The Times from Shreveport, Louisiana on July 11, 1995 · Page 22
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The Times from Shreveport, Louisiana · Page 22

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Shreveport, Louisiana
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Tuesday, July 11, 1995
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Page 22
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4C TUESDAY. JULY 11, 1995 Baseball THE TIMES DOUBLE-A ALL-STAR GAME MAJOR LEAGUES w V ' 4. '. w 4. lose, tat fefed U National League falls but experience is worth it for three Shreveport players. By RUSSELL HEDGES The Times The Shreveport Captains were on the losing team in Monday night's Double-A All-Star game, but it didn't really matter. The experience was the important thing. "I think the experience was what really counted," said Captains left fielder Jacob Cruz, who went O-for-3 in the National League's 3-1 loss to the American League. "We lost and I still feel good. I got to see some old friends and meet some new ones. It was just a fun experience." That's the way fellow Captains Steve Bourgeois and Bill Mueller looked at it. "This is supposed to be off days during the season, so this is like a vacation," said Bourgeois, who pitched the fourth inning. "You just play a couple of innings and get out of there." Bourgeois, a former Northeast Louisiana star, loaded the bases with three walks in his one-inning stint. But Bourgeois also struck out MVP Pork Chop Pough, who went 2-for-3 with a home run, and got out of the inning without allowing a run when Desi Relaford of the Port City (Ga.) Roosters grounded to first. "I believe I was little nervous," said Bourgeois, who is 8-3 with a 2.38 earned run average for the Captains. "I don't think I've walked three batters in a game this year. There were some great players out there." Mueller also had a shaky start with an error in the first inning. But he redeemed himself with a single to right field in the second inning. "It was very exciting to be out there," said Mueller, who is batting .291 this season'I need to experience as many things as I can. I was fortunate to be involved in it. "It's an exciting time for everybody. You just approach it like any other game and you go out there and try to do your best and help your ball club win." Mueller was especially happy to see the stadium full in a year the Captains have had trou- 'V - ; t . v 7 . . s A V a: 4 " 9 v , National League's Ralph Milliard throws to first for an attempt at a double play as ble drawing. "It's excellent for the city of Shreveport and excellent for Double-A baseball," he said. "You get the coverage on TV, and it helps bring back the game of baseball to where it was before the strike." With a new pitcher each inning and batters swinging at just about everything that came near the plate, the game went by in a brisk Tha TlmesJIM HUDELSON American League's Todd Greene slides Into second during Monday's All-Star game. two hours and 15 minutes. "I don't think anybody was looking to take it too seriously," said Cruz, who was one of the few players to play the entire game. "I don't think anybody wanted to throw out their arm and try to strike everybody out." The Captains return to work today, hopping on a bus this morning for a trip to Midland to take on the Angels. Fans savor ambiance of Fair Grounds Field Baseball-hungry crowd gets lot to eat on. By RUSSELL HEDGES The Times Two hours before the first pitch, Mike Zeigler and his 5-year-old son Randy were among several hundred baseball-hungry fans already in Fair Grounds Field for the Double-A All-Star. "My little boy lives and breathes baseball," said Zeigler, a civil service worker at Barksdale Air Force Base. There was a lot of that going around Monday night as a near sellout crowd filled the ballpark to watch the best players in Double-A baseball do their thing. From the VIP party outside the right field fence to the beer garden in left field, fans soaked up the atmosphere and generally enjoyed themselves. Randy Zeigler was one of dozens of kids crowded around dugouts before the game, holding out baseballs and programs for players to autograph. Zeigler got Shreveport Captain Bill Mueller's autograph, but the "We watched (Walker) play at Airline so it's nice to see him up here. " Mike Zeigler, fan attending Monday night's Double-A All-Star Game most popular player was former Airline High and LSU star Todd Walker, who went 0-for-l with a walk and sparkling defensive play at second base. Walker received two loud ovations one before the home run hitting contest and another when he was introduced as the American League's starting second baseman. "He had a great college career and good career at Airline," said Jimmy Barr, at the game with a group of about 20 from Vivian. "He's going to some day be in the big leagues." Fans lined the breezeway fences and oohed-and-ahhed when anyone hit one out of the park during the home run contest. Walker hit two of 10 out, but jmmt' : fit " W7 H h '- The TimesJIM HUDELSON American League's Pork Chop Pough gets congratulated by third base coach Mario Mendoza after an All-Star home run Monday. Todd Greene of the Texas League's Midland Angels won with three. "We watched him play at Airline so it's nice to see him up here," Mike Zeigler said. Zeigler said the Double-A All- Star should boost baseball interest locally and maybe take away some of the sting from last season's major-league players' strike. "I think it's real good for the kids, especially the way the strike was going," he said. All-Star game more than just a baseball game By SCOTT FERRELL nd STACY FEDUQIA The Times The Double-A All-Star Game was more than just a game for players and managers. The game was an event There were parties at Louisiana Downs and Harrah's. There was an all-star luncheon at the Expo Hall with Cajun personality Justin Wilson speaking. There was a full house at Fair Grounds Field and there were ESPN cameras in the stands. "It's something youll always remember," said Shreveport third baseman Bill Mueller. "You go through your whole career to have an experience like this. I've been fortunate to be here and be around great baU players." Said Captains outfielder Jacob Cruz: "It's been fun. You get to see the guys you play against in your NOTEBOOK league and the guys from other leagues. It's a nice break. We really needed one." GOING DEEP Midland's Todd Greene won the home-run hitting contest prior to Monday night's all-star game. Greene hit three home runs in 10 swings. Hardware City's Todd Walker and Midland's George Arias had two homers each. The National League stars were not so productive. Memphis' Jason Thompson and Harrisburg's Tyrone Home had one home run each. Binghamton's Jay Payton failed to homer on 10 pitches. GOING DEEP II Trenton's Pork Chop Pough, who was not in the home run hitting contest despite hitting 19 during the regular season, homered off of Bing hamton's Paul Wilson. "I think Pork Chop was a little mad that he wasn't in the home run contest," Wilson said. "He took it out on me." The snub was the second straight in a Double-A All-Star Game for Pough. "I was upset about that," Pough said. "I was looking forward to being a part of that this year. Last year they didn't let me in it either. "My focus on coming here was to be in that. I was upset but I understand the situation. I was able to hit one in the game that really counted. O MVPS The three leagues each had a Most Valuable Player chosen in the game. The Eastern League Most Valuable Player was Trenton's Pork Chop Pough. The Texas League Most Valuable Player was El Paso' Brian Banks. The Southern League Most Valuable Player was Jason Thompson. B HAPPY REUNION Rob Mattson, a knuckleballer for the National League Memphis Chicks, found a familiar face at Fair Grounds Field. National League hitting coach Frank Cacciatore of the Shreveport Captains coached Mattson at Palm Beach Community College in Florida in 1986. "Seeing Coach Cacciatore was great. It's really a small world," said Mattson. "I gave him a hug and we caught up some. He was surprised to see me playing." Cacciatore was equally surprised. "Rob came in and said 'Frank,' and I said, 'Is that really you?'" ht said. NEXT YEAR TheDouble-A All-Star Game moves to Trenton, N J., in 1996. Double-A owners approved Trenton at its meeting Monday afternoon. The game will be played on July 8. Temps reach 1M during festivities Climate matches play of old-timers game. The Associated Press ARLINGTON, Texas With temperatures hitting 114 degrees on a cloudless Monday at The Ballpark, the All-Star workout looked and felt more like the All-Star cookout Throughout the old-timers game, batting practice for today's stars and the home run hitting contest, sweating and searching for cold drinks were the only ways to deal with the Texas heat. "I'm frying," San Francisco outfielder Barry Bonds said after being on the field about 15 minutes. Pity the old guys, even if this year's crop had a few flat-bellies. Their hour-long, three-inning game won 1-0 by the American League was played when temperatures on a press box thermometer were highest. It was 112 in the first inning and 114 when the game ended. "It was cooking," said former Oakland outfielder Joe Rudi. "You get a bunch of old guys not used to running and they're liable to have a heart attack. You've just got to take it easy and remember you're not 25 anymore." An hour later, the All-Stars took the field for batting practice, watched by a crowd of 47,697. Many players used the time to meet and greet teammates and foes, and others got their first view of the year-old, $195 million stadium. "It's a gorgeous facility. I just thought it'd be a little hotter," joked Chicago Cubs first baseman Mark Grace."It's hot!" An electric fan whirred in the NL dugout, but all it basically did was make noise. The big show in batting practice was put on by Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Mike Piazza, who before walking into the cage had told San Diego outfielder Tony Gwynn that he'd just like to hit line drives. That attitude lasted until the fifth pitch, when he slammed a ball into the thin overhang of the second deck in left field. He hit another in lineup T&S Elected starters by position, for the 66th All-Star game, scheduled lor July 11 at The Ballpark In Arlington, Texas: AL-Frank Thomas, Chicago NL-Fred McGriff, tofa AL-Carlos Baerga, Cleveland NL-Craig Blgglo, Houston AL-Cal Ripken, Baltimore NL-x-Ozzie Smith, St. Louis Replaced by Barry Larkin, Cincinnati AL-Wade Boggs, New York NL-x-Matt Williams, San Francisco Replaced by Vinny Castilla, Colorado AL-Albert Belle, Cleveland NL-Barry Bonds, San Francisco AL-x-Ken Griffey Jr., Seattle Replaced by Kenny Lofton, Cleveland NL-Lenny Oykstra, Philadelphia AL-Klrby Puckett, Minnesota NL-Tony Gwynn, San Diego 1 AWvan Rodriquez, Texas NL-Mike Piazza, Los Angeles (x-lnjured, will not play) AP the vicinity even further, and he hit a ball that nicked the top of the batting cage still wound up being an opposite field homer. But the one everyone was talking about landed in the concourse behind the visitor's bullpen, a blast of at least 500 feet. The hot day ended with baseball's hot home-run hitters. Frank Thomas of the Chicago White Sox won the home-run derby, beating Cleveland's Albert Belle 3-2 in the final round. !yan impressed Inlideo Nomo with Former Texas hurler to toss first pitch in All-Star Game. The Associated Press ARLINGTON, Texas Nolan Ryan, baseball's all-time strikeout king who's in his second year of retirement, won't try to uncork a 97 mph fastball with the ceremonial first pitch in tonight's All-Star game. "My pitch will be about half of what Randy Johnson's will be," Ryan, 48, said of the American League starter. "I hope I make the plate and don't bounce it. If I get real loose I might be able to throw it in the high 80s, I guess." Ryan, who had 5,714 strikeouts in 27 years in the majors, had seven no-hitters and led the league in strikeouts 11 times. His last five seasons were with the Texas Rangers, who are hosting their first All-Star game. It does Ryan's heart good to see two starting power pitchers. Hideo Nomo of the Los Angeles Dodgers will start for the National League and oppose Seattle's Johnson. "I would watch this game as a fan just to see Nomo pitch," Ryan said. "I've seen him on television and he has a good forkball and fastball. This is good for baseball. It will be interesting to see the American Leaguers face him and try to discover why he's so successful." Ryan worked with some Japanese pitchers in spring training this year pnd said, "I've seen some very talented pitchers over there. Nomo has an exceptional forkball and he knows how to use it. There are other pitchers over there who can pitch on this level." Nomo said Ryan had caught his attention from afar. "He has been an inspiration. Ryan is very famous in Japan. I have a lot of respect for him." Ryan said he is busier now than he ever was as a player. "I didn't retire, I just changed jobs," said Ryan, who owns a bank and is big in the cattle business. "I'm either at the office or the ranch or helping the Rangers or TCU's baseball team. I'm also on the Parks and Wildlife Commission." Has Ryan ever felt like he retired too early? "My time had come," said Ryan who suffered a damaging shoulder injury. "I'd love to still be pitching now. " Talks ready to resume The Associated Press ARLINGTON, Texas Baseball owners are finally ready to resume labor talks with the players. Negotiating committee chairman John Harrington said Monday the owners know what proposal they intend to make, and said acting commissioner Bud Selig will speak with union head Donald Fehr later this week to schedule the next session, the first since March 30. In June, after the last meeting of all owners, Harrington said his job was to convince clubs what was attainable without another work stoppage. Hard-liners want owners to junk their luxury tax plan and go back to a salary cap proposal, which they abandoned in February. Harrington also confirmed owners will stay away from the bargaining table and negotiateO-through their lawyers and perhaps one other. Selig, speaking during the All-Star home-run derby, refused to elaborate on the the session. In the past, the union refused management's attempts to conduct talks in secret. The union also complained when the teams tried to negotiate through Richard Ravitch. One day after the strike began, federal mediators convinced owners to join the talks directly.

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