The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, August 03, 1992, Image 3

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The Battalion
Monday, August 3, 1992
Page 3
e's available
s who want
culty & staff
rhill out and
Chicago should
accept alignment
'hy is it that every time the
oft ' ■"
W commissioner of baseball
makes a decision that makes
sense, a vocal uproar ensues?
It's a fact of life, unfortunately.
And this time the gripes are coming
from (Yuppie) America's Team, the
Chicago Cubs.
The only thing wjong with Fay
Vincent's order to realign the National
League is that it came about two
decades too late. With Atlanta and
Cincinnati in the East, joining the Pi
rates, Mets and the resurgent Expos,
that division challenges the AL West
as the best in the majors. And the un
spoken rivalry between the Cardinals
and the Astros, which developed dur
ing the Whitey Herzog and Hal Lanier
years because of the similar styles be
tween the two teams, will be played
out in a more in-depth fashion.
The new lineup is perfectly sensi
ble. Therein lies the rough.
The Cubs' leadership has gone as
far as to get a restraining order to pre
vent the realignment, with their main
reason being that more games on the
west coast will lead to a decrease in
viewers on Chicago superstation
If you hear the weak strains of "My
Heart Bleeds For You," it is probably
safe to say they are not coming from
Ted Turner's office in Atlanta. For
over twenty years, the Braves have
been playing half of their inter-divi
sional road games in California, three
time zones away.
If any team had the right to gripe, it
was Turner's Braves, who have sacri
ficed countless viewers on TBS tele
casts that come one hour later than
California games in Chicago.
There are also a few more team of
ficials around the majors who are
shedding no tears for the Cubbies.
The Astros, Royals/Twins and Reds
have been playing division games out
west since divisional play began, with
only Cincinnati making the move east
next year.
Oh by the way, the White Sox have
also been playing almost half of their
divisional road games in California
and Washington, with several broad
cast on WGN. Food for thought,
. General manager Larry Himes and
the rest of the Cubs' front office have
been trying valiantly to throw up a
smoke screen in the form of preserva
tion of old rivalries with the Mets and
Phillies. The only true rivalry the
team has is with the Cardinals, and
that will be saved under realignment.
Besides, no one is hearing Houston
weep and moan about fewer games
with the Reds, a team with which they
share a deep hatred. Or how about
the Braves-Dodgers rivalry that devel
oped during last year's pennant race?
Whether they want to admit or not,
the main reason Cubs management
wants to stay in the East is money,
which is not unexpected in a game in
which the almighty dollar has turned
into the overriding factor in every
transaction. If more games in WGN's
lineup have start times of 9:35 Central,
there will be a smaller amount of
viewers late in the game. That means
See Norwood/Page 6
Climbing the ladder
A&M baseball hero
works to reach
major league level
By Don Norwood
The Battalion
Few names in Texas A&M baseball
history are as recognizable as John By-
After he led the Aggies to two of their
most successful season in 1988 and '89,
the Milwaukee Brewers drafted the pow
erful third baseman, helping to forge the
team's future under manager Tom Tre-
Three years later, the Brewers have a
new manager in Phil Garner, a new gen
eral manager in Sal Bando, and a new or
ganizational emphasis on speed and de
fense. But Byington is his same old self.
Although he has split time between
third base and designated hitter, Bying
ton has been an offensive force for the
Brewer's Double A affiliate El Paso Diab-
los, who are battling the Midland Angels
for the second-half Texas League West
Byington has been among the league
leaders in batting all season, carrying an
average that has hovered in the low
.300s. He also entered last week's series
with the Tulsa Drillers leading all of the
minor leagues in doubles with 32, and
was second on the team with 47 RBIs.
Although this year's performance is
indicative of his talent, Byington said that,
he has a distinct advantage in that this is
his second year at the Double A level.
"The pitchers here are smarter than
the ones at Single A," Byington said.
"You see some guys who can throw
breaking balls behind in the count, but
some who can't. As a hitter, you've got
to be smart enough to know that you'll
get a pitch to hit. But with some, you just
have to think with each pitch."
With such near-mastery of that level
of pitching, many players might be too
eager to move up. And although Bying
ton would be more than happy to ad
vance to Triple A Denver this year, he re
fuses to let those thoughts turn into dis
"I try not to think about it," Byington
said. "I was close to making the team
(Denver) this year. But if you really start
looking ahead, it can hurt you.
"If I was promoted, it would be great.
Former A&M baseball player John Byington swings for the seats in a
doubleheader against Texas in 1989. Byington is currently hitting over .300 for
the El Paso Diablos, the Double A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.
But sometimes you get caught up in deci
sions that you can't control."
El Paso manager Chris Bando said if
things continue to go well for Bvington,
he could get moved up although it is late
in the Reason.
"There's still a chance he will move up
this year/'Bando said. "But most of the
time when a guy's going well, they don't
move him up."
Whether Byington stays or goes, he
does know one thing - he wants to play
third. Like many players who are rele
gated to DH duty, he feels distant from
games in which he does not play in the
field, something that might not change
for a while.
"I'd rather be in the field," Byington
said. "It's tough, because you're not in
the game as much.
"If you're not hitting well, you can
help the team defensively."
Although playing DH has been a little
less than ideal for Byington, that has not
been the reason for his dropoff in home
runs. The same man who hit 17 homers
for the Aggies in 1987 had three at this
year's all-star break, a figure more indica
tive of the spacious park at El Faso than
anything else.
"It's conducive to line drive hitters,"
Bando said. "The fences are deep, and
there's a lot of room in the gaps.
"He's very capable of hitting home
runs. A lot of the time, home runs come
in streaks. He just hasn't had one of
those streaks. He is driving a lot of balls
into the gaps, so he's definitely got pow
"My homers are down," Byington
said. "But hopefully I can get at least 40
That gap power will be instrumental
in the Diablos' pennant hopes. The rest
of the season is shaping up to be a battle
between El Paso and Midland, with Wi
chita, the first-half champions, sure to
have a say.
"Our team isn't a powerful one," By
ington said. "We don't have a lot of
bashers. But we have a solid team. If we
can just play more consistently, we'll
have a chance."
"He's my cleanup hitter," Bando said
about one of the Brewers' brightest
prospects. "If we're going to win the sec
ond half, John's going to have to pro
duce. He's a guy that anchors the middle
of our lineup.'
An added plus for Byington this sea
son has been the addition of four other
Aggies in the Texas League, namely Mike
Easley. The current Shreveport Captain
shared a great deal of camaraderie with
Byington in the '88 and '89 seasons,
something the two still share.
"He was probably the closest friend I
had at A&M," Byington said about
Easley. "It was good to play against him
at the professional level."
As for the future beyond this season,
the sky is the limit for both Byington and
the Brewers. Garner has led the big club
into American League East contention
with an extremely young team, bolstered
by Pat Listach, Jaime Navarro, and now
See Byington/Page 6
Freshmen learn system, await arrival of veterans
By Michael Plumer
The Battalion
In February, Texas A&M signed a
freshman football recruiting class that
was lauded by experts as one of the best
throughout the nation. Fully loaded with
such highly sought-after recruits as Sher
rod Wyatt, Danny McCray, and Ervin
Briley, this group of signees, coupled
with the returning upperclassmen, have
been tabbed as the prohibitive favorites
to repeat as Southwest Conference Cham
pions in 1992.
Due to the Aggies season opener in the
Pigskin Classic against Stanford on Au
gust 26, the NCAA allowed A&M's fresh
men to report earlier than what is regu
larly allowed. They arrived last Wednes
day with all the preseason hype and pres
sure that has accumulated over the last
couple of months.
But A&M head coach R.C. Slocum re
alizes the incoming recruits are still just
freshman who have yet to play a down of
football for the Aggies.
"Playing Division I football will be a
major adjustment for most of them for
obvious reasons," Slocum said. "Every-
Aggie Football ’92
thing picks up here on this level on both
sides of the ball.
"Most of these guys went against
maybe one of two major players in high
school on a given night during a game."
Although the freshman reported earli
er than usual, Slocum said he does not
feel any positive or negative repercus
sions will arise.
"Actually, it is not an advantage or
disadvantage because the NCAA has a
formula to set the amount of practice
time," he said. "Everybody gets the same
amount of practice time.
"We do start them a little early but
down the road with our open dates we
will get a chance to rest them. Our open
dates will come at the right time and they
will come in handy."
Wyatt, a high school All-American de
fensive back from Dallas Carter, agreed
with Slocum that the biggest challenge
for himself and the rest of the new Aggies
will be dealing with the athletic abilities
of their opponents.
"For us, the biggest adjustment will be
the speed of the players," Wyatt said. "In
high school, I played against a handful of
Division I caliber players but up here
everyone is a Division I player.
"If they were not, then they would not
be here."
Although the freshman have not yet
strapped on the pads, Slocum said he has
been impressed with the effort of his
young charges in the August Texas heat.
"They are working hard and they are
eager to learn," he said. "Everybody
looks good and they all came in good
shape which is a positive. " .
But the hot weather can be tough."
Slocum also emphasized one point
concerning the youthfulness of his fresh-
See Freshmen/Page 6
Former A&M
athlete takes
Olympic gold
From Staff and Wire Reports
Former Texas A&M shot putter
Mike Stulce completed his attempt to
carry on the greatness of A&M shot
putters in Olympic competition by
winning the gold medal in the event
on Friday.
Stulce, who competed at A&M in
1988 and '89, won the event with a
personal best throw of 71 feet, 2 1/2
inches. Fellow American James
Doehring of California took the silver
with a throw of 68 feet, 81/2 inches.
The 1-2 finish for the Americans
was the first in that event since 1968 in
Mexico City. That year another for
mer A&M shot putter, Randy Matson,
won the gold while George Woods
brought home the silver.
Stulce earned a spot on the U. S.
squad by placing first at the Olympic
Trials in New Orleans.
Class of’75
1667-B Texas Ave.
Culpepper Plaza
Texas A&M
University Watch
A Seiko Quartz timepiece officially licensed
by the University. Featuring a richly
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2-tone $265.00
witli leather strap $200.00
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Offer ends Aug. 28, 1992
Call 846-0377 for Appointment e #
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505 University Dr. East, Suite 101
College Station, TX 77840
4 Blks. East of Texas Ave. &
University Dr. Intersection
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The Battalion.