Passing strangers make for classic run of inept offense All-Star notebook


Even with the roof of the SkyDome open, it's doubtfu tonight's All-Star Game will develop into a home run contest. Recent history suggests a low-scoring game.

The winning team has scored more than three runs only once ithe last five years. The American League has won the last three by scores of 2-1, 5-3 and 2-0. The National League won 2-0 in 1987 and the AL won 3-2 in 1986.

"Hitters get one at-bat against a pitcher they have hardly, if everseen before," said Milwaukee's Paul Molitor, explaining the low scores. "I think it is very difficult for hitters to be successful in that situation. In one at-bat, the pitcher has a better chance to dominate, no matter how good a hitter the guy happens to be."

Conditions permitting, tonight's game will be played outdoorsPlans are to open the SkyDome's retractable roof during pre-game ceremonies.

* FOREIGN FLAVOR: The two leagues missed a chance for an international goodwill coup when they named Minnesota's Jack Morris and Atlanta's Tom Glavine as the starting pitchers. With the All-Star Game being played out of the United States for only the second time (it was held in Montreal in 1982), there was an ideal possibility of an all-Canadian matchup.

Montreal's Dennis Martinez and Toronto's Jimmy Key botpitched last on Friday and were among the most rested starters available.

* LOVE IT OR HATE IT: George Bell on playing in Chicago, as opposed to Toronto: "I can't hit in Chicago. It's just like Toronto. I can't see the ball."

Joe Carter on playing in Toronto as opposed to San Diego: "Iwas difficult to leave San Diego after just one year, but if I had to be traded this is the place to be traded to -- it's like playing in a country club, with 50,000 people in the park every night."

* TWO GOOD: The Seattle Mariners scored a double victory in award presentations yesterday. Ken Griffey Jr. was the top vote-getter in the fan balloting for the starting lineups. Harold Reynolds was the recipient of the 21st Roberto Clemente Award, given in consideration of sportsmanship, community involvement and an individual's contribution to his team and baseball.

"It's a great honor," said Griffey Jr., "but I should let you knothat I cheated. While my dad [teammate Ken Griffey Sr.] was on the disabled list, I had him stuffing the ballot boxes."

Reynolds, a native of the Pacific Northwest, has been involved iseveral charities in the community in the eight years he's been with the Mariners. "To be rewarded for helping people is nice," he said, "but I think some of the things I do should be the norm, not the exception. When people need help, you should help them."

* THIS 'N THAT: Tony La Russa, the AL manager, said that he would spot his lefthanders, Key and California's Mark Langston, as possible late-inning relievers. Lou Piniella said his choice for a starting pitcher was a tossup between Glavine and Martinez.

The Orioles' Cal Ripken will hit in his customary third spot for thAL, behind Rickey Henderson and Wade Boggs and ahead of Cecil Fielder, Danny Tartabull, Dave Henderson.

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