Note to Rox: Go Fish

"Forget about the money," starter Brown snapped after knocking off the Braves last week. "We did this on heart. You don't think about money when you're out there. Those were the Braves we beat. Maddux. Smoltz. The best."

If they've done nothing else for America this fall, the Marlins have spared us another dose of Atlanta's most familiar sights--Jane Fonda snoozing through another Series in the first-base boxes, pitching coach Leo Mazzone rocking back and forth on the bench like a lunatic set loose on a day pass, ex-President Jimmy Carter in his Hush Puppies doing the tomahawk chop with Ted Turner.

Now that the existence of God has been re-established and the Braves have been sent to the showers again, many fans will be delighted if Florida wins the Series--despite owner Huizenga's untimely siege of buyer's remorse. The Blockbuster video king still says that the team is losing lots of money and that he may sell out. Fine, but how about waiting until the commissioner gets the trophy to the clubhouse?

Without some major buying, the World Series won't happen here for a while. While the Fish were boosting their World Series hopes, the Rockies' front office seemed to have fishhooks in its front pocket. Despite drawing 50,000 fans to every game at Coors Field and sporting a roster overloaded with marketable sluggers, Colorado made less noise last year than any other team in the league on the trading and free-agent fronts. Whether out of meekness or fear of getting Swifted again, Gebhard moved cautiously. After letting Joe Girardi escape to the Yankees, he signed ho-hum ex-Giant catcher Kirt Manwaring. Inexplicably, he gave the club's most reliable starting pitcher, Armando Reynoso, to the astonished Mets for a questionable reliever, Jerry DiPoto. At year's end, he traded unappreciated second baseman Eric Young for Dodger pitcher Pedro Astacio, whose worth here has yet to be proven. He picked up journeyman Frank Castillo from the Cubs and traded promising young infielder Craig Counsell to Florida for a forgettable reliever named Mark Hutton. Mini-move piled onto mini-move.

Except that Florida was delighted with its deal. In the post-season this year, starting seond- baseman Counsell is hitting just about .400 for Leyland.

Meanwhile, the Rox failed to unload beloved but dispensable slugger Dante Bichette for a decent (if reluctant) starting pitcher like Kenny Rogers. They also created a traffic jam at first base with veteran Galarraga and newcomer Todd Helton.

To be sure, Gebhard and the Rockies have made one great free-agent acquisition in their short history. He is outfielder Larry Walker, a man for all seasons and this year's likely National League MVP. But what has the club done for the fans lately? Walker came aboard more than two and a half years ago, on April 8, 1995. Glorious as that date remains, it also lives in infamy: Do you recall that Billy Swift hit town the same day? The Rox would have been better off with Billy the Marlin--by Sunday night, he could be wearing a World Series ring.

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