A Seventh-Inning Stretch Might Be Appropriate

An actor's life is not a picnic, according to former major leaguer John Kruk.

He thought he'd enjoy performing in the movie, "The Fan," which features Robert DeNiro and is due to be released in August. But Kruk found it tedious, with long stretches of inactivity broken up by occasional action.

Kind of like a baseball game?

"I don't know why I did the movie," Kruk said. "Hollywood [stinks]."

Kruk said he was bored and couldn't fathom why it took so long between takes. "I sit around for hours on end and have nothing to do until they're ready for me to hit a homer or strike out," he said. "I can't figure out what they do with all that time."


Add Kruk: He didn't think much of director Tony Scott's managerial skills.

"This guy has to get the best shot possible," Kruk said. "I like the guy and all, but he would have me sitting for 14 straight hours, call me at the hotel at 3 a.m. and expect me to knock one out of the park. . . . Not even Babe Ruth can do that."


Trivia time: Who holds the all-time International League record for victories by a pitcher?


Special roles: Cameo appearances by Takuro Abe, Shigemasa "Judge" Ito and Takahiro "Tank" Ikenoue in an exhibition Sunday were part of the NFL's efforts to promote football in Japan.

For the annual NFL American Bowl, in which the San Diego Chargers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 20-10, Abe and Ito joined the Steelers on a few special-team plays, and Ikenoue suited up with the Chargers and played a little defense before 40,163 at the Tokyo Dome.

"I want to keep the helmet with me [as a souvenir], though they asked me to return the duffel bag," Abe said.

All three played in Europe this spring in the World League of American Football, though the exhibition is as close to the NFL as they'll get.


Ringing endorsement: New York Met pitcher Mark Clark, a former Cleveland Indian, had nothing but praise for Carlos Baerga, whom the Mets acquired in a trade with the Indians on Monday. "Carlos was the man over there. Hopefully, he'll come here and bring some leadership into the clubhouse," Clark said. "He's different from Albert [Belle] and those guys. He talks; he's friendly."


Man in blue: Harry Wendelstedt, a veteran of 31 years as a National League umpire, believes something should be done to reduce the time it takes to play a game.

In the August issue of Referee magazine he suggested enforcing an existing but much-ignored rule that says that with the bases empty, if a pitcher does not deliver a pitch within 20 seconds a ball can be called.

"Put the time on the scoreboard and let the fans count the seconds," Wendelstedt said.


Trivia answer: Tom Lasorda, with 125 victories for the Montreal Royals.


And finally: According to Newsday's John Jeansonne, journalists from Norway and Denmark have set up their own Olympic croquet competition in the press center, using soft-drink cans and bottles spread on a green carpet greensward. For their gold-medal match, they promise to wear long white trousers and straw hats. Wonder if NBC will assign John Tesh to that.

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