You Can Teach an Old Ball New Tricks


You never know what will happen next in a Western Baseball League game.

Billy Brice of the Bend Bandits hit a home run over the left-field fence against the Long Beach Barracuda at Genna Stadium in Bend, Ore., but Barracuda left fielder Tony Scruggs found an old batting practice ball on the warning track and threw it back into the infield.

Before it could be checked, Barracuda pitcher Kurt Peltzer tossed it into the dugout, where a teammate flipped it into the stands. The umpires were fooled, believing the home run ball had stayed in play, and Brice had to settle for a double. It didn’t matter, because he scored later.

Add Barracuda: Peltzer, who threw a no-hitter against the Tri-City Posse earlier in the season, is also the media and public relations director for the Barracuda.


Trivia time: Where did the Dodgers and Angels play in their first seasons in Los Angeles?

Straight talk: From Phil Jackman of the Baltimore Sun:

“Doesn’t it give you a warm and fuzzy feeling knowing we now have Hakeem Olajuwon on our 1996 Olympic team making us a 1-to-40 bet to grab the gold medal? You know, there was a time when we welcomed competition.”

Counting heads: What’s the best bargain for your advertising dollar, the Super Bowl or the Academy Awards?

Advertising Age says that plugging your wares on Super Bowl Sunday is a better buy. The magazine stated that advertisers paid $21.96 to reach every 1,000 households during the most recent Oscars as opposed to $20.99 for the same number during the Super Bowl.

Excuses, excuses: CBS golf commentator Ben Wright looks with dismay on the ailments of touring professionals.

“There’s little doubt that Greg Norman made no showing in the British Open because of the state of his back,” Wright said. “Greg Norman--bad back. Freddy Couples--bad back. Loren Roberts--bad back. All these guys are telling us they have bad backs.

“Ben Hogan was smashed to pieces in his terrible accident, but the greatest number of his career triumphs came after his accident. So, a sore back doesn’t cut it with me. You have to play hurt.”

Looking back: On this day in 1982, the Dodgers beat the Cubs, 2-1, completing a 21-inning game in Chicago that is the Dodgers’ second-longest game since coming to Los Angeles.


Cultural change: Troy Neel, a designated hitter who played three years with the Oakland Athletics before moving to the Orix Blue Wave in Japan this season, sent a fax to his old teammates last week.

“I’m sick of sushi and forkballs,” it said.

Power alley: Tim Belcher, the former Dodger pitcher now with the Seattle Mariners, is impressed by the Cleveland Indians.

“When we played in Cleveland, they batted Dave Winfield eighth,” Belcher told Jerry Crasnick of the Denver Post. “He hit a home run off me and I hollered at him the next day in batting practice. I said, ‘Maybe they’ll move you up a spot.’ How many times do you see a future Hall of Famer batting eighth?”

Trivia answer: The Dodgers, in 1958, in the Coliseum. The Angels, in 1961, in Wrigley Field, the old Pacific Coast League park.

Quotebook: Greg Zaun, rookie catcher for the Baltimore Orioles, on life in the major leagues: “When I first made the roster, I wanted to get a big league travel bag and a big league-looking girlfriend. I got the travel bag.”