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Article:The Week In Baseball: The "Hulking" Edition (or How to love changeups)

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Are we under a full moon yet? It was indeed a strange week in baseball. Interleague play picked back up, history was made in South Florida and the Cubs went back in time. Oh yeah... there was a certain manager that was on the hot seat as well. More about him in a later writing. Here's some of the happenings that took place on (and off) the diamond.

Finders, Keepers? - The Bartman ball and the Bonds ball have nothing on Junior’s 600 th. There is a Florida Marlins fan who claims he was the first to catch Ken Griffey Jr.'s 600th home run ball said last Wednesday that he hopes it winds up in the Cincinnati slugger's possession.Justin Kimball, 25, also wants a Miami-Dade court to prevent the fan who the Marlins say caught the ball last Monday night — a season-ticket holder identified only as "Joe" — from selling it until the ownership issue can be resolved."Our client is not looking for any type of monetary gain whatsoever," Melissa Bernheim, one of the attorneys representing Kimball, told The Associated Press late Wednesday night. "Maybe just a bat and an autograph."

In the court filing — which lists the fan as a “John Doe” and "any party in control or possession of (the) Ken Griffey Jr. 600th home run baseball" as defendants — Kimball says "Joe" scratched his arms and legs to wrestle the ball away, and further asserts that the ball is a piece of "Americana." The court filing also says that at least three stadium workers saw the ball "forcefully" removed from Kimball's possession.

Kimball, who is a leader singer in a Miami band said, "I just want to see it end up in the right hands. That's my main goal, that it ends up in (his) Griffey Jr.'s hands. That's all I care about." Marlins president David Samson said he is certain "Joe" caught the ball, and Major League Baseball has authenticated that the ball in the man's possession is the true 600th homer, placing a special hologram on the ball.

Papi now American as Apple Pie - You can now call him an American citizen. David Ortiz, one of the finest sluggers in the long and storied history of the Boston Red Sox, became an American citizen last Wednesday just outside of Boston in Dorchester. The Dominican-born slugger -- affectionately known throughout Major League Baseball as Big Papi -- had a big day, sworn in along with 226 other immigrants at the John F. Kennedy Library.

Approached by reporters and beat writers on several occasions, Ortiz declined to talk about the moment. However, he did say a few words to news reporters outside the Kennedy Library. "I'm proud to be an American, and it's great to part of the American family," said Ortiz, dressed in a dark sport coat and white shirt.

Ortiz said to reporters that "Well, my whole family, pretty much my kids and everybody, have been born here," he said. "Like I said, America is a great country. I'm proud to be here, and now proud to be a part of it." Ortiz is now eligible to vote in the presidential election in November, but it's a little early to ask him who he will vote for. "I don't know yet," he said.

Tiffany Ortiz is proud of her husband. "It's a big deal for him," Tiffany Ortiz told The Boston Globe. "It's really important, and I'm really proud of him." Ortiz currently is on the disabled list with a partial tear of the tendon sheath in his left wrist.

Don’t make me angry… you wouldn’t like it when I’m angry (apologies to the Hulk) - Milton Bradley finds himself in some hot water - AGAIN! According to Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, the oft-outfielder said Thursday he wanted to "introduce" himself to Kansas City Royals television announcer Ryan Lefebvre after he thought that he had made some negative comments made on the air.

Bradley stormed up four flights of Kauffman Stadium stairs looking for Lefebvre after the Rangers' 11-5 victory Wednesday night.

Daniels said the Rangers would take no disciplinary action against Bradley. "It's a situation you want to avoid, but I don't see where disciplinary action is warranted," Daniels said. "I was there the whole time. There was no aggressive action. There was no foul action, nothing of the sort. We move on." Daniels said he would have preferred Bradley handle it in a different way than trying to go the television booth.

Bradley never made it to Lefebvre, who is the son of former major league manager and player Jim Lefebvre. Daniels interceded and the two went back to the clubhouse.Lefebvre said the comments were intended to praise Josh Hamilton, who missed nearly four years of professional baseball with cocaine and alcohol additions, rather than tear down Bradley.

"It was a conversation about how Josh Hamilton has turned his life around and has been accountable for his mistakes," Lefebvre told The Associated Press. "Right now, it seems like the baseball world and fans are rooting for him. ... It doesn't seem like Milton Bradley has done the same thing in his life."

This is not the first time Bradley has had a meltdown and has lost his temper on numerous occasions. While with the Dodgers, he slammed a plastic bottle at the feet of a fan in the right-field seats at Dodger Stadium in 2004 after someone threw it on the field. With San Diego in the pennant chase last September, he tore the ACL in his right knee when he was spun to the ground by Padres manager Bud Black, who was trying to keep him from first base umpire Mike Winters, who was later suspended for the remainder of the 2007 campaign. Bradley is a powder keg that needs to be defused if for nothing else, for his own good. Let’s hope he gets the help he needs.

Cubs get costly victory, lose Soriano for six week. - Just when things were going well for Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano, he'll now be sidelined for six weeks with a broken finger. Soriano will be on the shelf thanks to being hit by Atlanta’s Jeff Bennett in the second inning of their 7-2 win over the Braves at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field last Wednesday night. "It's a costly loss," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said to reporters after the game. "It's a bad break for us, it really is."

Soriano suffered a minimally displaced fracture of the fourth metacarpal on his left hand. X-rays revealed the break, and Soriano's finger will be in a splint for three weeks. Team officials said they will have a better idea after that as to when he can return. However, he is expected to be sidelined a minimum of six weeks.

Soriano, who was the leading vote-getter among National League outfielders in the All-Star balloting, was batting .283. He hit his team-leading 15th home run on Saturday, and was hitting .323 with 13 homers and 35 RBIs in his past 38 games since returning from the disabled list. The Cubs did not feel Soriano was hit intentionally.

Steinbrenner, Yankees needs more dough - The New York Yankees are getting help from the city of New York to get more public financing to build the new stadium across the street from their current home. According to the Associated Press, city officials confirmed Wednesday that the New York Yankees may be interested in seeking more public financing to build their new stadium, pending a regulation change by the IRS.

The team stressed, however, that its bid to change the Internal Revenue Service regulation wasn't going to affect the completion of the new Bronx stadium.

"The effort on the completion bonds will not affect the completion of the stadium," team president Randy Levine said. "We are working under the strong leadership of the city and state along with other projects to seek relief from the IRS regulation."

Janel Patterson, of the New York City Economic Development Corp., which is working with the Yankees, said the project isn't threatened. But she said the city is working to relieve an IRS regulation that prohibits more public debt to be incurred for the stadium. State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, of Westchester, said that IRS change also is being sought to help stadium and arena projects for the New York Mets and New Jersey Nets.

The $1.3 billion Yankees stadium is scheduled to open next year across from the historic current stadium, which is still being used.

"The Yankees have expressed an interest in receiving additional financing for their project," Patterson said Wednesday. "Currently, they are not permitted to do so on a tax-exempt basis pursuant to IRS regulation."

Patterson said the city Industrial Development Agency, which can use public financing to help companies expand, would consider increased funding, but no decision has been made.

"The city is working with the state in Washington to seek relief from the applicable IRS regulation, as this regulation has taken away a tool that would be useful for a number of important New York economic development projects, not just Yankee Stadium," she said.

There is trouble on the horizon, though.

Brodsky said Seth Pinsky, president of the city's Economic Development Corp., "told me that the Yankees have said they may not complete the stadium if this issue is not resolved."


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