California Angels General Manager Mike Port was upset about his team taking such a hard, fast dive from the race, so he did what any other well-meaning executive might do. He tried to inspire the boys.
It was the method that got the boys a bit upset.
Last Sunday, the Angels found copies of an interview with Chicago Cubs General Manager Dallas Green in their lockers. Several quotes had been circled, including one about how teams must put aside personal differences and problems and play together for a couple of hours a day.
"Some teams never get it and that's why there are collapses," Green was quoted as saying.
That same day, Port told a local reporter some of the Angels lacked heart and "some guys have their interests and problems at heart. Most guys know who they are. I've misread the team. I'm the one who gave those players to the manager. It's tough for 18 men to do a 24-man job."
Then he took off after reliever Donnie Moore: "Instead of worrying about his rib cage because of pitching three innings on the wrong night, he should have been out there earning his money. What do we pay him $1 million for? He's supposed to be in shape. We should be getting our money's worth."
Several players read the comments, then took off after Port. "If offense is supposed to be our Achilles' heel, why didn't they try to do anything about it?" Brian Downing asked. "There were players available; Tim Raines and others."
Moore asked to be traded, then said, "If I could have been out there pitching, I'd be out there. I've had 10 or 12 shots in my rib cage. You tell him to get 10 shots in his rib cage. If he's got something to say, say it to my face."
Port later talked to Moore in an effort to patch up things. For $1 million, Moore has pitched 26 2/3 innings, and since he gave up the home run to Dave Henderson in the playoffs, he has been booed every time he takes the mound at Anaheim Stadium.
Bob Boone has caught more major league games than any other man, a record that might be as untouchable as hitting in 56 straight games. Since the Phillies told him he was finished, he has played six years with the Angels, and caught 140 games or more in four of those years. He still has one of the best arms in the game, and never has spent a day on the disabled list despite four knee operations . . .
Cincinnati's Dave Parker has 93 RBI. It breaks down this way: 54 before the all-star break, 39 since. He has played the second half with a bad left knee. It has been drained twice and may need surgery. But with the emergence of youngsters Kal Daniels and Tracy Jones, Parker believes he might be trade bait for a pitcher this winter . . .
The Los Angeles Dodgers drew 16,415 Tuesday at Dodger Stadium, their smallest home crowd in 10 years. A night earlier, they drew 17,472. Wednesday, the Pope drew 63,000 for Mass at Dodger Stadium, but once upon a time, weren't the Dodgers a religion in southern California? . . .
Detroit Manager Sparky Anderson sent Frank Tanana to the bullpen after he went winless in seven starts, with a 9.33 ERA. He'll be replaced by former Baltimore Oriole Nate Snell.
Some eyebrows were raised when Dan Petry wasn't put back in the rotation, but Anderson said he didn't want to risk messing him up again. Petry is 2-0 with a 2.11 ERA since his mid-August demotion, and figures heavily in Detroit's playoff plans.
Anderson continues his campaign to get shortstop Alan Trammell the MVP award. "There are only two players worthy of being considered MVP, Alan Trammell and George Bell," Anderson said. "Don't clog your ballots with other names because if anybody votes for someone else, they're an idiot."
Bell leads the league in home runs and RBI and remains the favorite, but Trammell has had one of the best seasons for a shortstop. He has gone hitless in back-to-back games once since July 9-10, and he has a chance for a 100-run, 100-RBI, 200-hit season.
He's a lock for 100 runs and 100 RBI and will be the eighth shortstop this century to accomplish that. If he gets 22 hits in the Tigers' final 15 games, he'll be the third shortstop to have 200 hits, 100 RBI and 100 runs. The others were Cal Ripken Jr. in 1983 and Robin Yount in 1982. The seven shortstops who've had 100 RBI and 100 runs is an elite group: Yount, Ripken, Luke Appling (1936), Ernie Banks (1957-58), Lou Boudreau ('48), Joe Cronin (1930-31-37-40) and Honus Wagner (1901-05-08) . . .
It might be late season fatigue, but people near Davey Johnson wouldn't be stunned if he celebrated another Mets championship by quitting . . .
The Pittsburgh Pirates have trimmed their salary list and come up with a pitching staff of hard-throwing youngsters. Doug Drabek, acquired from the Yankees in the Rick Rhoden trade, looks like a No. 1 starter, and Mike Dunne, acquired from St. Louis in the Tony Pena deal, began the weekend with five victories in his last five starts. In his last 13 starts, Dunne is 9-1 with a 1.94 ERA. Incidentally, with 12 victories, he would be the Cardinals' No. 1 winner. Then there's reliever Jim Gott, acquired from the San Francisco Giants for Rick Reuschel. In his last 15 appearances, he has pitched 19 1/3 scoreless innings.
That deal also has worked out for the Giants, as almost all of their trades have. Since they picked up Dave Dravecky and Craig Lefferts from San Diego, they've gone 42-26. Since they got Don Robinson from Pittsburgh, they've gone 29-16. And finally, since they got Reuschel, they've gone 18-7 . . .
Has Mike Scott become intimidated about throwing his scuffball away from the Astrodome? In his last four home starts, he's 4-0 with a 1.40. In his last seven road starts, he's 0-6 with an 8.01 ERA. He and Manager Hal Lanier both received death threats before a series at San Francisco this week.
"I can't worry about it," Scott said. "I can't pitch from the popemobile." . . .
Did Chicago's Floyd Bannister come close to a no-hitter this week? The only hit against him was a single by Harold Reynolds. That also happened to be the only time he shook off catcher Carlton Fisk, who called for a slider. Bannister wanted a fastball . . . The Seattle Mariners hope to make home runs a little less cheap in the Kingdome next year by making the left field fence six feet higher . . . Pirates catcher Junior Ortiz had been having trouble with his eyesight, but when he was examined, a doctor suggested he clean his contact lens. Ortiz did and said, yes, that helped. It apparently had been six months since he last cleaned them.
Bring him Ollie North: New York Yankees third baseman Mike Pagliarulo refused to pose for a picture with actress Jane Fonda this week because, he said, he disagreed with Fonda's politics. He said his uncle, a Marine sergeant, would agree.