Daily Press from Newport News, Virginia on July 19, 1990 · Page 56
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Daily Press from Newport News, Virginia · Page 56

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Newport News, Virginia
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Thursday, July 19, 1990
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Page 56
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WO Daily Press, Thursday, July 19, 1990 Atlanta's infield called the worst iii maj or leagues ATLANTA (AP) Spike Owen of the Montreal Expos says the infield at Atlanta-Fulton. County Stadium, home of thei National League's Atlanta Braves, is the worst in the major leagues. ' It's so bad, in fact, that there's dirt painted green in spots where the grass is missing. "It's by far the worst, anywhere," said Owen, a shortstop who also played with the Boston Red Sox in the American League and knows the playing surfaces of both leagues. "Cleveland is bad. Everyone will tell you that. But this stuff is in a league by itself," he said. "You'd think someone here would take a little more pride in it." Brandon Koehnke, the Atlanta' Braves' head groundskeeper and the league's youngest at 27, admits the field probably is at its worst "; "It's not one thing, it's a combination of things," he said. A big reason is the off-season decision not to resod the field. The problems include: The clay infield bakes hard and the top flakes off, leaving a bumpy, uneven surface. Koehnke said it will be resurfaced with a brick dust composite before next season.' The field was not resodded after the annual motocross. in 1989. When the baseball players complained about the Bermuda grass being too short, rye grass was allowed to grow, creating a patchy, infield. NFL report Late owner gambled of ten A gambling empire did regular business with the ''.late Art Rooney, founder I of the Pittsburgh Steelers,' but the bets did not involve football, a federal prosecutor said Wednesday. Rooney's connection j with the operation surfac- ed during the trial of Paul Hankish, 58, who the gov- I eminent said started run- ning a bookmaking oper- ation in Bridgeport, Ohio, t in 1957. U.S. Attorney Wil-! Ham A. Kolibash wrote in a statement released Tues- day that a Hankish associ- ate took out-of-state bets over the telephone "from a Pittsburgh-based group v headed by Art Rooney, .vwho they code-named No. ; 42- ; COWBOYS , Rain christened the of f i- cial opening of the team's ' first-ever training camp in ; Texas. Both of the practice fields will be soggy when two-a-day practices start today in Austin. "The ! fields are in good condition and we'll be able to prac-; tice as scheduled (today)," ". Coach Jimmy Johnson ; said. "The rain doesn't . bother me. The most suc- cessful season I had at Mi-I ami we practiced in a mon-; soon almost every day. '.Then we went undefeated." : COLTS ' All-Pro running back I Eric Dickerson has again announced he'll be AWOL when the veterans report : July 26. FALCONS A finance company has filed suit against lineback- er Aundray Bruce, claim- ing he failed to make pay-; ments on two mortgage loans totaling $912,000. ' PATRIOTS ' Former North Carolina ; State defensive end Ray Agnew became the seventh first-round draft choice to avoid a holdout when he I agreed to terms with New ".England. DOLPHINS - ' Coach Don Shula sent t his first pick, offensive tackle Richmond Webb, - out of the Dolphins' camp. - STEELERS t, Pittsburgh signed veter-van nose tackle Gerald Wll- Hams and four draft picks No. 4 Chris Calloway: No. 5 Barry Foster; No. 9 ; Gary Jones; and No. 11 ; Justin Strzelczyk. tram wire reports "We took a chance and it didn't exactly work the way we hoped," Koehnke said. There's a small rut across the infield behind the pitcher's mound, where the painted football sideline crossed it. A patch of new sod on the first base side of the infield covers an area burned out by a fertilizer spill. There are patches of new sod on both sidelines and in the outfield where rain and traffic have either drowned the grass or trampled it to death. "Let's put it this way, if Cal Ripken had to play out there, he wouldn't have that (consecutive games) streak going," said Braves shortstop Jeff Blauser. "Brandon works his tail off on the field and everybody tells me it's better than it used to be but I think there's only so much he can do." Owen, who set a National League record this season playing 63 games for the Expos without an error in 253 chances, said Atlanta's infield "affects how you play when you're not sure whether or not you're going to take one between the lips. "There's no way you can tell how a ball is going to bounce off this infield. After two or three innings, -you look around and find huge chunks of stuff. I don't know what it is." In an attempt to help, the infield grass was allowed to reach four inches, up from the one-inch Bermuda. ' Robertson back in baseball as coach in minors By RICK HUDSON Knight-Rldder Newspapers COLUMBUS, Ga. When Bob Robertson left major league baseball after the 1979 season, he never unpacked his bags. After three knee operations and two back operations, the veteran slugger knew it was time to get out. He also believed that one day, he would return. This season, after a 10-year hiatus, Robertson is back. When he left for spring training this year, he literally brought the same bag he was using when he finished as a player. "I had forgotten all the stuff I had in there," Robertson said. Now a rookie coach, he's serving as hitting instructor for the Double A Columbus Mudcats. And even though it isn't the major leagues, Robertson is happy. "Baseball was always on my mind," said Robertson, who spent 10 years away from baseball running an advertising business. "I wasn't completely happy. When I woke up every morning, I was thinking about baseball." Playing most of his career for the Pittsburgh Pirates with eventual Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente and Willie Star-gell, Robertson rarely was the star. "If I wrote a book about my career, you could call it, 'The Average Player,'" Robertson said. Still, Robertson played a key role on the 1971 world championship Pirates team. He set a record when he hit three home runs in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series against the San Francisco Giants, and he added two more homers in the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles. An 11-year veteran, Robertson hit 115 career homers and appeared in the league playoffs five times. He also was a top-notch fielder as a first baseman, committing only 34 errors in his career. "He brings back the old style of play," said Mudcats manager Rick Sweet. "Players aren't as aggressive today as they used to be. I like the old style better." . Bob Watson, one of his playing contemporaries, was the key figure in Robertson's return to baseball. The two talked at an old-timers' game at the 1988 All-Star Game when Watson was a coach with the Oakland Athletics. "I asked him, 'How does anyone ever get back into this game?'" Robertson said. "He said he would keep me in mind." Last year. when Watson became assistant general manager with the Houston Astros, he didn't forget his conversation with Robertson. "There was a need, I felt, in this organization for someone who has played the game and played it the way he has played it," said Watson. "I felt he was very genuine in his desire to get back into the game. I think the game needs guys like Almost all of the area saltwater stations reporting excellent catches of spot, signaling the arrival of the fun-fishing days of summer. - Spot are a member of the drum family and a close relative of croaker. The name comes from the black spot on the fish's shoulders. A delicious food fish, spot are easy to catch a small-hook bottom rig baited with blood worms or squid is the most popular and found along every pier, and inshore channel in the Chesapeake Bay. Fishing for them can make a great family outing or a fun afternoon when going for the bigger stuff seems like too much hassle. The state record spot weighed 2 pounds, 6 ounces and was caught in 1980 near Poquoson. The Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament offers a citation for spot weighing a pound or more. Those larger spot are caught later in the summer. The spot being caught now are approaching that late-summer size. ' LOWER BAY Bluefish Rock is again living up to its name as a cobia hotspot. Joseph Bower of Hampton returned from the Rock Tuesday with a 75-pounder. Robert Patsell of Hampton caught a 52-pounder. Late last week, Susan Quinn weighed in a 53-pounder and Dudley Moore a 54-pounder. Flounder action picked up in the small boat channel, from Factory Point to Buckroe. Spot are plentiful in nearly all of the river-mouth haunts, especially Little Back River and Poquoson River. The York Spit area has produced excellent catches of spot and some small gray trout. Trout fishing is the best on the Eastern Shore side of the Bay. Hotspots are the Cell and the Concrete Ships off Kiptopeke. Latimer Shoals, near Cape Charles, has been a good cobia hunting ground. The concentrations of Spanish mackerel apparently have moved on through the area. Schools of small bluefish are still around, however. Bob Robertson who have been through a lot, positive and negative." Robertson said he is grateful to Watson. "There's always been something missing in my life since I got out of the game," he said. "I have so much inside to try to teach these young players." Although he hadn't played in the minors since 1969, Robertson wasn't apprehensive about returning to the bush leagues. "I like small t owns," he said. "I'm from a small town. I don't mind the bus trips. I knew what I was getting into." ' Robertson also knew what to expect in the Southern League. As a 19-year-old, he played with the Pirates farm team in Ashe-ville, N.C., then a member of the Southern League. He led the league with 32 homers, 99 RBI and a .557 slugging average. That performance had Robertson in line for a late-season promotion to the big leagues. But during the last week of the season, Robertson suffered a broken wrist when he was hit by a pitch. The injury occurred, co-incidentally, in Columbus, then a New York Yankees affiliate. "I was standing right at that same home plate when it happened," said Robertson, pointing toward the plate at Golden Park. "I remember this league well. I've played in all the towns. Most of them haven't changed much." Robertson made it up to the Pirates for short stints in 1967 and 1969 before he finally stuck in 1970. During his first two complete seasons with Pittsburgh, Robertson appeared on his way to becoming one of the National League's top power hitters. He hit 27 homers in 1970 and followed with 26 in 1971. But then injuries struck, cutting into Robertson's playing time, effectiveness and enjoyment of the game. He was released by the Pirates during spring training in 1977 but tried to hang on, mostly as a designated hitter. He played with Seattle in 1978 and Toronto in 1979. After batting .103 in 15 games with the Blue Jays in 1979, Robertson retired. "I felt I just could not perform," he said. "I really didn't enjoy it. I couldn't take the extra batting practice or fielding practice I wanted. I just stayed away from the game for a while." When Robertson wasn't tending to his advertising business in LaVale, Md., he tried to remain in touch with baseball. He appeared in old-timers' games and signed autographs at baseball card shows. But until this spring, that was as close as he came. Now, Robertson said he feels at home as an instructor. However, he sees himself more as a motivator than one whose job is to tinker with a player's mechanics. Fishing report LOCAL PIERS Spot and small flounder are being caught at all three local piers, Buckroe, Grandview, and James River. Monday, at Grandview, several keepr flounder (longer than 13 inches) were hooked on cut bait Random gray trout and bluefish were also caught. Several rays were hooked on cut bait rigs, though none was decked. At Buckroe, flounder have provided the excitement. Barbara Adkins reported several keeper catches of from seven to 12 fish. Spot and trout fishing is best at night. "We're starting to see some nice spot caught during the day, along with some gray trout," she said. "The gray trout have been right around a pound." Spanish mackerel are just random catches in the late afternoon now. Small bluefish are being caught at James River, mostly on the outgoing tide. Croaker are being caught at all three piers, but most of the fish are too small to keep. OFFSHORE A few bluefin tuna, stragglers from the big schools that have moved north, are still being picked up. Yellowfin tuna are also being caught The Outer Limits, a charter boat out of Virginia Beach's Rudee Inlet returned with 75 dolphin, skipjack and - yellowfin Tuesday. At the Chesapeake Light Tower, amberjack in the 40-50-pound class are being caught and released. A few cobia and false albacore are also being caught. Blue and white marlin are being caught and released, the Virginia Beach Sports Fishing Center reported. Headboats fishing inshore wrecks are finding some sea bass. MIDDLE BAY Spot fishing in the Rappahannock and around Gwynn's Island has been top notch. A few flounder have been caught around Butler's Hole. Small bluefish have been plentiful in the Windmill Point area. The best gray trout results are coming from the Eastern Shore side, around Onancock Rock. OUTER BANKS It continues to be a fantastic marlin season for the offshore boats. Sixteen Now HAMPTON MOTOR CORP. 1073 W. Mercury Blvd. Hampton VA 838-5450 H0LL0M0N P0NTIAC 1010W. Mercury Blvd. Hampton VA 766-8422 ' 1: Bluefish Rock 2: Small boat channel 3: Poquoson River 4: Concrete Ship 5: Rappahannock River York " VV1 V. Vhoi Williamsburg NewPoiri () KX. NJYork Channel I f a f j &S I Cap. , X rr, flThimb 4: , j ;s;i;(S( Newport 0 V "Shoals . 'X.News I . s31)h v-- A ft Thimble Shoe gP" Jf M Channel "fX. ipM.,,, ' I white marlin were caught and released by the Oregon Inlet fleet Tuesday. A sailfish was also hooked and released. Yellowfin tuna catches are improving. Dolphin catches are also excellent Closer to shore, false albacore and wahoo have been the main catches. A few king mackerel have been caught at an ara named the Towers. From the piers and along the surf, not much is happening southwest winds have left conditions muddy and choppy. Surfcasters are catching speckled trout. Pier fishermen are catching spot, mullet, croaker, and bluefish. FRESHWATER Excellent catches of panfish continue to be hauled from the area rivers, lakes, and impoundments. Lake Meade MR.GOODWRENCHS GUARANTEE 1 : te ,4K, ill i w V i I ' r ' I ! r:-- - &f 1 ; fru i'IMii nvn mi iit,W - An oil change, lube and more in 29 minutes or less, or the next one's free! At Mr. Goodwrench Quick Lube Plus, we don't just promise fast service. .. we guarantee it. A complete oil change with up to 5 quarts of GM Goodwrench Motor Oil, an AC Oil Filter and 10-point maintenance check, all in 29 minutes or less. Or we II pay for your next one! (29-Minute Guarantee applies to GM cars and light trucks.) Mr. Goodwrench Quick Lube Plus. You drive in knowing your car will be done fast. And drive out knowing it's done right. available at any of these GM dealerships: ..I 150 & X Chesapeake Bay 4 , and Lake Cahoon in Suffolk report bream and shellcrackers are hitting crickets and beetle spins. Largemouth bass are being caught in the early mornings on surface plugs and later in the day on plastic worms and minnows fished in deeper water. Crickets and worms are the top bream baits at Lake Prince. A few striped bass are also being caught on jumbo minnows. The best time for stripers is early morning. At Little Creek Reservoir, bream and yellow perch have been the most consistent catches. Some largemouths are being caught Catfish are being caught from the James and Chickahominy rivers. Cut bait fished at night is producing the best results. Compiled by Skip Miller LI CASEY CHEVROLET Rt. 17 & Jefferson Ave. Newport News VA 591-1156 SUTTLE MOTOR CO. 12525 Jefferson Ave. Newport News VA 886-1800

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