Keep yer head up, A-Rod

BOB ELLIOTT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

In the early 1970s on a humid night at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Nolan Ryan was humping fastballs past hitters.

Ryan throwing heat in the heat was not unusual.

Add to the equation an umpire with a small strike zone. So in the heat of the night more than one pitch zipped by the noggin of a Baltimore Oriole hitter.

After a strikeout, Merv Rettenmund headed to the dugout. As he passed Ryan's next victim Terry Crowley he said, out of the side of his mouth: "Wouldn't wear my game helmet up there."

The suggestion was if Ryan plunked him the pitch would likely shatter his helmet.

After listening to the usually docile Blue Jays erupt, after watching Ernie Whitt and others scream at third baseman Alex Rodriguez, we can see the future on July 16 when the Jays visit Yankee Stadium:

Hideki Matsui will pass Rodriguez and say the same thing Rettenmund said. What's next is anyone's guess.

It's true that on a hit-and-run play, a shortstop will pretend to field a grounder when the ball is lined to right. It's also true runners on second signal location and steal signs. And it's true popups are supposed to wind up in gloves.

Rodriguez was accused of yelling "Mine!" behind Howie Clark on the play in question. Clark bailed and a Pier Six brawl nearly broke out, led by John McDonald, a Lady Byng winner if he played in the NHL.

What Rodriguez does on the road, where he goes for steak, what strip clubs he goes to and who he goes with, is none of my business and none of your business. But then I'm old.

What Rodriguez did on the field -- he says he yelled "Hah!" -- is the worst baseball thing he did in his four days in Toronto and will have a long-lasting affect.

It doesn't matter what Rodriguez says happened. The Jays have their own opinion and when Rodriguez steps into the batter's box a Toronto pitcher will have the ball.

What got him on the cover of the front page of the New York Post could lead to separation from his wife Cynthia, the former grade two school teacher he met in Seattle.

But what would Nolan do the next time the two of them met?

MAKING THE CALL

Giants advance scout Ted Uhlaender was at the Rogers Centre on Monday talking of coaching Cleveland's Omar Vizquel when he stole home with lefty Rheal Cormier on the mound in a first-and-third situation.

The next night, Aaron Hill stole home in a first-and-third situation with deliberate lefty Andy Pettitte on the mound.

CHIP OFF THE BLOCK

Right-hander Mike Cisco, grandson of ex-Jays pitching coach Galen Cisco, pitched seven innings for the South Carolina Gamecocks to beat the Florida Gators 5-3 in the Southeastern tournament at Hoover, Ala.

On the season, Cisco is 6-2 with a 3.91 ERA.

SENIOR MOMENT

Last week we referred to Jays executive Bart Given in this space and had his last name incorrect. We apologize.


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