AL notes: Finley has to face fans and the music
For classless behavior, it will be hard to top White Sox fans Tuesday at Comiskey Park, who mercilessly heckled Cleveland pitcher Chuck Finley over the highly publicized incident involving his wife, actress Tawny Kitaen.
Kitaen allegedly attacked Finley while he was driving April 1. He has since filed for divorce, received temporary custody of their two kids and obtained a restraining order against Kitaen, who checked into a rehab program for addiction to prescription drugs for depression and migraines.
As Finley warmed up in the bullpen, a large group of fans gathered around and taunted him, according to the Chicago Tribune. But the worst offense was committed by the White Sox, who blared Whitesnake music over the public-address system, including the song, "Here I Go Again." The video for that song stars Kitaen, who once was married to White Snake lead singer David Coverdale.
The White Sox scored nine runs in 1-2/3 innings off Finley, part of their three-game sweep of the Indians. The next day, White Sox General Manager Ken Williams fired the employee responsible for the music and apologized to Finley for his treatment.
"I expected that," Finley said. "I've heard it all."
• Blue Jays minor-league pitcher Justin Miller was understandably ecstatic when he found out he had been called up to the majors last week, and he began calling everyone he knew to tell them the good news. One person he called was fellow pitcher Scott Cassidy, with whom he had become close friends during spring training. Cassidy was already up with Toronto — or at least he had been. After Miller gushed about his promotion, Cassidy told him that Miller was being called up because he was being sent down.
• Here's a theory on the Indians' strong clubhouse atmosphere this year, which long-time reliever Paul Shuey says is the best he's ever seen.
"No music," Shuey said. "I think not having music in the clubhouse had a lot to do with the way people felt about one another in the past. There isn't music in the clubhouse anymore, and there's no more animosity in here."
The White Sox love what Kenny Lofton has done for them so far, but Lofton apparently was the Cleveland player who most blatantly would blare music before all games and after victories.
"I think it had a very disturbing effect," said Shuey. "In the past, Kenny would put a lot of that crap on, and a lot of guys didn't want it on. But he was constantly pushing it. This year we've got 25 guys trying to reach the same goal every day, instead of worrying about what music they're going to play in the clubhouse."
• Bob Sheppard on Wednesday night marked his 51st anniversary as public-address announcer at Yankee Stadium. The first lineup he introduced: Jackie Jensen, left field; Phil Rizzuto, shortstop; Mickey Mantle, right field; Joe DiMaggio, center field; Yogi Berra, catcher; Johnny Mize, first base; Billy Johnson, third base; Jerry Coleman, second base; Vic Raschi, pitching.
• Baltimore General Manager Syd Thrift gets a lot of (deserved) criticism, but give him credit for the acquisition of right-handed pitcher Jorge Julio, part of the Orioles' closer-by-committee. Julio, obtained from Montreal for third baseman Ryan Minor (now in the Mariners organization with Class AAA Tacoma), throws close to 100 mph. In his first major-league save opportunity Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, he retired all five batters he faced.