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Sunday, June 13, 1993 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Inside Pitch

Brawl-Timore Bash Ranks As One Of Mariner Top Three

Times Staff: Times News Services

As brawls go, the Baltimore Bash ranks as one of the three most memorable in Seattle Mariner history.

The others occurred August 13, 1983 against the Angels in Anaheim, Calif., and June 30, 1990, against the Brewers at the Kingdome.

The 1983 "go" began when Seattle pitcher Bryan Clark had words with California batter Rod Carew, who kept jawing at Clark as he ran past the mound after grounding out. Clark threw his glove down, and while Carew hesitated, Angel shortstop Rick Burleson charged the mound from the on-deck circle.

Burleson suffered the worst injury, a separated right shoulder, after being tackled from the blind side by Spike Owen, then a Mariner rookie. The most memorable participant had to be Seattle outfielder Al Cowens, who was on the disabled list but came charging out of the clubhouse to get involved - wearing his underwear and shower shoes.

The 1990 incident had a long history, stretching back to spring training of 1989 when the Mariners and Brewers cleared benches for push-and-shove twice in one day, in each game of a day-night doubleheader. That May the pot kept boiling when Milwaukee's Bill Spiers put catcher Dave Valle on the disabled list with what many considered an unnecessary hit as Valle threw to first to complete a double play.

Finally, on June 30, a pitch by Milwaukee's Bob Sebra hit Tracy Jones, who charged the mound. Sebra came off the mound to meet him and start a brawl that eventually wound up in front of the bullpen down the right-field line. Worst hurt in that game was Milwaukee Manager Tom Trebelhorn, slammed to the turf by Seattle infielder Jeff Schaefer.

Before the takedown, Trebelhorn had kept the incident going with angry shouting and punching. Sebra was among those suspended, and he never pitched in the majors again.

A NOSTALGIC LOOK

Schaefer, in Syracuse this week playing for Cleveland's Class AAA Charlotte club, said he saw film of the Mariner-Oriole fight on his hotel-room TV.

"It got me all nostalgic," said Schaefer, a funny and feisty player for the Mariners for three years.

"I was suffering withdrawal so I started punching my pillow. I saw Omar (Vizquel) get hit and I saw Jay (Buhner) and Randy (Johnson) in the middle of it. There are a few warriors left. I do remember that fight with Milwaukee. When you hit .114 like me, it was the highlight of my major-league career."

PROBLEMS WITH UMPIRES

The Brawl-timore fiasco, in which Oriole pitcher Mike Mussina escaped ejection after doing his part to start the fight, was hardly the first difference of opinion the Mariners have had with umpire Durwood Merrill, who was behind the plate for that game.

Seattle officials once did some informal checking and figured that between 1982 and 1987, their club was 2-14 in games in which Merrill was plate umpire.

In addition, he was at first base the infamous Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium when then-manager Chuck Cottier got so angry at a missed call that he pulled first base from the ground and tossed it into right field. Cottier went back to the bench and tossed 20-odd bats onto the field.

The Mariners are not alone in problems with umpires. After umpire Bob Davidson ejected three Phillies and called a balk on Larry Andersen that all but decided a game against the Reds recently, Darren Daulton said, "He's one of those impact umpires. In my opinion, the game was on ESPN, and he couldn't wait to suit up and make an impact. He's one of those guys . . . You go into his house, and there's lots of pictures of himself and none of his family."

SHORT STOPS

Believe it or not, the Seattle Pilots hold a record that is not negative, and they may lose it this year. The Florida Marlins have not been swept in any of the 20 series they have played. The Pilots went 28 series before the were swept, the longest sequence ever by a first-year franchise.

-- Ron Schueler, White Sox general manager, denies it, but rumors persist that Chicago and Philadelphia were recently close to exchanging slumping relievers Mitch Williams and Bobby Thigpen.

-- A new Advil commercial with Nolan Ryan has Ryan throwing a fastball after the catcher signals - with two fingers down - for a curve. You don't want to be looking for Ryan's curve when he throws his fastball.

-- When the Mets scored seven runs in the fourth inning of their 50th game, it wasn't just their most productive inning of the season. They had scored seven or more in only six of their first 49 games. And they had lost three of those six.

-- Lee Smith's earned-run average in Pennsylvania this season is 16.88. Elsewhere it's 1.13.

-- The Phillies became the ninth team since the inception of the playoffs in 1969 to enter June 19 games over .500. Seven of those won the division. The only casualty was the 1978 Boston Red Sox.

-- Pete Incaviglia had hits in four successive innings in the Phillies' recent 18-1 demolition of the Rockies.

RIPKEN AND GEHRIG

Cal Ripken Jr.'s streak is 11 years old, and still is two years short of Lou Gehrig's record of 2,130 straight games. The debate drones on about how much it is costing Ripken or his team. Yet Baltimore Manager Johnny Oates will not consider sitting his struggling star, saying at this point Ripken "will have to take himself out of the lineup."

That has been said before. In the final month of Gehrig's streak, he was a sick man, but Manager Joe McCarthy would not bench him. "If Lou can't play, he'll have to take himself out of the lineup," McCarthy said. "I won't do it."

Said Gehrig at the time, "Joe would let me go until the cows came home. He's that considerate of my feelings." Gehrig, dying with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, took himself out May 2, 1939. He died two years later, two weeks shy of his 38th birthday.

NO LONGER ERRORLESS

The Times' baseball notebook booted one last week, saying that the Mariners had drafted catcher Dennis Twombley of San Diego as its second pick (third round). Wrong. The catcher taken was Ed Randolph of Roosevelt High School in Dallas. Baseball America ranked him 50th among prospects for his offense but noted the youngster did not play well behind the plate this year.

BASICALLY, A BUNCH OF IDIOTS

John Kruk, asked during a conference call (and for the umpteenth time this season) about the "wild" personalities on the Phillies:

"We've got mostly guys who are real quiet. We kind of stick to ourselves. We don't really play loud music, we don't have long hair or beards or nothing. We're pretty conservative, really. I can't believe how everyone made that mistake in saying we're a bunch of crazy people, because we're really not . . ."

A long pause greeted Kruk on the other end of the phone. "I just blew your question out of the water, didn't I?" Kruk said, laughing. "No, we have a good time. There's a bunch of idiots here, basically."

QUOTABLE

New York Mets owner Nelson Doubleday on his early impressions of new Manager Dallas Green, "I was at a cocktail party some years ago. Sophia Loren was there. We were publishing her book. When she looks at you, you know you've been looked at. The same with Dallas."

Some information for this notebook was obtained from Associated Press, Newsday, Knight-Ridder Newspapers, Toronto Globe and Mail, and Providence Journal.

Copyright (c) 1993 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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