White reflects on pine tar anniversary
Ex-Royals star not surprised Brett charged onto field
NEW YORK -- Frank White, Kansas City's second baseman at the time of the famous pine tar incident that captured baseball's attention on July 24, 1983, figures the whole affair would be handled differently in the game today.
"I think it was just it was one of those situations that was good for those times," White, now a Royals broadcaster, said Saturday on the 27th anniversary of George Brett's outburst. "I think if a player were to do that today, they'd be talking about a 30-day rehab some place."
White laughed after making that comment. There is much reason to smile recalling that incident at the old Yankee Stadium.
Brett, who is attending the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown this weekend, burst out of the third-base dugout and erupted in anger like a man possessed. He lost his argument that day, but American League president Lee MacPhail later upheld the Royals' appeal, the game was resumed on Aug. 18, and Kansas City won the game.
"When he went flying out there, it wasn't a surprise to me," White said. "I didn't really think it would be so dramatic. I didn't think it would be where he went off."
White said the steam had been building.
"I think the series before, in Kansas City, Billy Martin noticed that George had a lot of pine tar on the barrel of his bat," White said. "You don't normally wait until you do something that substantial before making a complaint. I think we were in Kansas City and then in Toronto before we came here. Then, when George hit the home run and Billy had the umpires out in the middle of the field and [Royals manager] Dick Howser was still in the dugout.
"I was sitting one player over from George, and I said, 'George, they are going to call you out.'" White said. "George said, 'What makes you think that? You've got to be nuts.' I said, "Well, we're in New York and Billy Martin's got all the umpires out in the middle of the field and our guy is still in the dugout.' He said, 'If they throw me out, I'm going to go nuts.'
And so Brett went nuts.
Fortunately, Brett was restrained before he reached McClelland. Had he not been, it could have been ugly.
"It was one of those incidents that you could get away with in the 1980s that you couldn't get away with in 2010," White said.
New KC righty O'Sullivan in rare company
NEW YORK -- This time, Sean O'Sullivan should take the Yankee Stadium mound free of the butterflies that accompanied him the same spot in his previous start.
O'Sullivan, making his first start this season for the Angels on July 21, defeated the Yankees with six strong innings of two-hit pitching over which he gave up two runs.
He'll be back on the Yankee Stadium mound Sunday, this time wearing a Royals uniform. Kansas City acquired the right-hander in a multiplayer trade on Thursday.
"The clubbies keep making jokes that I keep getting traded to the next team that comes in for a series," O'Sullivan said of the clubhouse crew that was busy at work in the cool visiting quarters at Yankee Stadium on Saturday morning.
What O'Sullivan will be doing Sunday is something of a rarity.
The last pitcher to face the same club for different teams in successive starts was the late Cory Lidle, who defeated the Rockies in Colorado for Cincinnati on Aug. 8, 2004, then wore a Phillies cap in a loss to the Rockies in Philadelphia on Aug. 12. The last pitcher to win twice in this situation was Andy Ashby, who defeated Baltimore as a member of the Phillies on July 8, 2000, and then as a Brave on July 14.
"The decision was more that it's his regular day," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "If his regular day was on Monday, we wouldn't have pitched him on Sunday. More than anything, it was his regular day to pitch."
Yost said he expects O'Sullivan to make some adjustments this time around and the manager figures the Yankees might take a slightly different approach than they did Tuesday.
"I imagine it's pretty tough, but we'll find out on Sunday," Yost said. "He had a pretty good outing against them. It is what it is. He just goes out and hopefully repeats his performances."
O'Sullivan didn't seem too worried about the task ahead.
"Just go out there and put yourself against guys who have been doing it for a long time," said O'Sullivan, a third-round Draft choice in 2005 who made 10 starts for the Angels last year. "Future Hall of Famers. My last start here was my first start here, so I had some pretty good butterflies in the first inning. But after that, I took a deep breath. It's just baseball."
Royals manager Ned Yost wasn't too concerned that the mercury had reached 89 degrees, the humidity draped Yankee Stadium like a wet towel and the promise was for both to increase on Saturday. "I'll let the trainers handle it," Yost said. "But these guys are all smart. They all have the benefits of nutrition and of hydration [education]. Back when I played, they'd give you a salt pill and you'd drink a glass of water and go out and play. Nowadays, with the studies and the science behind it ... you watch them walk out of here [Friday] night? They all walked of here carrying bags of water. They have a pretty good idea what it takes to stay hydrated in these types of situations." Neither the Royals, in a stretch of 20 straight games, nor the Yankees took batting practice. The forecast calls for more hot weather Sunday.
Right-hander Luke Hochevar, disabled since June 16 with an elbow strain, was scheduled to start throwing on the side in Kansas City on Saturday. "He'll play catch today, 25 throws, two rounds at 45 feet," Yost said. "He's completely symptom free." ... Catcher Jason Kendall was hit by a pitch for the 253rd time in his career in the first inning Saturday. That's tops among active players, 84 ahead of Jason Giambi. Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (151) and shortstop Derek Jeter (147) rank third and fourth. ... Yost said he'd like to have Anthony Lerew (1-4, 8.54 ERA), back if the right-hander clears waivers. Lerew was designated for assignment by the Royals on Friday to make room for right-hander Sean O'Sullivan, who was acquired in a trade with the Angels on Thursday.
Kit Stier is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.