Braves' Jordan all set for the next homestand

Nl Notebook

MLB Week

Baseball

September 25, 2005

Like most professional athletes in the sunset of their careers, the Atlanta Braves' Brian Jordan thinks he might be able to squeeze one more season out of his battered body.

Unlike most ballplayers, though, he knows he doesn't have to. He has plenty of post-baseball plans to fall back on.

"[Baseball] is really my hobby right now," said Jordan, a Baltimore native and Milford Mill High graduate.

He is developing a real estate project in Atlanta, which includes the construction of more than 1,100 homes. That's just for starters.

Jordan, 38, is also a published children's author with his first book I Told You I Can Play, expected out this fall. It's an autobiographical piece about wanting to play pickup football as a kid with his older siblings and neighborhood friends. He was told he was too small, but he pestered until he eventually was given an opportunity.

"I got my chance, and I got crushed, I was almost crying, but I scored a touchdown," said Jordan, who played with the NFL's Atlanta Falcons for three seasons (1989-91). "All the other kids watching celebrated. Because this young kid, no one thought he could do it and he did it."

The outfielder has two more books on the way, including one about kids facing their fears, which focuses on the time he was hit in the face by a baseball in the Liberty Road Little League.

"One way to give back to the kids is through your language," he said. "Get kids to read children's books, hopefully get them inspired and help them learn."

While juggling his other responsibilities, Jordan is also in the middle of a pennant race with the Braves. Like much of his career, injuries have limited his effectiveness this season. Cartilage damage in his left knee likely will end his career - maybe in October.

But he knows there is life after sports.

Big-bucks decision

Arizona's Javier Vazquez (11-15, 4.57 ERA), who has had a roller-coaster year, must decide whether to stay with the Diamondbacks for the next two years for a total of $24 million.

He has the option to demand a trade in the 15 days after the World Series and, if he is not dealt by March 15, he can become a free agent. Given the dearth of starting pitching, the 29-year-old likely would command a big deal. But he'd be gambling with guaranteed money and banking on his health this winter and spring.

"In the offseason, I'll sit down with my family and decide what I want to do," he said.

Fast Albert

St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols' tremendous run production numbers are well-documented. But how about his wheels? The 6-foot-3, 225-pound first baseman has stolen 16 bases in 18 attempts entering Friday to lead the Cardinals in that category.

The last time a first baseman led the Cardinals in steals for a season was Gregg Jefferies in 1993.

Quick hits

Chicago's Mark Prior wants pitching coach Larry Rothschild back, but the Cubs' ERA is 10th in the NL. ... Jeff Bagwell will be on Houston's playoff roster, but his injured shoulder will limit him to pinch hitting. ... San Diego's Woody Williams (8-12, 5.07 ERA) gave up eight runs in one-plus inning Tuesday against Colorado. But it was his 25th start, triggering a $1 million incentive in his 2006 contract, which is now worth $5 million.

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