Elliott on baseball column

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

The distinguished, slim and trim, elder statesman from San Antonio watched from a Skybox high above as the young pup, also from San Antonio, was running things down on the field at the Rogers Centre yesterday.

"I've been in Toronto part of the summer," one-time Jays manager Cito Gaston was saying on alumni weekend. "John Gibbons has done a great job managing this team. What were they four or five games out until the last trip? They handled themselves well against the best teams.

"It looks like the guys want to play for him. That's a big step right there -- and, that he is a fair man."

Gaston, 61, grew up on the east side of San Antonio at 239 Belmont St. Gibbons, 43, grew up on the north-east side on La Albada Rd.

The Jays have had 10 managers in their 29-year history, guiding the franchise to a 2,243-2,297 won-lost record.

The San Antonio duo has combined for 766 of those wins -- 681 by Gaston in nine seasons, and 85 by Gibbons, who replaced Carlos Tosca on Aug. 8, 2004.

Gaston received a standing ovation from the Rogers Centre crowd of 27,630 when he was introduced on the field in the top of the fifth inning.

HAWKING AROUND

When the Cleveland Indians play on a Saturday, one thing is certain.

In the days of Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, David Justice and Kenny Lofton, it meant a sellout at Jacobs Field. In the days of Municipal Stadium, it meant 10,000 fans, a few nuns and a guy banging a drum.

But one constant during Indians games has been the Hawk Call. It has been delivered unannounced in the press box for the past 23 seasons by Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer -- as it was in the top of the seventh yesterday at the dome.

Take the word of former Jays infielder John McDonald, an Indian from 2000-04.

"I banged up my left knee and was on crutches in 2003, so I wasn't in the dugout," McDonald was saying the other day. He was seated beside Indians P.R. director Bart Swain in the press box when all of a sudden ...

"I heard this noise. It was awesome," McDonald said.

It was the Hawk Call.

Swain remembers the day, saying: "You should have seen the look on Mac's face when it happened. I thought he was going to fall out of the press box."

"I'm not really sure how to describe it," McDonald said.

We've heard it a handful of times and we're not really sure how to give it justice, except that your first response is to cover your ears. But you can't because you are frozen in your chair.

Let's check in with some Hawk Call veterans.

"It's a cross cross between a Gaelic and Indian war/celebration chant/scream," Swain said. "It's something he used to do with his rugby buddies at Marquette University."

"It's like a wild bird call, like the wild Hawk of Marquette," says Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon Journal.

"It's like a screech," says the screecher himself, "like a dog that just got run over. It's a strange sound, a loud obnoxious sound."

"The Hawk Call is the sound you get when a barn yard animal is neutered, without benefit of anesthesia," says Jim Ingraham of the News-Herald, the new guy on the Indians beat.

New guy on the Indians beat means Ingraham is only in his 21st year with Ocker (25) and Hoynes, sharing elevators, cabs, planes and Hawk Calls.

Ocker adds to the anticipation by selling $2 tickets for each half-inning at home. The winner -- the one who pulls the ticket for the inning when Hoynes lets loose -- takes home $34.

In case you haven't guessed, the Indians press corps is a fun bunch.

Hockey Hall of Famer Bill Cook is Hoynes' grandfather. When he retired, Cook was coach and general manager of the Cleveland Barons of the American Hockey League.

Bill had a daughter named Billie Marie and Paul, the Hawk Caller, is her son. Bill and brother Bun Cook are from Kingston, like me.

At a post-game, World Series reception in Atlanta in 1997, Hoynes and I were in a hospitality tent where Braves owner Ted Turner served slices of some emi-endangered species when the discovery was made.

Our grandfathers were both from Kingston.

Looking around excitedly to tell someone, the first person I saw was Bill Livingston, a columnist with the Plain-Dealer. We told him the story and asked: "Do you think we're related?"

"Well," Livingston said, "you're both goofy enough to be cousins."

ANOTHER GOLD

Leslie Williams drove in the winner for Ontario in a 4-3 extra-inning victory over British Columbia in the Canada Cup gold-medal game in Medicine Hat, Alta.

Ontario trailed 2-1 entering the bottom of the seventh. Williams was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a bunt, third on a wild pitch and scored when North York's Sean Mattson hit a nubber in front of the plate.

B.C. scored in the top of the eighth with Ontario left fielder Brian Simone, of Amherstburg, and third baseman Steve Anderson, of Markham, combined on a relay to nail a runner at the plate. Toronto's Brian Ivan singled and one out later, DH John Waltenbury, of Bowmanville, walked. Ottawa's Matt McCarney reached on a fielder's choice.

Windsor's Chris Dennis hit a two-strike pitch over the for a line single to score the tying run. Williams singled home McCarney with the winner.

Mississauga's David Francis was Ontario's game MVP, pitching 6 1/3 innings striking out seven and giving up two earned runs and four hits.

For Ontario, it was its first Canada Cup win since 1998. As a result of the OBA's Wayne Parro mending fences between the association and elite club coaches Jason Chee-Aloy and Danny Thompson, Ontario had the best available talent.


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