07/25/10 7:21 PM ET
Managers praise new Hall of Fame class
By Matt Wentworth and Mike Scott / Special to MLB.com
"They're good people who deserve to be there," said Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston. "Whitey's been a good baseball man."
Gaston also said Harvey was one of the game's best umpires.
"It's a great honor," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "He's [Herzog] a great manager."
Dorrel Norman Elvert Herzog won three pennants and the 1982 World Series with the Cardinals. He also won three division titles with the Kansas City Royals from 1976-78. He was named the National League Manager of the Year in 1985.
Leyland said he got to know Dawson a bit from his time with the Florida Marlins. "The Hawk" spent his last two seasons with the Marlins. However, he ended his career there in 1996, one year before Leyland arrived as manager and led the Marlins to the franchise's first World Series title. Dawson played 21 seasons without winning a ring.
"Dawson was one of the most professional people I've ever been around," said Leyland.
The numbers aren't too shabby, either. Dawson, who will go into the Hall as a Montreal Expo, finished his career with 438 homers, 1,591 RBIs, 2,774 hits and 314 stolen bases. He was also known for his rifle arm, which helped him win eight Gold Gloves.
With numbers like those, it's hard to imagine why it took so long for Dawson to reach Hall of Fame status in the minds of the voters.
"I was wondering if he'd ever get in," said Gaston.
Jays, Tigers have memorable rivalry
DETROIT -- The Tigers and Blue Jays are playing each other for the first time in what seems like forever. The high-pressure matchups of more than two decades ago are a distant memory.
"I think it was the best rivalry of the '80s," said Tigers radio play-by-play man Dan Dickerson, a metro Detroit native. "I loved it. I went to Toronto to watch games at Exhibition Stadium, and Blue Jays fans would come to Tigers Stadium. We used to talk a lot of trash."
Dickerson said it was a good-natured rivalry, nothing mean-spirited.
"I remember they used to beat our [behinds] every time," said Gaston, referring to the brutal finish of the 1987 season for the Jays. The Tigers and Blue Jays played seven times in the last 10 games (11 for Detroit). All seven were decided by one run. The Jays held a 3 1/2-game lead with a week to go. They took three of four from Detroit in Toronto and had 96 wins and were the top team in baseball. Then, it wasn't as if the roof caved in -- it was more like the stadium imploded into Lake Ontario and went over Niagara Falls. The Blue Jays ended the season with seven consecutive losses as the Tigers went on to be division champs.
"The last time they beat us, I spent a week in my basement trying to get over it," Gaston said . Gaston was a coach under manager Jimy Williams at the time.
In the end, the Jays would get the upper hand. When Gaston took over in 1989, the Jays went on a streak of winning four division titles in five years, culminating in back-to-back World Series championships.
Gaston said he can never figure out why the people of Windsor always supported the Tigers. Sure, it's right across the river from Detroit, but Toronto is Canada's team, he said.
The fact that they barely ever play each other is something Dickerson says should be addressed. Each season, every team plays its mandatory six series against division opponents, then Interleague games and a home-and-home series with the other teams in the league. However, there are four bonus series in which teams play others in their league who aren't in their division.
"I looked it up," Dickerson said. "The last time these two teams played a bonus series was 2003. There should at least be a bonus series with a team that you have a history with."
'Eighty percent' Lewis says he's ready
DETROIT -- Blue Jays outfielder Fred Lewis said on Sunday that he's at 80 percent, but his twisted right ankle is still hurting.
"It's feeling good," Lewis said. "I'm ready today if needed."
Lewis says that if he's above 60 percent, he thinks he can go.
"With the adrenaline pumping, I can do it," he said. "I'm anxious to get back out there."
Lewis twisted the ankle while running to first in Kansas City. He stepped on the base awkwardly with his right foot.
"That's usually something I don't do," he said. "I usually step on first with my left foot."
With Sunday's doubleheader, manager Cito Gaston might have no choice but to play him.
"He might be able to play today," Gaston said.
Lewis spent some time in the trainer's room getting treatment. He then went onto to the field to test it.
He did not play in the opener but started and hit leadoff in the nightcap.
Gaston undecided on Wednesday's starter
DETROIT -- Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said he's still undecided about Wednesday's starter, seemingly more in doubt Sunday than he was Saturday.
On Saturday he said he knew who it would be but couldn't say. On Sunday, he didn't go that far.
"We probably won't decide until Tuesday," Gaston said.
On Saturday, he said he would announce it on Monday when the Jays get back to Toronto. A lot depends on what happens in Sunday's doubleheader. If the Jays go deep into their bullpen, it could mess up their plans.
Before Saturday's game, Gaston hinted that the starter would be reliever Brian Tallet. Gaston said it would likely be someone already on the roster who has starting experience.
"Tallet could be an option," Gaston said. However, the doubleheader could create a problem. "We could use him today."
As for Tallet, he said he's ready if needed.
"If they want me to start, I look forward to that opportunity," the big left-hander said.
He said it doesn't really matter to him, as long as the team is playing well and winning. If not starting, he's more than happy to continue his role in the bullpen.
"Right now, we have a lot of young guys who are throwing the ball well," Tallet said. "If they want me to back them up, I'll do it to the best of my ability."
Looking further ahead, the Jays have more potential pitching issues. Gaston said the team is keeping an eye on its young arms.
"We skipped [Brandon] Morrow due to innings," Gaston said.
As the season moves on, they could be in position to have to push back others as well. August is looking tough, with another long road trip against opponents who probably will be getting stronger with Trade Deadline additions.
Gaston said he'll have lots of options late in the year when the rosters expand.
"We're talking about going to a six-man rotation," Gaston said.
Jays manager Cito Gaston said the team probably won't make a decision on whether to recall injured outfielder Travis Snider until Friday. Gaston said there's too much uncertainty with what's going to happen with the pitching staff to make the roster move before then. The Jays have an off-day on Thursday, and probably won't make a decision until after that. ... The Jays were set to wear their black jerseys for the first game of the doubleheader, gray for the second. ... Gaston also took note of the fact that Detroit's Comerica Park is missing something -- a Canadian flag. "That's a little different," Gaston said, choosing his words carefully. "Most ballparks have both flags. I don't think it's a sign of disrespect." For "Oh, Canada", the organization puts a picture of a flag on the scoreboard. Rick Thompson, Tigers media relations manager, said they have only one flag pole, and it would be disrespectful to hang one country's flag below another on the same flag pole. He said they have some Canadian flags outside the stadium. ... Fred Lewis was in the lineup for the nightcap. He had twisted his ankle Wednesday at Kansas City and has sat out the past three games. ... Toronto's pitching staff gave up its first home turn of the current nine-game road trip in the opener Sunday when Danny Worth drilled a solo shot in the seventh. That streak came over a stretch of 76 innings. After homers by Jose Molina, Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay on Sunday afternoon, the Blue Jays have 147, most in the Majors, including 32 in July.
Matt Wentworth is a contributor to MLB.com. Mike Scott is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.