The gods must not like covered stadiums. Several people were injured when two 30-pound wooden tiles fell into the crowd at Toronto's SkyDome Thursday, in just the latest construction-related accident to befall one of baseball's indoor facilities. Here's a quick review: The inflatable ceiling ripped loose at the Metrodome during a severe storm in 1987 and sent fans scurrying. Montreal's retractable-roof Olympic Stadium had to be closed several years ago when a large concrete block crashed onto a walkway, and the Seattle Kingdome had to be closed for several weeks last season after several roof tiles plummeted to the field before a game between the Mariners and Orioles. This was the first time, however, that anyone had been hurt by falling debris.
The Milwaukee Brewers are not a factor in the AL Central race, but they have been just dangerous enough to make a difference in another division. They swept a three-game series from the Toronto Blue Jays last week and knocked the Jays to the bottom of the AL East standings. The Blue Jays appeared to be in position to make a move on the first-place Boston Red Sox when the week began. Instead, they finished the week with a six-game losing streak.. . . . The Chicago White Sox actually showed signs of life against the Cleveland Indians over the weekend, scoring 20 runs to win the first two games of the series. Of course, they were playing at Comiskey Park, where the White Sox actually look competitive. On the road, the Sox are 5-20, the worst road record in the majors.
Not a good week for the California Angels, who were forced to put leading hitter Chili Davis on the disabled list with a hamstring strain. Davis has ranked at or near the top of the AL batting ranks throughout the first two months of the season, so his absence could seriously affect the club's surprisingly cohesive offense. The Angels entered the week on a 6-1 roll, but lost a series to the Kansas City Royals and allowed the Texas Rangers to return to the top of the standings before the Angels reclaimed first yesterday. . . . The Rangers could be in position to take control of the division, especially if Juan Gonzalez continues to make up for lost time. Gonzalez has spent most of the season on the sidelines but has five homers since returning a couple of weeks ago.
Just when it looked as if Philadelphia was about to be run down by the pitching-rich Atlanta Braves, the Phillies staged another big run and reeled off six victories. Right in the middle of it all was Rule V draftee Michael Mimbs, whose win Thursday improved his record to 6-1. . . . Something has gone terribly wrong in Montreal. Expos fans have been getting champagne on a beer budget for the past year and a half, but the Expos suddenly look like a Canadian club on the rocks. They finally ended a six-game losing streak on Saturday, but have fallen 9 1/2 games behind the first-place Phillies. . . . The Expos can't be unhappy with the performance by former Orioles first baseman David Segui. He was acquired by the Expos to fill the void when Cliff Floyd went down with a season-threatening injury, is batting .326 with three homers and 18 RBIs.
The National League shouldn't have any trouble naming a Player of the Week today. Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa drove in 10 runs over a four-game span early in the week and took over the league lead in that department with 46. Sosa also has 14 home runs . . . Local product Denny Neagle (Arundel) had a two-hit shutout on Friday night to improve his record to 8-3 and make him the winningest pitcher in the National League; the rest of the Pittsburgh pitchers have just 13 wins.
San Diego Padres pitcher Joey Hamilton is proving that baseball doesn't need any rules changes to speed up games. It just needs more pitchers like Hamilton, who disposed of the Colorado Rockies in one hour and 55 minutes on Saturday night and has pitched the two shortest games of the 1995 season. "I like to work fast," Hamilton said. "I think it keeps the fielders on their toes. They're anticipating the next pitch and play.". . . . Hideomania continues to heat up in Los Angeles, where Japanese import Hideo Nomo pitched a two-hitter on Saturday night and struck out 13 Giants to improve his record to 5-1. He didn't burst onto the scene as dramatically as former Dodgers phenom Fernando Valenzuela, but he appears to be on his way to a better statistical first season than Valenzuela, who won the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards in 1981. The victory Saturday improved Nomo's record to 5-1 and reduced his ERA to 2.30.