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Jul 14, 2006



First, some random thoughts on the All-Star Game:

Poor Beltran. Just as the Chevy guy was fixing to give Beltran the keys to a new car, up stepped Michael Young.

Fact is that if NL manager Garner had the foresight to put Jones in center, and move Beltran to left for the ninth, Beltran probably pockets the Glaus double.

Not to mention why wasn't Rolen at third? He makes the play on the Konerko grounder, school is out, Beltran gets the Chevy, and the books celebrate.

In case you missed it, the game opened at pick, and closed AL minus 160.

It made me feel so sad when Harold Reynolds declared on ESPN this morning that Michael Young makes only $10 million.

Up until the ninth, the All-Star Game was a study in tedium. Routine out followed by routine out. I didn't see anyone busting his butt to get down to first base. And how many times did we see baserunners from first veer off toward right field rather than try to break up double plays?

The exception was Beltran who played all-out.

The highlight of the game clearly was the Clemente ceremony at home plate. Even there, why weren't Clemente's two sons on the field with their mother?

And why did announcer Buck need to scream "Are you having a good time?" after the solemn ceremonies concluded?

Just chalk it up as a Fox moment I guess.

That said, allow me one personal recollection of Clemente:

I staffed a Mets-Pirates game at Shea back in '70 for the old Newark Evening News.

Prior to the game, they shot a scene from The Odd Couple (the movie version) with Walter Matthau as sportswriter Oscar Madison and Jack Lemmon as whiney Felix Unger.

The script called for Felix to call Oscar, who at the time was covering Mets-Pirates in the press box. Oscar turns his back to the field to take Felix's call, and, while doing so, Clemente hits into a 5-4-3 triple play, and Oscar goes nuts..

But when the producers asked Clemente to hit into the triple play, he refused, citing the fact that it would demean him.

Talk about pride!

After Clemente refused, Mazerowski got the gig, and indeed hit into the triple play.

It was ironic that 36 years later -- on a Tuesday night at the All-Star Game -- it was the same Mazerowski who escorted Clemente's widow onto the field at PNC.

Now I've been to PNC, and it's all about Clemente. In front of the main entrance is a statue of Clemente, and the bridge behind right field, crossing the Allegheny into downtown Pittsburgh, is named the Roberto Clemente Bridge.

A great town.


Ironic that hometown whiz Bay got all the hype before the game, but arguably the best player on the field was Bucco teammate Sanchez.

It's kind of amazing that the A.L. won the game without using pitchers Liriano, Jenks and Poppelbon (DNPs), and Nathan, Putz, Randy and Mussina (not invited).

A reminder: I pointed out in this space last week that J J Putz of Seattle is my choice as the best closer in the game other than Mariano.

On Sunday, Putz closed out the Tigers 1-2-3 in the ninth inning on eight pitches.

Something you might have missed.

Did you notice that ESPN posted the final totals, and both sides had zero errors. So what did they call that play in the bottom of the ninth when third baseman Lopez booted Beltran's grounder?

Putz wasn't my only winner last weekend.

Folks who had the foresight to call my phone service (1-888-612-2283) for my world-famous racing selections did quite well thank you very much.

On Saturday, I went 3-for-3 at Belmont -- Noah A ($3.50 in a dead heat); Winzalot at $25, and best bet Wildcat Bettie B at $12.80 in the Prioress Stakes.

And, at Hollywood the same day, I hit four of the six legs in the $750,000 Pick Four, which paid $28,000.

This is one week after two $30-plus winners at Belmont, and Pinata at $16.40 in the Landaluce at Hollywood.

Just thought you needed to know.

Much to my surprise, trainer Jones told me that Wildcat Bettie B. will not go in the Test Stakes at Saratoga,,,but he intends to win the race with Hello Liberty. Also, don't be shocked if Jones wins Saturday's Delaware Oaks with Gasia.

Speaking of Saratoga, don't forget to check out 1-888-612-2283 for my Spa numbers. I expect there will be many more Winzalots and Wildcat Bettie Bs.

Which reminds me?

Just in case you forgot, trainer Jones told me back in February that Wildcat Bettie B. was a "freak", a fact which I duly noted at the time on this particular website.

Unfortunately, the news out of New Bolton doesn't sound good. According to reports, Barbaro has had some major setbacks, and his chances of survival are no better than 50-50.

You don't have to remind me of all the bad stuff going on in the world, but maybe we can all take a moment to say a prayer for this wonderful animal.

At the same time, there is a sports announcer in New York named Chris Carlin who should be fired on the spot.

During a sports update the other morning on the Don Imus national radio program, Carlin said, after reporting on Barbaro's setbacks: " Barbaro will be hamburger at Denny's."

I take it back.

Firing is not good enough for this guy.

Speaking of radio.

A caller to the same New York station WFAN on Sunday evening asked host Steve Sommers if Mets' shortstop Reyes will play in the All-Star Game.

Instead of admitting that he had no idea (the Monday papers were not out yet), Sommers told the caller: "Don't worry, I'm sure Reyes will play."

Is there no accountability anymore?

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