The good* The Toronto Blue Jays and...


The good

* The Toronto Blue Jays and SkyDome set a new major-league attendance record Monday when they surpassed the previous record of 3,608,881 set by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1982. "I never expected this," Blue Jays president Paul Beeston said, "but as amazing as this record is, what I find really amazing is 1987, when we jammed something like 2.8 million fans into Exhibition Stadium, by far the worst sporting facility there was around."

* Rookie pitchers Jim Neidlinger and Mike Hartley are two of the reasons the Dodgers have been able to compete in the NL West without Orel Hershiser and Tim Belcher. The two rookies are a combined 11-4, and Neidlinger has won his last five decisions.

* Montreal Expos reliever Tim Burke has been outstanding this month. Going into the weekend, he had pitched 13 2/3 innings and given up one hit and one walk on the way to five saves.

* New York Mets utility man Pat Tabler remains baseball's most dangerous man with the bases loaded. He has a career .500 batting average (40-for-80) when the bases are full, with two homers and 97 RBI.

The bad

* Dodgers outfielder Kirk Gibson spent six straight games on the bench thinking about the 1-for-29 slump that got him there. "I can only say I respect what Tommy [Lasorda] is doing," Gibson said. "Whether I agree with it is a different story." Gibson is hitting .202 since his average peaked at .299 Aug. 9.

* The California Angels have given up nearly twice as many unearned runs (87) this year as last (48), which might illustrate the infield instability that has hampered them all season. They have used six first baseman, eight second baseman, six third baseman and six shortstops in the course of the year.

* When the Baltimore Orioles took two out of three games from the Boston Red Sox this week, it was the first time since early June that the Orioles had taken a series from an AL East opponent. They had lost 13 straight series since taking two of three from the New York Yankees on June 8-10.

The downright ridiculous

* Two weeks ago, San Diego Padres outfielder Tony Gwynn found a Tony Gwynn doll hanging in the dugout with its hands and feet cut off. Last week, he suffered a season-ending hand injury, fracturing his right index finger trying to catch a ball that was produced in Haiti. You figure it out.

* The Pittsburgh Pirates have been searching the record books, and they can't find anyone in major-league history who has had 40 sacrifice bunts and 100 strikeouts in the same season. So they believe that shortstop Jay Bell will be the first if he gets four more sacrifices.

* The Blue Jays are pulling out all the stops in their attempt to win the AL East title. The guest speaker at Tuesday night's booster banquet was author W.P. Kinsella, whose book "Shoeless Joe" spawned the popular movie fantasy "Field of Dreams." But contrary to popular belief, Kinsella is not the one who assured SkyDome planners, "If you build it, they will sell out every night."

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