It has been a tough postseason for baseball mascots. During the Seattle-New York division series, the roller-blading Mariner Moose broke an ankle when he crashed into the Kingdome fence while being pulled by an all-terrain vehicle.
On Saturday night, Cleveland's hairy, purple-colored blob of a mascot known as "Slider" fell off the top of the right-field fence and tore both the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee . . . as Indian second baseman Carlos Baerga singled to left field in the fifth inning.
Seattle left fielder Vince Coleman fielded the ball as Slider limped into the Cleveland bullpen in right-center field. NBC, showing no shame, conducted an exclusive interview with Slider, who has now been quoted more than Indian designated hitter Eddie Murray this season.
Piniella said reliever Norm Charlton, who pitched in six of the Mariners' first eight postseason games before Saturday, is high on his list of mentally tough pitchers he has coached or played with, a group that is topped by former Yankees Ron Guidry, Sparky Lyle and Goose Gossage.
How tough is Charlton? When the left-hander was with the Philadelphia Phillies this season, he was hit in the face by a Steve Finley liner on May 27, suffering a black eye and a cut that required stitches.
"But I was ready to pitch the next day," said Charlton, who saved Game 1 and won Game 3 for the Mariners. "It probably kept me off the cover of GQ Magazine, and I had a headache for a while, but I could play."