Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fans Get Idea as Henderson Flashes Signs

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fans Get Idea as Henderson Flashes Signs

Article excerpt

The Rickey Henderson Experience made its debut at Busch Stadium on Tuesday. Are you experienced?

Many of the 51,328 patrons at Busch Stadium are, particularly those who were sitting near left field. They spent much of Tuesday's playoff game between the Cardinals and Padres exchanging gestures and taunts with the flamboyant San Diego outfielder.

"I think they paid more attention to me than they paid to the game," said Henderson, who answered back several times. "But it's been that way all my life. For whatever reason, people like to see me fail or have a bad game. I enjoy it. It keeps me in the game." Henderson is a natural target for myriad reasons. For one, he has some history with Cardinals fans. When he broke Lou Brock's career stolen base record in 1991, Henderson made some awkward comments about unseating Brock as the "greatest" base-stealer of all time. The comparison, especially with Brock on hand to witness the event, rubbed many St. Louisans wrong. Brock, who also was in attendance Tuesday, never paid it any mind. "He made a speech when he was emotionally excited and he was trying to be cute," Brock said. "He put himself out on a limb, so to speak, the same way you do as a base-stealer, but in this instance, he couldn't get back. The public held him accountable. In that situation, he doesn't get a next time up." Henderson also has had publicized differences with his former manager in Oakland, Tony La Russa, who now manages the Cardinals. Then there is his unique manner. Henderson, 37, has his own - some might say inflammatory - style of doing things. "He fits into the 1990s type player," Brock said with a smile, "an in-your-face player, which is acceptable today. In the 1960s and 1970s, you didn't want to be demonstrative. In fact, you didn't want to do anything to draw attention to yourself." Then, there is one other hard, cold fact to inspire opposing fans to single Henderson out for abuse. He's good, especially during the postseason. On Tuesday, Henderson was in typical playoff posture. He homered off Cardinals starter Todd Stottlemyre in the sixth inning, trimming the Padres' deficit to 3-1. …

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