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Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Thursday, October 26, 2000

Roger wasn’t
used to having
bat in hand

IT would probably take a rocket scientist to explain Roger Clemens' bizarre bat-throwing behavior in the second game of the World Series between New York's finest -- the Yankees and Mets.

Everyone's getting on the Rocket's case and his mound rage cost him a $50,000 fine.

Knowing Clemens, I feel he won't bother appealing the fine by major league baseball.

He'll just take his second World Series championship ring in as many years and go back home to Texas once the Yankees dispatch the Mets.

If not today, then Saturday at Yankee Stadium with Clemens on the mound again.

Let's hope we're all spared of yet another sideshow involving Clemens and Piazza. Twice a year is enough - the beaning in their interleague encounter and the World Series' first splendid splinter. Well, maybe not so splendid.

Any close encounter of the third kind would denigrate the 2000 Subway Series.

Much as everyone is criticizing Clemens, I don't think he was deliberately trying to throw the jagged top barrel of the bat at Piazza. To me, it was a spur of the moment thing, an adrenaline-filled reflex action.

Even baseball's front office agreed. Clemens was fined because it was an "inappropriate" act, not an intentional one. As Clemens said, he wished it was the bat of light-hitting Mike Bordick, not Piazza's, that came flying to the mound.

Of course, Clemens could have injured someone severely -- Piazza, the bat boy and even one of his teammates.

It was dumb, but not deliberate.

Me? As one who detests the designated-hitter rule, I blame that two-headed monster. As a pitcher in the American League who doesn't have to swing a bat, poor Roger probably didn't know what to do with one in his hands.

ACTUALLY, the real culprit should be the media, which turned their first confrontation since the July 8 beaning into a feeding frenzy for Met fans.

How many times did you see the Fox Network, which is televising the series, replay that beaning? Really, too numerous to count.

Yankee manager Joe Torre was unhappy with the negative pregame promotion. "One time ESPN had Mike getting hit six times in 36 seconds in the head," Torre said.

The press also made it a point to say time and again that Piazza's first at-bat against Clemens in the first inning of Game 2 would be the most anticipated plate appearance of the Subway Series. Even Piazza said as much.

Clemens admitted he was fired up and emotional. He was certainly pumped up.

Whatever the reason, if any, it overshadowed a great pitching performance by the five-time Cy Young winner.

The Mets got mad but they aren't going to get even, unless they win the next two games.

The second of the two would be against Clemens.

Boy, wouldn't it be doubly galling to the Mets and their fans if Clemens beats them again, if there is a Game Six.

In a way, I'm hoping the World Series doesn't extend beyond today. Nothing against Benny Agbayani and the Mets.

It's simply that KHON, the local Fox affiliate, doesn't deserve it, after delaying the three midweek games at Shea Stadium by nearly five hours.

What makes the station's practice of delaying the games so silly is that it had sent Ron Mizutani to New York City for on-the-scenes reports because of hometown hero Agbayani.

So what happens? Mizutani's great job of you-are-there reporting is nullified because it's not live, but delayed.

It's hardly with-it television, considering immediacy is that electronic medium's greatest asset.

Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.

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