Sport: Boon for Batters

"Whenever there are runners on the bases and a righthanded batter steps up," wrote Red Smith in his syndicated sports column, "a sense of impending doom settles upon the multitude. Fear grips the pitcher. Panic stalks the stands. Maybe the batter will pop the ball harmlessly into the stratosmog, but the threat of a shattering home run is always imminent."

As the Los Angeles Dodgers stumbled through their first home stand last week, Smith's amiable hyperbole was borne out by the remorseless arithmetic of the score card. The looming left-field screen that was supposed to turn Memorial Coliseum into a big-league ballpark...

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