A SAFETY NET FOR SENIORS

Or, as John McEnroe was saying to his linguistics class Thursday night: "Get your head out of your ass and make the right call!"

According to the conspiracy theorists (who sit high up in the bleachers, dreaming into their beers), the rabbitball is back.

In 1987, these geniuses assert, the poor Haitian devils who were paid nine cents a week to wrap yarn around rubber and then stitch cowhide around yarn, wrapped and stitched a little tighter than usual--under orders from George Steinbrenner, Napoleon and the Trilateral Commission.

This resulted in 89-pound shortstops with glaucoma threatening Roger Maris's home-run record.

Now the conspirators have struck again--even though baseballs are currently manufactured in Costa Rica. The American League averaged 1.57 home runs per game in 1992; as of last week, they were averaging 2.55 home runs per game this season. In the Senior Circuit, 1.3 dingers-per in 1992 has ballooned into 2.02. Not only that, the Atlanta Braves hit back-to-back-to-back roundtrippers twice last week. Virtually unknown Mets second baseman Jeff Kent has eight homers in April. And at least two players--Cubs outfielder Tuffy Rhodes and Chisox veteran Tim Raines--already have whacked three big ones each in a single game.

Here at Mile High Stadium, the Colorado Rockies have hit 26 home runs in their first seventeen outings.

If that doesn't prove Wayne Newton poisoned Elvis, then what does?
Ball-derdash, we say.
In Costa Rica, quality control may not be what it should be. But the 1994 baseball is not flying into the next zip code because it's wound too tight or otherwise juiced-up. It's probably because guys like Frank "The Big Hurt" Thomas are built like armored personnel carriers (only a lot faster), people like Barry Bonds have the reflexes of angry cobras, and specimens like second-sacker Kent now are larger than the average third baseman standing on the shoulders of the average catcher were a generation ago.

There's also expansion.
National League scoring (including home runs) shot up dramatically last season, when the Rockies and Marlins joined the Show, because their pitching staffs were Triple A level at best. In both leagues, moreover, the quality of play (especially of pitching) is diluted by expansion, and higher run total is the result.

What's harder to do? Pitch a no-hitter or run it up on the Cubs at Wrigley Field?

In conclusion, Mr. District Attorney, the only "rabbit" in baseball is still Maranville. Even if Judge Crater and Amelia Earhart were in Dallas the day of the Kennedy assassination.

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