Star-Bulletin Sports


Monday, July 5, 1999


H A W A I I _ I N _ T H E _M A J O R S



Benny cools,
but still a hot
commodity

Though his average is
down, his popularity - and
marketability - aren't

By Dave Reardon
Special to the Star-Bulletin

Tapa

BENNY Agbayani's bat has cooled considerably since its white-hot start in May.

But the New York Mets outfielder by way of Aiea, St. Louis School and Hawaii Pacific University is still a fan favorite at Shea Stadium, his agent says.

Danny Horwitz of the Beverly Hills Sports Council said doors are opening for endorsements and paid appearances because Agbayani plays for a team in a major media market.

One opportunity includes advertising work for Hawaiian Punch, since Agbayani has been referred to by the nickname often in the New York and national media. Horwitz said he is negotiating with the company that markets the fruit drink.

"Fans like him because he's quiet and an underdog," Horwitz said. "And he's the fastest to get to 10 homers as a Met ever. Combine success with New York and he is in demand."

At his first appearance arranged by Horwitz, fans overflowed a sports memorabilia store in New York called The Dugout. Agbayani autographed photos after a home game in June.

"They told me it was the biggest crowd they've had there since 'The Ultimate Warrior,' " Agbayani said. "It was kind of wild, but it was fun."

Agbayani's performance, however, isn't scripted as is the pro wrestler's.

After hitting .451 in his first 51 at bats (.552 at home), Agbayani's average is down to .316.

As long as he hits consistently and adds to his home run total, the endorsements should come his way. If he falters, perhaps not.

Agbayani said he isn't worried about such peripheral issues.

"That stuff's nice, and it's nice to be recognized, but I just want to keep showing that I can play at this level and help the team," he said. "The way my career has gone, I don't take anything for granted."

Agbayani, the Mets' 30th-round draft pick in 1993, was never considered a prime prospect. But he progressed steadily in the minors, and made his major-league debut last season.

After going 2-for-15 for the Mets last year, he thought he might be done with pro baseball or try it in Japan. But Agbayani, 27, gave it one more shot this spring with Triple-A Norfolk. When injuries hit the New York outfield in May, he got another chance in The Big Apple.

"When you spend a long time in the minors you're humbled," said Horwitz, who has represented Agbayani for several years. "He's quiet and laid back and he wants to stay that way. We're going to book him for a few more things during the season, but not too much."

The Beverly Hills Sports Council represents nearly 70 major league baseball players. Other clients include Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling and Barry Bonds.

The agency has a history of clients from Hawaii, including Mike Fetters, Keith Luuloa, Mike DeKneef, Joey Meyer and Joey Vierra.

Tapa

Mets 7, Braves 6

Atlanta			AB	R	H	BI	BB	SO	Avg.
Weiss ss		5	0	0	0	0	0	.246
BBoone 2b		5	2	2	2	0	2	.252
CJones 3b		4	2	2	1	1	1	.299
BJordan rf		5	1	1	0	0	2	.296
Klesko lf		1	0	0	1	2	0	.296
BHunter 1b		0	0	0	0	0	0	.256
AJones cf		3	0	0	0	1	1	.266
Simon 1b		3	1	2	2	0	0	.342
b-GWilliams ph-lf	1	0	0	0	0	0	.264
EPerez c		3	0	1	0	0	1	.236
Smoltz p		2	0	0	0	0	1	.324
Remlinger p		0	0	0	0	0	0	--
c-ONixon ph		1	0	0	0	0	1	.175
McGlinchy p		0	0	0	0	0	0	.000
	Totals		33	6	8	6	4	9
New York		AB	R	H	BI	BB	SO	Avg.
Henderson lf		4	2	2	0	0	2	.292
Alfonzo 2b		3	2	2	4	1	0	.300
Olerud 1b		4	1	2	0	0	0	.310
Piazza c		4	0	1	2	0	1	.302
Ventura 3b		3	0	0	0	0	2	.283
AGBAYANI rf		4	0	1	1	0	1	.316
Cedeno cf		3	0	1	0	0	0	.329
Cook p			0	0	0	0	0	0	.000
d-MFranco ph		0	0	0	0	1	0	.257
Benitez p		0	0	0	0	0	0	.000
ROrdonez ss		4	1	2	0	0	0	.292
Hershiser p		1	0	0	0	0	1	.129
Mahomes p		0	0	0	0	0	0	.286
a-Mora ph		1	0	0	0	0	1	.000
Beltran p		0	0	0	0	0	0	.000
McMichael p		0	0	0	0	0	0	--
McRae cf		0	1	0	0	2	0	.236
	Totals		31	7	11	7	4	8
Atlanta 	204 000 000--6 8 0
New York 	310 000 30x--7 11 0
a-struck out for Mahomes in the 4th. b-fouled out for Simon in the 7th. c-struck out for Remlinger in the 8th. d-walked for Cook in the 8th.

LOB--Atlanta 7, New York 6. 2B--Simon (10), Alfonzo (20), ROrdonez (15). HR--Alfonzo (12) off Smoltz; Simon (2) off Hershiser; CJones (17) off Hershiser; BBoone 2 (10) off Hershiser 2. RBIs--BBoone 2 (31), CJones (50), Klesko (43), Simon 2 (10), Alfonzo 4 (53), Piazza 2 (47), Agbayani (21). SB--CJones (10). CS--Cedeno (8). S--Smoltz, Henderson, Ventura. SF--Klesko. GIDP--Cedeno.

Runners left in scoring position--Atlanta 4 (Weiss 2, GWilliams 2); New York 4 (Henderson 2, Olerud, Cedeno).

Runners moved up--Smoltz, Agbayani, ROrdonez.

DP--Atlanta 1 (BBoone, Weiss and Simon).

Atlanta		IP	H	R	ER	BB	SO	NP	ERA
Smoltz L, 8-3	6 1/3	10	7	7	2	5	105	3.49
Remlinger	2/3	1	0	0	0	1	15	1.45
McGlinchy	1	0	0	0	2	2	15	3.27
New York	IP	H	R	ER	BB	SO	NP	ERA
Hershiser	2 2/3	6	6	6	2	1	52	4.97
Mahomes	1 1/3	0	0	0	0	1	17	4.18
Beltran	2	1	0	0	0	0	24	3.00
McMichael	2/3	1	0	0	2	2	20	6.55
Cook W, 	7-1	1 1/3	0	0	0	0	2	15	2.13
Benitez S, 	4	1	0	0	0	0	3	14	1.47
Inherited runners-scored--Cook 3-0, Mahomes 1-0.

IBB--off McGlinchy (McRae) 1, off McMichael (AJones) 1, off McMichael (Klesko) 1. HBP--by Hershiser (EPerez). WP--McMichael.

T--2:59. A--32,699 (55,777).



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