Out-of-touch Myers refuses to face mothers or music

THE BALTIMORE SUN

And you thought it was bad Saturday when Randy Myers called for the firing of an Orioles employee making approximately 100 times less than he does.

The clueless closer topped that yesterday.

He dissed Mother's Day.

In one of the all-time stupid ballplayer tricks, Myers refused to join his teammates in handing out flowers to mothers arriving at Camden Yards.

Every other healthy Oriole participated in the unannounced holiday greeting, welcoming fans at the gates in their full uniforms.

Myers said he declined because the club refused to allow the Orioles' wives to pass out fliers at the gates for their "Hits for the Homeless" campaign last season.

Because the public- relations gesture took place an hour before game time. And because the club failed to provide the players with enough notice.

Oh, and by the way, Myers still thinks the guy in the Orioles production booth should be fired.

But back to yesterday's offense, which was a lot worse than any of Myers' blown saves.

"It's a double standard they have here," Myers said. "Last year, when they had the food drive, the wives, girlfriends and fiancees all wanted to be able to pass out a little flier to let people know they were collecting food for homeless shelters, different food banks.

"From what I've heard, they were told that nothing can be handed out at the gates. If they can't hand things out at the gates trying to raise money for homeless shelters and food banks, why would we be able to hand out flowers on Mother's Day?

"I just don't see why you can do one and not the other."

But, Randy, this was Mother's Day

"That's food for kids, food for the homeless," Myers retorted. "They raised $2 million. Let's say they could have doubled it. How many kids would that have helped? How many homeless people?

"Plus, the other thing is, an hour before the game, I'm getting ready for a game, preparing for a game."

Whatever, Myers wasn't missed.

But his charges left club officials dumbfounded.

"I'm sorry we had this misunderstanding with Randy," said Julie Wagner, Orioles director of community relations. "It's too bad we didn't get a chance to talk about it before the game today.

"I don't remember the meeting where this was brought up by the wives. But if they asked, our natural response would be, when we've handed out paper products at the games, people end up throwing it on the ground. It becomes a big trash and litter problem.

"Most women are not going to take a flower, say, 'Yuck' and throw it on the ground. They're going to take it to their seats and take it home with them."

Wagner said she cleared the promotion with Orioles player rep Mike Mussina weeks ago. It took place an hour before the game to avoid interfering with batting practice.

Are the details even important?

Myers committed the mother of all snubs.

His next target: apple pie.

Indeed, it's a good thing the Orioles are in Atlanta on Father's Day.

He was wrong by any reasonable standard of decency yesterday, even if you applaud his passion for the homeless.

The problem is, you no longer can judge professional athletes the same way you judge ordinary human beings.

Many are on their own planet, somewhere around Jupiter.

Myers is out beyond Pluto.

He was right to complain Saturday about the music from the public- address system that interrupted his pitch to Alex Rodriguez in the 10th inning.

But if Myers had any concept of life in the real world -- and how can he when he's earning $3.7 million for pitching 60 innings a season? -- he wouldn't have dared call for the firing of a low-level Orioles employee.

"It's not the first time it's happened," he said again yesterday. "If someone continues to make mistakes "

Continues?

The Orioles believe the incident was a first, but never mind.

Myers maintained yesterday that he strained a muscle by not releasing his slider, but again declined to say where he was hurt.

Manager Davey Johnson said the closer was upset because he had been injured in a similar incident earlier in his career.

However, he was available to pitch yesterday.

"I'll fight through it for three or four weeks, deal with it," Myers said. "You get hurt all the time. But something like that is uncalled for. We aren't in a basketball game."

That's true, but the Orioles have toned down their music and scoreboard graphics, which reached obnoxious levels during last year's American League Championship Series.

This time, they just blew it.

Plate umpire Dave Phillips called timeout to instruct the public-address booth to stop the music. Myers then walked Rodriguez.

"The guy made a mistake," said Mike Lehr, Orioles executive director of broadcasting and marketing, about the blunder in the production booth.

"We have a computerized system run by a mouse. The guy clicked on something that should not have gone out to the ballpark for a second, and it did.

"He made a human error. He was trying to get something ready for the next inning."

Like Myers, Phillips didn't want to hear it.

"You don't play music. It's just not professional," the umpire said.

"Maybe it was a mistake. But it was an embarrassing mistake for them. He [Myers] obviously was disconcerted, as was the catcher, as was the umpire, as was everybody on the field."

Fine, the guy screwed up.

But if Myers thinks he should be fired, let's fire him the next time he blows a save.

Better yet, let's keep him around and make him an usher, so he can better appreciate life as a working stiff.

He's a free agent after this season.

Maybe the Orioles should ask him now about giving out flowers next Mother's Day -- assuming they even want him back.

"If they would have done it two hours before the game, let us know a week ahead of time " Myers said.

Well, every one of his teammates made it outside, except for four who were receiving medical treatment in the trainer's room.

As always, Randy Myers had to be different.

He dissed Mother's Day.

Pub Date: 5/12/97

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