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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Dusty's run ends, Cubs' hex doesn't
By TIMES WIRES
Published October 3, 2006
CHICAGO - Dusty Baker ducked into the small, cave-like interview room under Wrigley Field for a final time. As usual, he was reflective and philosophical, even on the day he learned he was out as the Cubs' manager.
"I wish we could have gotten it done, but we didn't," Baker said. "I guess all things must come to an end and all things come to pass."
Baker's four-year run ended Monday when the team declined to renew his contract, ending a tumultuous span of less than 24 hours for a franchise that hasn't won a World Series since 1908.
One day earlier, team president and CEO Andy MacPhail resigned after 12 years.
Baker figured to be the guy to end the talk of curses and bad luck. After 10 years managing the Giants, a World Series trip and three Manager of the Year awards, he had the background, experience, success and respect that many thought would finally bring a championship to the team long known as the lovable losers.
But after his first Cubs team collapsed in the 2003 NL Championship Series when the World Series was five outs away, he couldn't get it back to the playoffs. His final two years turned into losers, including an NL-worst 66-96 mark this season.
ALOU OUT: Nobody in the Giants' front office is blaming Felipe Alou for San Francisco's failures the past two seasons. Owner Peter Magowan is willing to take the heat for that.
The club cut ties with Alou a day after the team finished its second straight losing season. San Francisco is committed to moving forward with a younger roster, and likely a younger manager.
"He's every way a victim of circumstances," general manager Brian Sabean said. "He knows he had four good years here. The last two were rugged."
Magowan also said that if slugger Barry Bonds were to return to the Giants, he would not be the centerpiece of a roster that needs "to get younger and healthier."
'INACCURACIES' CITED: The federal prosecutor overseeing an investigation of steroids in baseball said a newspaper report that five players, including Roger Clemens, had used illegal performance-enhancing drugs contained "significant inaccuracies."
Citing sealed court filings, the Los Angeles Times reported that former pitcher Jason Grimsley had named Clemens, his Astros teammate Andy Pettitte and Orioles Miguel Tejada, Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons.
San Francisco U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan issued a statement saying: "In view of the recent news reports purporting to identify certain athletes whose names had been redacted from the government's search warrant filings in the Grimsley matter, and in the interests of justice, please be advised that these reports contain significant inaccuracies."
A spokesman for Ryan declined to elaborate. A Times spokesman had no immediate comment.
Norton earns final honor
The Devil Rays' final week of the season was forgettable as they cemented the worst record in the majors, but Greg Norton had a week that drew notice: The Rays' first baseman and rightfielder was named AL player of the week.
Norton hit .360 (9-for-25) with three doubles, three homers, eight RBIs, 21 total bases and a slugging percentage of .840. Norton drove in four in a two-game series in Boston, going 4-for-6 with two doubles, a homer and three runs.
Norton came to spring training as a nonroster invitee and ended the season as the everyday cleanup hitter. He was fourth on the team in homers and batted .296, the highest of his eight-year career.
He is the second Devil Rays player to earn the award in 2006. Carl Crawford was honored for the week of May 22-28.
Times staff writer Eduardo A. Encina contributed to this report.