View Full Version : Belle Gets Okay to Do It His Way

05-13-00, 03:45 AM
Belle Gets Okay to Do It His Way
By Dave Sheinin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 12, 2000

BALTIMORE, May 11 Baltimore Orioles right fielder Albert Belle's recent offensive surge has coincided with his new pregame routine, which, with the blessing of Manager Mike Hargrove, does not include taking batting practice on the field with the rest of the Orioles' hitters.

Belle has not taken batting practice on the field since April 27 in Chicago, preferring to hit in indoor batting cages with his brother, Terry, tossing balls to him. As such, he does not work with Orioles hitting coach Terry Crowley.

"Albert and I have talked about it, and as far as I'm concerned, as long as he does his defensive work on the field , it's fine with me if he wants to hit inside," Hargrove said. "He's not bothering anybody, and if it helps him do his job, it's fine with me."

Hargrove said Belle has [b]agreed to take batting practice on the field at home occasionally, although Belle did not do so before tonight's game. Belle continues to shag flies and do defensive work in pregame drills with the rest of the team, although he asked to be excused from it in Toronto, citing the hardness of SkyDome's artificial turf.

Last season, there was no such compromise with Belle. He stopped taking batting practice completely and rarely did defensive drills on the field after a June 9 blowup in the dugout with then-manager Ray Miller.

Clearly, skipping batting practice has not harmed Belle's production. He left Chicago hitting .256, but since the Chicago series, he has hit safely in 10 of 11 games, batting .310 in that span. Similarly, last season Belle hit .326 with 19 homers after the all-star break, without any on-field batting practice.

Crowley, who has enjoyed a better relationship with Belle this season, declined to discuss Belle's pregame routine. However, Crowley said Belle has appeared more comfortable at the plate in recent days.

"He's had a few big hits, and that's how it usually starts with a big hitter," Crowley said. "The momentum sort of builds. The month of April has never been his month, but when all is said and done his production is always there in the end."

Who's the manager Hargrove or Belle? I don't buy that it's OK to isolate yourself from your teammates as long as you put up good numbers. It's a TEAM sport, someone needs to grow a backbone and tell Albert to get his a** on the field with the rest of his teammates.

05-13-00, 04:51 PM
Hold the pickles
Hold the lettuce
Joey's gonna come and get us.