Monday, August 28, 2006


This writer has been getting questions about Jose Canseco, who has not played in a couple of weeks. The same question could be raised about Juan Gonzalez. We will touch on that duo later in this message, but how about some uplifting news first?

The Long Island (NY) Ducks, for whom Gonzalez still is listed on the roster, are going to get more attention this week because they will greet their 3,000,000th fan at Citibank Park, as long as the weatherman cooperates. The capacity-to-overflow crowds keep coming (6,002), they need only 22,588 more fans, and they have home Atlantic League games all week starting Tuesday. Early congratulations to Frank Boulton and the organization.

Our eyes also are on Havana, Cuba, where Team USA has won its first two games in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, with the two Independent Baseball graduates on the 24-man team playing key roles. Second baseman Bobby Hill (Newark, Atlantic League, 2000) scored twice and drove in a run in the opening 9-3 win over Canada Saturday, and Jeff Farnsworth (Atlantic City, '04, and Newark, '05, both in the Atlantic) got the win with a scoreless 10th Sunday as the USA edged Brazil, 8-7.

And wasn't it impressive that the top four in the Canadian batting order against Davey Johnson's USA team all played Indy Baseball this season. 2B Stubby Clapp and LF Jeremy Ware, who hit leadoff and cleanup, respectively, were at Edmonton in the Northern League while SS Kevin Nicholson and RF Ryan Radmanovich, who hit second and third, play for Somerset, NJ in the Atlantic League.

The top two teams in this 11-day event qualify for the '08 Olympics in China, with the third and fourth place teams advancing to a secondary qualifying event.

As for Canseco and Gonzalez, neither has appeared in a game in some time. Neither Long Beach, CA, where Canseco has been a struggling DH and knuckleball pitcher, nor Long Island, where Gonzalez (.308-6-19 in 29 games) was playing pretty regularly until his last appearance August 8, has provided anything in the way of specific explanations to our questions about the recent absences.

We can tell you the Yuma (AZ) Sun quoted Canseco a few days ago that he could not stay for a weekend Long Beach-Yuma series because he needed "to get back to take care of his daughter" Josie, who is nine. The Golden League season ends Monday night, and the playoffs, without Canseco's Long Beach Armada, open Wednesday with Fullerton, CA at Reno, NV.

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