OKAY, PETER UEBERROTH and Keith Hernandez and all of you spokesmen and agents and lawyers: you've had your say about cocaine and crime and punishment and some of you have probably done the right thing in this regard, but now it's time for you to get out of here with that stuff. Also, we've heard enough on contracts and arbitration and incentive clauses, and of the whiny voices of players who think they should be getting more.
They should all be silent now, because we want to get down to serious business. To begin with, roll this name across your breakfast table: Incaviglia. Down in spring training land there is an outfield fence made of plywood one inch thick, and at the top of it is a hole roughly the size of a baseball. Pete Incaviglia, former college star, now in training with the Texas Rangers, smacked a home run right through the fence, and here he is a man who'd never played a pro game. Have you ever heard of such a thing? If your answer is "Why yes, just a couple of years ago; the guy lasted about six weeks with the . . ." -- well, we don't want to hear about it.
What we want to hear about is the incredible Jesus Rios, age 22, scourge of the Mexican League, who, according to a report in this paper, "throws a knuckle ball with a Dan Quisenberry submarine delivery and other zany pitches, and a year ago went 21-4, with an amazing 26 complete games, for the Mexico City Tigers." The Philadelphia Phillies paid $10,000 just to have a look at him. And if to all that you say, "Yes, and they'll look some more and he'll probably go on to pitch a lot more complete games in faraway Mexico City," then we don't want to hear from you any more than we do from Keith Hernandez.
What we want to hear is that Mike Boddicker can pitch again, that Andres Galarraga, age 24, formerly of Venezuela, will electrify the French-speaking crowds in Montreal in his very first year, and that young Mike Smith will make it with the Cincinnati Reds. Richard Justice reported in The Post yesterday that Mike Smith has a "90-mph-plus fast ball and a new split-finger offspeed pitch" and that when ordering a salad recently in a restaurant, he said, "Be sure to put some of them neutrons on it." Reports like these are the croutons on the salad of life.