Stunts Are No Way to Blow Up a Hitting Slump

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 8, 2008 | Go to article overview

Stunts Are No Way to Blow Up a Hitting Slump


Byline: Dan Daly, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Pedro Cerrano, trying to deal with a brutal batting slump in "Major League": "[My] bats, they are sick. I cannot hit curveball. Straightball I hit very much. Curveball, bats are afraid. I ask Jobu to come, take fear from bats. I offer him cigar, rum. He will come."

Teammate Eddie Harris: "You know, you might think about taking Jesus Christ as your savior instead of fooling around with all this stuff."

Pedro: "Jesus, I like him very much, but he no help with curveball."

Eddie: "You trying to say Jesus Christ can't hit a curveball?"

Slumps - and the hysteria that surrounds them - make ballplayers do strange things. The Chicago White Sox, for instance, offended sensibilities Sunday by bringing two naked female dolls into their clubhouse and arranging bats around them in an X-rated display. Actually, not all of the bats were around their inflatable guests. One of them was ... oh, never mind

Anyway, this is how the White Sox, last in the American League in hitting at .232 (going into last night), tried to get their offense going again - with some unconditional love from a couple of blown-up Baseball Annies. To complete the picture for you, each wore a sign over her breasts bearing an, uh, inspirational message. Call it a Shrine to the Mendoza Line.

If the dolls had any effect on the team's fortunes, it was delayed. The Sox managed only four hits that day and four the next before "erupting" for seven runs and 11 hits in a win over the Twins.

It was all just an attempt to "have fun and stay loose," skipper Ozzie Guillen told the Chicago Sun-Times. "I'm not going to make the players apologize." Besides, he said, "Those dolls don't work. Hopefully, we come up with something better."

Like what, Susan Sarandon giving the White Sox a pregame pep talk - "breathe through your eyelids" - and then dispensing garter belts for the players to wear underneath their uniforms? (Hey, it worked for Nuke LaLoosh, the scatter-armed fireballer in "Bull Durham.")

Of course, we can't get too down on the Sox. They're just looking for any straw to grasp, the averages of several of them - Jose Uribe (.195), Nick Swisher (.196), Jim Thome (.209), Orlando Cabrera (.214), Paul Konerko (.220) - hovering ominously around .200.

And let's not forget, the day before, they had tried to waken their bats in a much more acceptable - indeed, traditional - way: by shaving the head of one of their coaches. …

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