Boo Birds Greet Alomar in His Return
It will take more than boos and a badly sprained ankle to keep the Baltimore Orioles’ Roberto Alomar off the field.
The Orioles lost, 6-5, to the Royals at Kansas City Monday in his first game back from a five-game suspension for spitting on umpire John Hirschbeck last season, but Alomar was just happy to be playing again.
“It was nice to be out there,” said Alomar after getting two hits, scoring a run and making a fine defensive play. “It was good to be with the guys. I’m glad I’m coming back to play the game that I love. It was a lot of fun. It was a big step for me.”
Alomar’s, whose spitting incident has been seen by millions, was booed at every plate appearance and in pregame introductions. The sellout crowd of 40,052 cheered politely for the All-Star second baseman for his nice play on a bad-hop grounder in the second inning.
“The fans, they’re entitled to their opinion,” he said. “I’ll just leave it at that. I just want to go out there and play my game. That’s all I can say about it.”
The fans had cause to cheer when Jay Bell and Jeff King, the two players the Royals brought in from Pittsburgh to juice up the Kansas City offense, combined to produce the winning run.
Milwaukee 5, Texas 3--Mike Matheny hit a grand slam and the Brewers beat the Rangers in their home opener in front of 42,893 fans, many of whom littered the field with giveaway baseballs, causing three delays and threatening the first forfeit in the club’s 28-year history.
The Brewers, who begin a three-day “Spring Madness” promotion on Wednesday in which bleacher seats cost but $1, were nearly done in by their fans on Monday.
Although nobody was injured, the game was delayed three times, and Texas manager Johnny Oates played the game under protest. He pulled his players off the field twice in the second inning, with the delays lasting 14 and 16 minutes.
“I wasn’t just concerned about the players,” Oates said. “I was concerned about the kids in the lower deck. I didn’t want anybody to get hurt.”
Acting commissioner Bud Selig and the two league offices later in the day sent out directives to teams with similar promotions to not give out balls before the game.
True Value hardware sponsored a ball giveaway promotions for the home openers at 19 of 28 major league parks. Seven teams were supposed to hand out balls later this week--St. Louis today, followed by Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and the New York Yankees on Friday and the New York Mets on Saturday.
It was not immediately known whether fans would be given balls as they exited parks or get redeemable certificates for them.
Detroit 10, Minnesota 4--The Tigers, who ended last season with a team-record 17 consecutive home losses, won on a chilly, windy day at Detroit.
Brian Johnson hit a three-run homer as the Tigers, swept in a three-game series at Minnesota to start the season, won at home for the first time since Aug. 30.
Oakland 6, Boston 2--Mark McGwire and Jason Giambi each hit two-run homers, and Athletic pitchers had 12 strikeouts at Oakland.
Giambi’s second homer of the season, off Boston starter Tom Gordon (0-1), broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning. The A’s have scored the winning run in the seventh or eighth inning in each of their four victories this season.
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BESTS OF THE DAY
Player Team Performance Team’s Result Mike Matheny Milwaukee 1 for 3, grand slam Win Sandy Alomar Cleveland 2 for 4, home run, 3 RBIs Win Derek Jeter New York 3 hits, 13 for 18 after Win 0 for 8 start
Player Team Performance Team’s Result Charles Nagy Cleveland 6 2/3 innings, 1 run, Win 8 strikeouts Billy Taylor Oakland records 4th save Win Cal Eldred Milwaukee 5 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs Win