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Batter Up, It’s Time for Some Baseball

“People will come, Ray.

” . . . They’ll walk out to the bleachers and sit in shirt sleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes, and they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they had dipped themselves in magic water. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces.

“People will come, Ray.

“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

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“This field, this game, it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again.

“Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.”

--James Earl Jones, “Field of Dreams”

Screenplay: Phil Alden Robinson.

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“What are we in baseball if not programming and software for media companies?”

--Eddie Einhorn, Chicago White Sox vice-chairman,

in a 1998 interview

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NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Winner: Atlanta.

Andres Galarraga was a good addition for the Braves. . . .

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If he can hit outside Coors Field. . . .

Tom Lasorda is right about Bobby Valentine if the Mets can survive the loss of Todd Hundley for half a season. . . .

As for me, I’ll take Felipe Alou. . . .

But I’m tired of seeing him have to work with a team that doesn’t have Albuquerque’s talent. . . .

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Or payroll. . . .

No way could Wayne Huizenga have broken up the Marlins if baseball had a real commissioner. . . .

Like Bowie Kuhn.

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NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

Winner: St. Louis.

Tony La Russa isn’t making any guarantees this season. . . .

Even though Mark McGwire will hit 60 home runs. . . .

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Shouldn’t he be an Angel? . . .

Goodbye, Harry Caray. . . .

Hello to Kerry Wood, the Cubs’ brightest young pitching star since Greg Maddux.

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NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

Winner: San Diego.

Wild Card: Dodgers.

The Padres are playing to beat “the monster” to the north. . . .

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And to persuade taxpayers to build them a new stadium. . . .

How about naming it for Jack Murphy? . . .

I’m glad Orel Hershiser is back in the division. . . .

But not with “the monster” to the north. . . .

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Darryl Kile and Pedro Astacio were good additions for the Rockies. . . .

If they can pitch in Coors Field. . . .

I’m hardly the one to tell Rupert Murdoch how to operate his business. . . .

But I’ll make an exception in this case: Sign Mike Piazza.

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National League champion: Atlanta.

MVP: McGwire.

Cy Young: Kevin Brown, San Diego.

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Rookie of the year: Paul Konerko, Dodgers.

Manager of the year: Bruce Bochy, San Diego.

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AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

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Winner: New York.

Wild Card: Baltimore.

You know the best thing about Hideki Irabu? . . .

The more he embarrasses himself and the Yankees, the worse George Steinbrenner looks. . . .

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You know what would be the best thing about Steinbrenner winning the division title? . . .

Peter Angelos wouldn’t. . . .

How is it possible Davey Johnson is out of work? . . .

Pedro Martinez could become the first to win consecutive Cy Young awards in different leagues. . . .

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Shouldn’t he be a Dodger?

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AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

Winner: Cleveland.

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Will Kenny Lofton be the player he was before with the Indians? . . .

Or the player he was last season with the Braves? . . .

I like Detroit’s chances better in the Central Division than the East. . . .

If Buddy Bell manages as well as he did last year, the Tigers will win 90 games. . . .

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Jerry Reinsdorf is crazy if he thinks the White Sox can catch Cleveland.

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

Winner: Seattle.

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Edison International Field is a great ballpark. . . .

It has everything Camden Yards does except crab cakes. . . .

We’ll find out if the lights work in October if the Mariners trade Randy Johnson. . . .

Even though Ken Griffey Jr. will hit 59 home runs. . . .

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I don’t want to pressure him with the Roger Maris thing.

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American League champion: New York.

MVP: Griffey.

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Cy Young: Martinez.

Rookie of the year: Ben Grieve, Oakland.

Manager of the year: Bell.

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World Series champion: New York.


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