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It Isn’t Going to Matter If Label Is Up or Down

Remember the brand of bat Rickey Henderson used during the World Series? It was hard to miss the oversized Louisville Slugger logo. But that might be the last time you see it, or any other bat label, in a major league game.

In response to such attempts by bat manufacturers to advertise their products, no labels would be permitted on bats in major league games next season under a ruling by Major League Baseball Properties last week.

Said Rick White, president of Major League Baseball Properties: “The billboarding has become too much. It got out of hand during the World Series.”

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Said John Hillerich of Hillerich and Bradsby, manufacturer of Louisville Slugger: “Of course, we make sure the logos get seen in the All-Star Game and World Series. In hindsight, maybe we shouldn’t have done that.”

It might not be strike three for the bat makers, however. White said his ruling is not final, adding that baseball’s Playing Rules Committee is reviewing all commercial identification on playing equipment. Meanwhile, several teams are holding off ordering their spring-training bats--and probably trying to decide how a label-less bat should be held.

Trivia time: The Tennessee and Kentucky football teams play for the Beer Barrel. What teams play for the Shot Glass?

Gone is my co-pilot: Rally race driving teams usually are as precisely tuned as their car’s engine. Not so the team of Jose Lareppe and three-time Belgian champion Leon Lejeune.

Saturday night, on the eve of the Lombard RAC Rally near Telford, England, Lejeune took off with the team’s motorhome and checked into a luxury hotel near Nottingham. Lareppe was left to spend the night in the team’s Mazda 323 rally car.

Lejeune then showed up late for the rally, and the team was disqualified. There was no word about possible disciplinary action against Lejeune.

Cozy approach: The Xavier University sports information department has begun the basketball season with a simple but tasteful publicity campaign. The campaign consists of a plain white tea bag. On one side of the tag it says, “It’s T Time;” on the other, “Xavier’s Tyrone Hill for All-American.”

Add Xavier: Musketeer Coach Pete Gillen, on losing to eventual champions Michigan and Kansas in first-round NCAA tournament games the last two years: “We’re known as the hors d’oeuvres of the NCAA tournament.”

Try warm milk: Notre Dame Coach Lou Holtz on the Irish’s 23-game winning streak: “This hasn’t been a fun time. I have difficulty sleeping at the present time over the winning and the pressure that builds with this thing.”

Trivia answer: Rensselaer Poly Institute and the Coast Guard.

Quotebook: Quebec Coach Michel Bergeron, after the Pittsburgh Penguins used Mario Lemieux and Paul Coffey as point men on a power play late in an 8-2 victory over the Nordiques: “That’s like a squeeze play when you’re nine runs ahead in the ninth inning.”


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