In the next few days, perhaps as soon as Monday, Joe Torre will come face to face with his first crisis of the 1998 season. Well, maybe not a crisis, but the decision Torre will ultimately make between Chili Davis and Darryl Strawberry as the DH should be interesting.
Davis, who's missed all but two games this year because of an ankle injury, will return to the lineup shortly. The Yankees want him back because A) he's a switch-hitter and B) George Steinbrenner has invested $13 million in Davis over the next three years.
But here's the problem: in Davis' place, Strawberry has hit 21 home runs in only a little more than 200 at-bats. One HR every 10.7 at-bats, in fact -- far better than Darryl's career ratio of one every 16.4 at-bats.
So what does Torre do? He wants to find out in a hurry if Davis will be a factor in the playoffs, which is why the manager said, "Chili is going to need at-bats." In the meantime, Strawberry will likely have to play some left field -- assuming the arthritis in his left knee allows it.
THE PNC?: Cleveland has The Jake. Atlanta has The Ted. Phoenix has The Bob In 2001, Pittsburgh will have The Punk. The Pirates' new ballpark, scheduled to open in 2001, will be called PNC Park. PNC will spend a $40 million over 30 years for the naming rights. Not so ironically, the Pirates' share of the $228-million facility is $40 million. PNC, headquartered in Pittsburgh, is one of the nation's largest financial services companies and was created by the 1983 merge of Pittsburgh National Corp. and Provident National Corp.
Also, representatives of Allegheny County announced the Sixth Street Bridge will now be known as the Roberto Clemente Bridge in honor of the former Pirates Hall of Fame right fielder. This was undoubtedly a political move made to try to placate those who are opposed to tax dollars playing for the new park.
"It's just a super day for this franchise, the city of Pittsburgh and the entire region," National League President Leonard Coleman said. "When you think about how far this franchise has come since '94, it's amazing. This is truly another sign of the renaissance of the game of baseball in this city."