The News Journal from Wilmington, Delaware on September 5, 1995 · Page 17
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The News Journal from Wilmington, Delaware · Page 17

Wilmington, Delaware
Issue Date:
Tuesday, September 5, 1995
Page 17
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The News Journal, Wilmington, Del. Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1995 Section C SCOREBOARD HIGH S C HOD L S FOOTBALL BASKETBALL Wattere still muuddied Coach unhappy with postgame comments - BRIAN WHITE Sweeney's gone so Brooks squats into the breach WOODBRIDGE, Va. Ramy Brooks has kicked around lonely, quiet baseball diamonds all over the land. There was a stellar high school career in Blanchard, Okla., two major-league drafts, three colleges in two years. But that was nothing compared to the adventures his pro career would bring. In six years of Class A ball, Brooks has had four different outposts to call home. He went from Eugene, Ore., to Rockford, 111., to Victorville, Calif., and then to Wilmington. So it seems strange that a call to the majors would finally thrust some spotlight on the 25-year-old catcher. The Blue Rocks' playoff plans were altered a bit late Sunday by a most unexpected development. The parent club, which is called the Kansas City Royals but looks more and more like the Kansas City Blue Rocks every day, decided it would pull out all the stops in its desire to capture an American League wild-card spot. The Royals called up Mike Sweeney, the Rocks' best hitter and starting catcher, taking him out of the Rocks' lineup in the team's most important week of the season. , It is an unusual vault, Class A to the bigs, but Sweeney, who won the Carolina League batting title with a .310 average, is valued so greatly that he was chosen ahead of three Triple A catchers and one from Double A. So with Sweeney and his power and leadership gone for Monday night, when the Rocks had a chance to close out the best-of-three Northern Division playoff, Brooks stepped in and stepped up. In a clinching 9-5 victory over the Prince William Cannons, Brooks opened the scoring with an RBI double and added another single to go 2-for-4. He also ended a third-inning Prince William rally by throwing out Sandy McKinnon when the Cannon speedster, who was third in the league with 35 steals, tried to swipe second. Brooks, who hit .218 this year with eight homers, made a statement early that Sweeney's absence wouldn't be fatal. "We've joked all year that we're going to have to get off ' Sweeney's back some time because he's been carrying us all year," Brooks said during the postgame celebration that came with the division title. "But I'll do the best I can to win . . . Basically, we just have to keep doing the same things we've been doing all year. It's a big blow, but it doesn't mean we're out of it because he's gone." Before Monday's game, Brooks was speaking with Cannons outfielder Andre Newhouse, who heard the news of Sweeney's astounding call-up and asked, "How are you guys going to win it all without Sweeney?" To which Brooks responded, "We'll just have to pick it up a little." And then he did, smacking a ball to the left-field wall to give the Rocks a lead they never lost. With the five-game championship series against Kinston coming up, Manager John Mizerock agreed that missing Sweeney would be "a big cog in the order," but downplayed its significance. "One hitter doesn't make or break it," Mizerock said. "Sure, I'd like to see Sweeney up there with guys on base, but that's yesterday's news . . . Ramy's been swinging the bat good the last couple of weeks." Brooks is unfazed by his new responsibility. He is the oldest player on the Rocks' roster and has supported a wife and two kids while traveling the minors and learning about bad fields as well as bad breaks. When he led the Royals' organization with 34 doubles in 1993, he was not rewarded, instead sent on loan to High Desert of the California League. He responded by smacking 20 homers and hitting .273 both career highs at High Desert and earning a spot in Wilmington on the highest Class A rung on the minor-league ladder. He has treasured his time back with his friends in the Royals' organization and now looks to finish his year with a ring. And suddenly, he'll get a big chance to make an impact on that chase. Brian White is assistant sports editor of The News Journal. By KEVIN NOONAN Staff reporter PHILADELPHIA - Eagles Coach Ray Rhodes said he would have a "man-to-man talk, heart-to-heart" with Ricky Watters. That's appropriate, because Watters is being accused of not having enough heart, of not being a man, or at least one that gets paid millions of dollars to play football. Watters appeared to short-arm a couple of catchable passes he pulled back from the ball because he was going to be hit in the second half of the I Thumbs down on Eagle film. C3 Eagles' 21-6 loss to Tampa Bay Sunday. And this was after he fumbled twice and rushed for just 37 yards in his Eagles' debut. That was bad enough. Watters made it much worse after the game, when he met the press and said, "Hey, I'm not going to trip up there and get knocked out. For who? For what?" That wasn't all. Watters also suggested the fault for those plays should be aimed at quarterback Randall Cunningham, for throwing the ball too late in the pattern, and the line, for not giving Cunningham time to throw the ball when he was supposed to. Then Watters criticized the fans for cheering too loudly when the Eagles had the ball, which he said made it difficult for the players to hear signals. He didn't tear up a picture of the pope, but that was about all he missed. Rhodes also thought Watters made a half-hearted attempt to catch those passes, and he wasn't happy about it. He's also aware of the uproar caused by Watters' actions and words, and he planned to do something about it. "Ricky and I will have a chance to sit down," said Rhodes Monday morning. "You have to make plays. That is why you are here. So we will talk ... I know he is an emotional guy, but this is also See WATTERS C3 APGEORGE WIDMAN Eagles running back Ricky Watters, unable to dodge a pair of Bucs Sunday, is also taking hits In the media. Eawjfe mil nimt 1Simd1 aslsmim .... yS?" f.te.. : " : ;. - . & ; ::; ;;.... j . mm, , .. " , .'. I 4r . . i I f " If . ... ' 'Vpffifr' .if1" M. ' 1 ' . .... . ... , . ( M J s : : ' l'.U'..'f - Sweep of Prince William sets up series vs. Kinston By JACK IRELAND Staff reporter WOODBRIDGE, Va. The Blue Rocks had their hitting shoes on Monday night and it resulted in a trip to the Carolina League championship round for a third straight year. The Rocks scored early and often for a 9-5 victory over Prince William at Pfitzner Stadium and a mmh sweep of the best-of-three Northern Division playoff series. The Rocks won 2-1 in Wil mington on Blue Rocks 9 Sunday. Cannons 5 Ramy Brooks, Carlos Mendez lit Vi-i;lpvFZl ran L Special to The News JournalBILL PERRY Rocks' Raul Gonzalez scores in the third Inning as Prince William catcher Robert Machado can't come up with the ball. and Donovan Delaney led a 10-hit attack with two hits apiece. Third baseman Mendy Lopez had a two-run double as the Rocks took a 5-0 lead with a four-run third to KO Cannons starter Rich Pratt. Left-hander Tim Byrdak, who got shutout relief from Neil Atkinson and Toby Smith, struggled at times during his six innings, but still got the win. He allowed five runs and nine hits, including a towering two-run, sixth-inning homer by 6-foot-5 Juan Thomas. The Rocks open the best-of-five series for the Mills Cup Trophy against Southern Division champion Kinston (N.C.) on Wednesday in Frawley Stadium at 7:05 p.m. Game two is Thursday at Frawley. At least 2,000 tickets remain for both games. "We were swinging the bats and kept the pressure on all night," Rocks Manager John Mizerock said. "I couldn't have drawn it up any better. That's the fifth time we have faced Pratt this year and these guys know what he is going to throw. Hey, that Ramy Brooks went out there, had a couple of hits and got us going with that RBI double." The Rocks, defending Mills Cup champion, didn't seem to miss a Carolina League Championship Series ROCKS vs. KINSTON Game 1: Kinston at Blue Rocks, Wednesday, 7:05 p.m., Frawley Stadium. Game 2: Kinston at Blue Rocks, Thursday, 7:05 p.m., Frawley Stadium. Game 3: Blue Rocks at Kinston, Friday, 7 p.m. Game 4: Blue Rocks at Kinston, Saturday, 7 p.m. . Game 5: Blue Rocks at Kinston, Sunday, TBA. If necessary. Royals call up Sweeney C4 beat even though league batting champion Mike Sweeney was in Kansas City after being promoted to the major leagues late Sunday night. Brooks, starting in place of Sweeney, got the Rocks on top 1-0 in the second with a two-out RBI double to left-center. "It hurts us a little without Mike Sweeney because he is a big part of our club and probably our best hitter," said Lopez. "Everybody contributed tonight You can't just count on one guy. I think it brought us together more as a team." Lopez contributed big-time in the third. Sergio Nunez walked to start the inning, was sacrificed to second by Medrano and scored as Mendez doubled to right.- After Raul Gonzalez walked, Lopez knocked out Pratt with a two-run double to right-center. "Even though I had just one hit, it was one of the most important of the whole game," Ixpez said. "It helped get everybody's confidence going and I was happy to contribute to the team in a clutch situation." Dodgers take oyer 1st place Associated Press LOS ANGELES Raul Mondesi hit a two-run homer and Eric Karros and Brett Butler had sacrifice flies as the Los Angeles Dodgers regained first place in the NL West with a 5-1 h victory over the Phillies Monday night. T h e Dodgers have a half-game lead over the Colorado Rockies. The Phillies are VA games out of the wild-card. Phillies box score C5 Tom Candiotti (7-12) ended his four-game winless streak, allowing a run and five hits over 6Va innings with five strikeouts. Candiotti took a three-hit shutout into the seventh before giving up a leadoff double by Jim Eisenreich, who scored on Kevin Stocker's two-out bunt single up the third-base line. Dodgers Phillies Ripken knocks on history's door By DAVID HUGHES Staff reporter BALTIMORE - The historic countdown is almost complete. For 13 years Cal Ripken has been chasing the legend of Lou Gehrig. Tonight, before a festive sellout at Camden Yards and a media throng in excess of 500, the Orioles' shortstop finally will cross paths with the late New York Yankees Hall of Famer. Ripken, who played in consecutive game No. 2,129 Monday and homered during a 5-3 loss to California, will equal Gehrig's all-time ironman standard of 2,130 when he plays in the field the first half-inning. Earl Weaver, the manager who began Ripken's streak in 1982, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. As memorable as tonight's game promises to be, it will be eclipsed Wednesday when Ripken rewrites baseball's record books by playing in No. 2,131. Postgame celebrations on the field are scheduled after both games. Ripken declined to speak publi-cally after Monday's game. "I'll save all my comments until tomorrow," he said. Both tonight and Wednesday will be marked by a moment that has become more and more dramatic with each passing game of this homestand the official Cal Countdown Cal Ripken is now 2 games away from breaking Lou Gehrig's all-time consecutive game streak. mm I GEHRIG n !) Record-breaking date: Wednesday vs. Angels, Camden Yards B Monday's highlights Ripken plays in consecutive game No. 2,129, drawing within one of Lou Gehrig's all-time record. Game: Orioles lose 5-3 to the California Angels. Ripken goes 1-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs. : Tonight: Ripken will tie Gehrig at 2,130 consecutive games as the Orioles play the Angels at 7:35 p.m. at Camden Yards. First pitch: Former Orioles manager Earl Weaver, Ripken's first manager in 1982, will throw out tonight's ceremonial first ball Wednesday: Ripken is on course to play in consecutive game No. 2,131 and break Gehrig's record in the series finale against the Angels at 7:35 p.m. Tickets: Sold out. TV tonight: HTS. Tonight's pitchers: Angels' Brian Anderson (6-7) vs. Orioles' Scott Erickson (9-10). Making a pitch for Ripken B6 O's fall to Angels C6 changing of the number. "That's really something special," said first baseman Rafael Palmeiro. "It's something that makes you really appreciate being a part of it." When the game becomes official, either in the middle of the fifth inning or after five full, the new number is unfurled on 10-foot-high banners attached to the brick warehouse beyond the Camden Yards right field wall. The number change draws a deafening cheer from the crowd, and lasts longer each day. On Monday, the 42,086 in attendance gave Ripken a two-minute standing ovation when the Orioles took the field before the top of the sixth. Many of the California players contributed to the applause from the dugout. Ripken, standing at shortstop, obviously felt the emotion of the moment, as he let a warmup grounder from Palmeiro sail past him into left field. He acknowledged the cheers with several waves of his glove and nods of his head. Then it was back to business as usual, at least until tonight. "That's a real big moment, no question," said right fielder Bobby Bonilla. "When you see that number changing out there, you realize the importance of Cal's accomplishment. It's a moment that you remember, and I'm sure it will be even more incredible the next two nights." Ripken's 390-foot third-inning homer over the right-center field fence produced another special moment. He was forced to take a curtain call. "You can feel the excitement building every day," said Jeff Manto, the Orioles' third baseman. "As players it's just as big an event as it is to fans who are watching from the stands. You can't describe the feeling. It's amazing, the fact that he's about to tie one of the game's greatest records."

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