McDonald's gator tale is no crock


SARASOTA, Fla. -- Big Ben is at it again.

Ben McDonald, the Orioles' 6-foot-7 pitcher and resident alligator catcher, brought a live pair of shoes into the clubhouse before yesterday's workout.

"Can I bring a gator into the clubhouse?" McDonald asked assistant trainer Jamie Reed. Or, at least, words to that effect.

"You don't have an alligator," said Reed. Or, at least, words to that effect.

Sure enough, McDonald hauled out an alligator estimated (exaggerated?) to be four feet long, his mouth held closed by a sweat band. "Get that thing out of here," said Reed, and everybody else in the vicinity. Or, at least, words to that effect.

It seems that McDonald, while fishing Monday night, hooked the alligator by its tail -- and couldn't resist keeping it around for a while.

When manager Frank Robinson heard about the episode, he asked McDonald: "Where's your friend?"

"What friend?" replied McDonald.

"The four-legged one," said Robinson.

"I let him go out in the lake back there -- he attacked me last night," quipped McDonald, who has been known to hunt these creatures back in his native Louisiana, where evidently there isn't much for a growing boy to do for fun.

Don't be surprised if McDonald's next contract has an anti-alligator clause.

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