American League President Bobby Brown said it best:
"I don't think any thoughts concerning expansion are bizarre."
Here, then, are a few more thoughts concerning the National League's two-team expansion that will occur in 1993:
American League clubs might become involved in the expansion draft in exchange for a share of the entry fees. "The American League was discussed, but we arrived at no conclusion," NL Expansion Committee Chairman Douglas Danforth of the Pittsburgh Pirates said Thursday after ownership meetings in Cleveland. "Historically, the league that's expanding supplies the players. That may be how this eventually ends up."
This is part of the NL's attempt to make the expansion teams as competitive as possible as quickly as possible. For now, when the draft takes place in November 1992, each expansion team will end up drafting 36 players. Baseball's last two expansion teams, the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays, each drafted 30 players in 1976. The upcoming expansion teams will participate in the amateur free-agent draft in June 1992 and will be allowed to field minor league teams in 1992.
The Mariners and Blue Jays did not participate in the June draft until 1977 (their first seasons) and did not field minor league teams until that year. Seattle did not have teams at each minor league level until 1979, Toronto until 1980 (the Blue Jays had several Class A teams in '79, and added the AA team in '80).
"These teams will be pretty competitive," said Houston Astros Chairman John McMullen, a member of the expansion committee.
But competitiveness does not come without a price. Operating the minor league teams earlier will not be cheap. And McMullen said getting more players from the existing teams will help add to the entry fee because the existing teams will want to recoup the $2.5 million to $3.5 million he said it generally costs a team to develop a player from the draft to the majors. (The Sporting News last week carried a story detailing how the White Sox spent more than $1.8 million grooming pitcher Donn Pall, who needed 36 months to reach the majors.)
It is possible the NL will realign its divisions as a result of expansion. "It has been discussed in a very general way," Danforth said. "We're not ruling that out." One team in Florida and one in Denver or Phoenix might prompt thoughts of moving St. Louis and Chicago to the West Division and moving Cincinnati and Atlanta to the East. Two expansion teams in the same region of the country also might prompt moves. Said Pirates President Carl Barger: "We'll take the two best franchises, wherever they may be, and then adjust accordingly." . . .
Other expansion observations: One group seeking a team for Miami distributed a brochure that had two baseballs pictured on its cover -- one ball was generic, the other an official American League model. Several hundred fans from Buffalo, under the banner of Rally Buffalo's Interest (a support group not associated with prospective owner Bob Rich's organization), staged "The Stampede to Cleveland" -- a Thursday bus trip to the meetings. The fans paraded and chanted in front of the hotel where the owners were meeting, prompting several baseball people to note the proximity of Buffalo to Cleveland. The city already faces problems because of its proximity to Toronto and New York. Back in the Real World
Casey Candaele, a 5-foot-9, 165-pound infielder for the Astros has three home runs in 761 career at-bats. He has hit two of them this season against the Dodgers, the second on Monday night at the Astrodome after he had entered the game in the seventh inning as a defensive replacement.
"I think everybody in the stadium was, like, 'How in the hell did he do that?' " Candaele said. "When I was running the bases, everybody was giving me funny looks like, 'That didn't just happen, did it?' " . . .
Going into the weekend, the Indians were 4-4 when they had gotten five hits or fewer and 9-10 when they had gotten 10 hits or more. . . . With 18 homers and 11 stolen bases, Ryne Sandberg has a chance to become the first Cubs player to have 30 homers and 30 stolen bases in a season. He already is the only Cubs player with 150 of each in his career. . . .
The Twins, who set a club record by going 21-7 in May, were 3-10 in June through Friday. The Giants, who were 8-12 in April and 11-17 in May, were 13-1 in June . For the month San Francisco has scored 107 runs (7.6 per game) and batted .325. . . .
Hopefully, the Expos' Otis Nixon won't end up one stolen base short of an incentive bonus. Monday night against the Phillies he appeared to have stolen second base, but was sent back to first when home plate umpire Mike Winters called himself for interfering with catcher Darren Daulton's throw. On Father's Day
The race is on for the honor of becoming the major leagues' first three-generation family. The Indians have signed 17-year-old David Bell, their seventh-round choice in last week's draft. And the Mariners, who already had Jim Campanis for a year, have signed Brett Boone, their fifth-round choice last week from the University of Southern California. Just in case you needed reminding, the fathers and grandfathers are Buddy and Gus Bell, Jim and Al Campanis, Bob and Ray Boone. . . .
The Cardinals' Pedro Guerrero hit the 200th homer of his career Monday night. He hit No. 199 on May 1. . . . Twins pitcher John Candelaria's recent victory in Toronto makes him the only pitcher to win major league games at four stadiums in Canada. He's won at SkyDome and Exhibition Stadium in Toronto, Olympic Stadium and Jarry Park in Montreal. Worms in the Apple
Negative New York Notes of the Week: The Yankees' new hitting coach Darrell Evans hit a lot of homers in his career, but his .249 career batting average is second-lowest of any nonpitcher who played 2,400 games or more. . . . In his remarkable career, Nolan Ryan has pitched six no-hitters, 12 one-hitters, 19 two-hitters, 29 three-hitters and 26 four-hitters. Of those 92 relatively low-hit games in 686 career starts (one per 7.5 starts), nine came for the organization that first signed him -- the Mets. . . .
Bonus Negative New York Note of the Week: Dave Winfield entered the weekend with a seven-game hitting streak in which he was 10 for 25 with three doubles, four homers and nine RBI -- for the Angels.