Archive for Sunday, July 16, 2000

Alomar assists ump

July 16, 2000


— Four years ago, Roberto Alomar and umpire John Hirschbeck had their infamous argument, in which the second baseman spit at the umpire.

Last week, Alomar helped raise $140,000 to fund research to cure adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), a brain disease that killed Hirschbeck's 8-year-old son, John Drew, in 1993

Michael Hirschbeck, the umpire's 13-year-old son, also has the disease.

"It's all turned into a happy ending," John Hirschbeck said this week.

Alomar taped a message that was played last Sunday at an auction that raised $67,000. The second baseman collected 25 Indians jerseys after a game last month, had the players autograph them and then gave them to Hirschbeck to auction.

The two-day event, which included a golf tournament Monday at Fonderlac Country Club in Poland, Ohio, raised $140,000. Hirschbeck has raised $365,000 in three years.

"Maybe God put us in this world to help somebody beat this disease," Alomar said earlier this season.

Catching up: Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer has spent more than a half-century in pro baseball, but he was still as giddy as a Little Leaguer on opening day when artist LeRoy Neiman brought him a present.

Ol' Popeye was sitting in the Yankees dugout at Shea Stadium last weekend when Neiman took out a Zimmer signature-model glove from nearly 50 years ago and asked him to autograph it.

"Are you kidding me?" Zimmer beamed as he studied the dark-leather relic, barely bigger than his hand. "I haven't seen this since I used it,"

Zimmer, who made 156 errors in his 12-year major league career primarily as an infielder, was eager to show off the mitt to a few of today's Yankees infielders.

"Did you use that in the '30's?" All-Star shortstop Derek Jeter joked as he marveled at Zimmer's signature stamped in the glove.

Gold Glove third baseman Scott Brosius, whose own custom glove consumes Zimmer's Sonnett model, laughed along. "You actually played with this?" he said.

"I had a little trouble snatching line drives, but it worked," Zimmer said.

Added Jeter: "I'd have 162 errors with that thing. One for each game."

Umpire front: Negotiations for a new labor contract for major league umpires resume Monday in Baltimore. The sides reported progress when they met in New York shortly before the All-Star game.

Meanwhile, the AFL-CIO is supporting efforts of minor league umpires to unionize.

"Baseball's umpires ... are entitled not only to just compensation, but also to fair work standards, reasonable working conditions and respect from their employers for their voices, professional contributions and independent judgment," AFL-CIO president John Sweeney said in a statement. "If umpires are not protected, if they do not hold the right to speak freely or enjoy reasonable assurances of job security, then the entire game is at risk."

Trade deadline nearing: Philadelphia Phillies ace Curt Schilling wonders whether this will be the year he finally is traded.

Phillies general manager Ed Wade says he would have to be overwhelmed to make a deal.

"I always felt in past years that no matter how much he talked, it was nothing he would seriously consider," Schilling said. "I honestly believe he is this year. From what I hear, he'll have to be overwhelmed, but the potential is there."

Baltimore is another team with a pitcher to deal: Scott Erickson, who earlier this month gained the right to block a deal because he's a 10-year veteran who has been with the same team for five years.

If the Orioles slide farther during the All-Star break, despite playing 17 of 20 games at home, they might make deals.

"It's going to be good to be here. But as far as the next 20 days being a guideline or barometer in which way the organization goes, I don't think that's the case," manager Mike Hargrove said. "That's pretty much been decided, and we'll see what is we're doing as we go along."

If the Orioles don't make a move in the standings, then vice president of baseball operations Syd Thrift will be working the phones.

"We have an idea of what we want to do," Hargrove said, "and we're in the process of taking care of those things."

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