NEW YORK -- Right field in Yankee Stadium has never been kind to Bobby Bonilla, and yesterday was no exception.
Bonilla, a native New Yorker, is the target of much abuse from the fans, both verbal and from thrown objects. Yesterday, the outfield wall itself did Bonilla in.
Bonilla crashed into the wall trying to catch a drive by Tim Raines in the seventh inning. Bonilla had the ball in his glove momentarily, but dropped it after crashing into the wall, and left the game the next inning with a bruised left shoulder.
"I ran out of room," Bonilla said. "Actually, I think I had it until I fell down. [The shoulder] is a day-to-day type-thing. It'll take a lot to get me out [of the lineup today]."
Amazingly, as Bonilla sat on the warning track next to the outfield wall in pain, nothing was thrown or poured on him. Tony Tarasco, a late addition to the Orioles' playoff roster, replaced Bonilla in right field.
Winfield knows right field
Dave Winfield brought an expert's perspective to Tarasco's play on the controversial eighth-inning home run by Derek Jeter. Winfield spent nine seasons with the Yankees, mostly in right field. He watched the play on television while waiting for the start of the National League Championship Series, which he is working as an analyst for Fox.
Winfield said Tarasco's unfamiliarity with the right-field wall at Yankee Stadium might have been a factor on the play.
"The best way to play a ball that is at the top of the fence is to stop short and be prepared to vault against the wall," said Winfield, who won seven Gold Gloves. "Unfortunately, he backed up and he couldn't propel himself. Had he done that, there surely would have been a visible interference. It will be a heartbreak for the Orioles if they lose the series on that play."
Bushels of wagers
Gov. Parris N. Glendening challenged his Republican counterpart in New York yesterday to put up or clam up over the outcome of the Orioles-Yankees series.
New York Gov. George E. Pataki did both.
Glendening wagered a bushel of Maryland blue crabs that the Orioles will win the best-of-seven series against the Yankees for the American League pennant.
Pataki wasted no time in agreeing to the bet, backing it with the promise of a bushel of Long Island hard-shell clams -- "steam-ehs" in New York parlance -- that the Yankees will prevail.
"I'm looking forward to receiving a bushel of hard-shell clams from Governor Pataki," said Glendening, who made the wager during a pre-game interview on a New York radio station.
"We know it will be a tough, challenging series, and we are confident that our Orioles will be successful and earn their rightful place in the World Series," he said.
Pataki, of course, expressed his confidence in the Yankees.
"I have no doubt that the Yankees' perfect combination of seasoned veterans and brilliant young talent will send Dave Johnson's Orioles to an early tee time on the golf course," Pataki said.
Glad to keep Bonilla
Johnson said he's happy Bonilla isn't a free agent at the end of the season, as the Orioles believed he would be for most of the year.
The Orioles retain repeater rights on Bonilla, and Johnson said he hopes the club keeps the slugger around for another year.
"Bobby's been a very integral part of this club," Johnson said. "I like the fact that he's tied to us."
Wells, Cone on the owners
Today's Game 2 starters spoke yesterday about the competitive nature of their respective owners.
Wells said he heard about Steinbrenner's reaction when the owner learned that the lefty was signing with the Orioles, and not the Yankees.
"I heard about it when I was over in Hawaii," Wells said. "After all the facts were done, I heard Mr. Steinbrenner was a little upset. I don't know, maybe it's fate, maybe it's not. I'm just happy with my situation."
Cone said he's happy with his situation, too, but the Orioles were pretty close to securing his services.
"Certainly, you have to have aggressive owners with revenue streams that allow them to dig a little deeper," Cone said. "It was an interesting off-season for me personally and for both teams. It's kind of ironic that we're both where we're at, with a chance to go to the World Series."
Surhoff healthy enough
It wasn't much of a surprise that B. J. Surhoff started in left field yesterday, despite nagging knee and hamstring injuries.
Surhoff, the fourth Oriole with three homers in a postseason, and the first with three homers in a single playoff series, rested for three days between games. Johnson said Surhoff would have been 50-50 to start on Tuesday had the game been played.
"I think it helped him a great deal," Johnson said of Tuesday's rainout. "He got anther injection in his knee [Tuesday], and the swelling has gone down a little bit. His hamstring was bothering him, not only up high, but down low, and the stiffness up high is gone."
Johnson said Surhoff was at 90 percent yesterday in left field. Mike Devereaux replaced Surhoff in left field to start the eighth inning.
Surhoff's injury had nothing to do with Raines' double to left leading off the first inning. The ball fell in front of Surhoff in the twilight, leading to the Yankees' first run.
The sun wasn't out for Raines' at-bat, but Surhoff appeared to lose the ball against the background of the stands or in a bank of lights. Johnson spoke before the game about how hard it is to play left field at Yankee Stadium.
"I hope it's going to be overcast," Johnson said. "Left field in Yankee Stadium has always been the toughest place in baseball, with the shadows and picking the ball up off the bat. [Surhoff] is a grinder, and has done an excellent job wherever I put him."
Homers keep coming
The Orioles continued their offensive power show yesterday, hitting two more homers.
The Orioles have 11 home runs in five postseason games, after hitting a major-league record 257 homers in the regular season.
Yankees manager Joe Torre said he couldn't recall a team with as much power as the Orioles.
"The team that comes to mind is the 1976 Cincinnati Reds, but they didn't have the power that Baltimore has. Baltimore is by itself. They are tough. I see our strength as pitching, and if we don't do our job as well as we have all year, then we're going to struggle."
Pettitte pans performance
Before yesterday, Yankees starter Andy Pettitte was 3-0 with a 3.77 ERA in five appearances against the Orioles. He had dominated them since April 30, when he was raked for nine runs and eight hits in one inning.
He wasn't pleased with his seven innings yesterday. A leading contender for the Cy Young Award, Pettitte allowed home runs to Rafael Palmeiro and Brady Anderson and left with New York trailing 4-2.
"It was a struggle for me," said Pettitte, who threw 124 pitches. "My control wasn't there. I walked a lot of guys [four]. They had two leadoff walks and they both ended up scoring. And the home runs -- I just made terrible pitches. It's going to happen."
Williams maintains modesty
Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams is one of the best players in the American League, but he doesn't always get the recognition he deserves because of his calm demeanor.
Williams was asked last night after hitting his game-winning home run whether he will ever be known as a superstar.
"I'm more or less aware of the situation here in New York, if you do good things you get noticed," he said. "As long as I keep things in perspective and keep working hard, then everything's going to be all right."
No jitters for Jeter
Jeter, the Yankees' rookie shortstop, got off to a rough start in the postseason, stranding six runners in the first game of the Division Series against the Texas Rangers. But he's been on a roll since, including a 4-for-5 performance yesterday.
"After the first game in the Texas series, everyone said that I was a rookie and I was nervous and that I choked under pressure," he said. "You get hits sometimes, and sometimes you don't. Today I was lucky. I got three infield hits and maybe tomorrow I don't get a hit and you guys [the media] say that I struggled."
Thompson book signing
Orioles Hall of Fame broadcaster Chuck Thompson will be on hand to sign copies of his book, "Ain't The Beer Cold," from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. today at Souris' Saloon (537 York Road) in Towson. He will sign at the Babe Ruth Museum on Saturday.
The Yankees have come back to win their past four playoff games, including yesterday's victory over the Orioles.
Date Opp. ... Deficit ... ..Final
10-2 Texas ...4-2 in 6th ...W, 5-4
10-4 Texas ...2-1 in 8th ...W, 3-2
10-5 Texas ...4-0 in 3rd ...W, 6-4
10-9 Orioles .4-2 in 6th ...W, 5-4
Pub Date: 10/10/96