the pitching matchups four or five days before the Mariners came into town to see if he was going to pitch against us. But I didn't have to do that after Rafael Palmeiro arrived in town, because he would figure that out months in advance."

Congratulations also to longtime Orioles umpires attendant Ernie Tyler, who was honored alongside Anderson in yesterday's Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Camden Yards.

Anderson may have brought out the early crowd, but Tyler had the biggest group of loved ones at the ceremony, what with an extended family that includes 11 children and dozens of grandchildren. If the Orioles had charged them all admission, they could have announced a sellout.

I'm thinking of having a regular section here called "Eating Crow," which, I just found out, is allowed on the Atkins Diet.

The Orioles drew something like 4,000 people to Wednesday's D.C. FanFest, which had club officials cackling at me about a couple of snide references to the event over the past week or two.

There clearly are a lot of people in D.C. who like the Orioles, either that or a lot of Baltimore fans rushed down there figuring the autograph lines would be shorter.

In an unrelated crow-eating development, Terrell Owens is one up on the Ravens after streaking 81 yards with a Donovan McNabb pass on the Eagles' first offensive play Friday night.

Somewhere, Chris McAlister was nodding like an Earl Weaver bobblehead while T.O. jogged into the end zone.

McAlister and - maybe - Deion Sanders will be in the defensive backfield when the Eagles and Ravens meet again Oct. 31, but Sanders wouldn't have been a factor last night because he is expected to play only in third-down situations.

Final thought: Just read the 1791 Pittsfield, Mass., document that is believed to include the earliest American reference to baseball. Since I was skeptical, I called Vince Bagli and he told me that he remembers playing rounders on Pratt Street in the mid-1770s.

Contact Peter Schmuck at peter.schmuck@baltsun.com.

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