Dear Mr. Baseball:
What has happened to former Orioles outfielder Luis Mercedes?
Dear Elliott Polansky:
Not to boast, but some nifty detective work -- calls to three major-league teams, and a wrong number -- led to the information you're seeking. Along the way, Mr. Baseball also turned up the whereabouts of performer Bobby Goldsboro and a tree surgeon who once tidied the yard of Channel 11 forecaster Tom Tasselmyer, but that's a future column.
Mercedes, 27, had a terrific minor-league career in the Orioles' system, cracking the .300 mark four times. But he also had a really bad temper, something that seemed to explain the flying batting helmets featured in some of his games.
In April 1993, the Orioles traded Mercedes to the San Francisco Giants for pitcher Kevin McGehee. It's been downhill since then. The Giants released him in March 1994, and he played winter ball near his home in the Dominican Republic.
As best as Mr. Baseball can tell, Mercedes' last baseball job was with the Triple-A Calgary Cannons, a Pittsburgh Pirates' affiliate. He was released May 17.
Dear Mr. Baseball:
I have a question regarding the left-field, upper-deck-concourse concession stand around Section 385. Why hasn't it been open the past couple of games?
Dear Patrick Brannan:
If Mr. Baseball were a betting man -- which he isn't, no matter what Pete Rose told Bart Giamatti -- he would wager big that the gourmet chefs at ARA-Mark could handle this question. Unfortunately, the stadium cooks did not return calls from the Mr. Baseball investigative staff.
Your columnist turned to Orioles official Walt Gutowski, who laid out the whole story. According to Walt, the food stand you are referring to is near sections that have been slow to sell out. If ARA figures too few fans are coming to a particular game, it closes stands in that location.
The good news is that your stand recently reopened -- with shrimp scampi as the lunch special.