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BASEBALL PLAYOFFS : American League Notebook : Canseco: Greenwell Did Well, Wall or No

Times Staff Writers

A good many eyes were trained on a pregame conversation in left field between Jose Canseco and Mike Greenwell, American League MVP front-runners and principals in the latest budding Oakland-Boston controversy, now that Dave Stewart vs. Roger Clemens has died down.

During the waning days of the regular season, Canseco was quoted in several publications, basically calling Greenwell unworthy of the MVP award because he played in “a bandbox” and didn’t even hit 30 home runs and that anyone who played 81 games a year in Fenway Park didn’t deserve Canseco’s respect.

Greenwell said Canseco’s comments were the topic of the discussion, with Canseco denying them.

“He said he didn’t say that, and I believe him,” Greenwell said. “That didn’t sound like something he’d say. We’re friends. I respect him and I respect how he plays.

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“He told me he was referring to the (left-field) wall and how it’s easier to hit here. Well, anyone who’s ever played here knows that Fenway has the biggest right-field (area) in baseball.”

And that, Greenwell suggested, is bad news for left-handed hitters.

Greenwell is a left-handed hitter. This season, he batted .325 with 192 hits, 39 doubles, 22 home runs and 119 runs batted in.

No one is original anymore.

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On the corner of Boylston and Yawkey Way, across the street from Fenway Park, a liquor store is selling Boston Red Sox “Homer Hankies,” an idea stolen from the Minnesota Twins fans who waved them with such pride and fervor during 1987 postseason games at the Metrodome.

Boston Manager Joe Morgan has been in professional baseball for 36 years and he has labored in relative anonymity most of that time. But since becoming the Red Sox manager July 14, that’s changed.

An incident Thursday morning in his hometown of Walpole, about 20 miles outside of Boston, made Morgan realize he’s no longer just another face in the crowd.

“I was driving down the street with my son, Billy, and we saw a guy walking down the road whose car had run out of gas,” Morgan said. “It was the first time I’ve picked up a hitch-hiker in 30 years, but the guy looked legit and I had my son (age 24) with me.

“We took him to the gas station and then back to his car. I said, ‘See ya later.’ And he said, ‘OK, Joe, and beat ‘em tonight.’

“It surprised me because we hadn’t mentioned the Red Sox the whole time.”

Que Sera, Sera Dept.: Wade Boggs came up with 8 men on base Wednesday and left 7 of them stranded, but he wasn’t particularly disturbed about it Thursday.

“Hey, today’s a new day,” he said after taking a few swings in the batting cage. “That’s the great thing about this game. One day your a goat and maybe the next day you’re a hero. Wade Boggs was a goat yesterday. Tonight? . . . “

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For the record, Boggs was 0 for 3 in Game 2.

Right-hander Mike Boddicker, who was traded by Baltimore to Boston July 29, was asked about the Orioles’ 21-game season-opening losing streak.

“That was really incredible,” said Boddicker, who will start Game 3 Saturday night in Oakland. “Think about it. You could go out there and try to lose 21 straight games and you’re bound to win 1 by accident. We went out trying to win every game and lost them all.

“It seems like it happened years ago. I remember very little of it except that there was a lot of media. I pitched the game that broke the streak, and all I remember is that somebody stole my jacket after the game.”


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