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Baseball Team Takes a New Type of Walk

So much for the minor leagues being a bastion of baseball purity.

The 14 members of the Mason City Bats of Iowa quit Friday because of poor conditions such as the team bus being too small and bad motel accommodations. Players and team officials were also concerned about growing debts, insurance, and communication with the league office in Minneapolis.

“I saw some problems developing that I thought we needed some answers to, because we live here,” said John Skipper, now the former general manager. “We know these people, and I didn’t want to see it get any worse. We just felt like we had to do something. I just never thought it would get to this point, but it did.”

The Bats were members of the Great Central League. The four-team league is professional, but its teams are not aligned with major league franchises.

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Trivia time: In the 1984 NBA draft, the Chicago Bulls selected two athletes now considered among the most successful in sports history. One was Michael Jordan. Who was the other?

Tarnished Silver: How bad are things for the Colorado Silver Bullets, an all-woman professional baseball team?

On Sunday, the Billings Mustangs defeated the Silver Bullets, 14-1, despite having their manager, Donnie Scott, pitch the first three innings, and using assistant general manager Gary Roller and trainer Billy Maxwell in relief.

The Silver Bullets, who started play this year and are 5-36, managed four hits against the Mustangs, who play in the rookie Pioneer League.

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Snap judgment: That’s Rodney Peete, Erik Kramer and Andre Ware taking the knives out of their backs as Detroit Lion players quickly throw their support behind Scott Mitchell as the starting quarterback. After two exhibition games, he is already the new Lion king, the $11 million free-agent signee making an impact in areas you can’t put a price tag on.

“I don’t want to get too excited,” veteran tackle Lomas Brown told the Detroit News, “but the way Scott handled himself--whew. It was like a circus act here the last few years, and now it’s stable.”

Said receiver Herman Moore: “When some linebacker is about to knock his head off, he steps up in the pocket and keeps looking for somebody. In the past, when quarterbacks felt the heat, they abandoned the play. Scott isn’t afraid. He doesn’t panic.”

Bark, but no bite: From Tim Povtak of the Orlando Sentinel: “Is anyone really surprised that the eight-week rehabilitation prescribed, instead of surgery, for the bad back of Charles Barkley ended after four days? Barkley, who would make a great comic-book character, decided he wanted to play golf instead, which is typical of his off-season workouts of the past. It’s one reason why his career may end prematurely. He talks a great game, but the commitment just isn’t there anymore.”

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Trivia answer: Carl Lewis. The Bulls took him in the 10th round.

Quotebook: Bill Madden of the New York Daily News: “If there were a commissioner to impose punishment--which, of course, there isn’t--the baseball owners should be suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the game. What they are doing in forcing a shutdown of the game is far worse than anything Pete Rose ever did to it.”


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