09/24/06 3:05 PM ET
Notes: Gibbons connects with his wife
Tejada named O's MVP; Mora misses home finale with illness
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
"I had a hard enough time with that guy on the mound," Gibbons said Sunday. "But I came right in and I had 10 guys saying, 'Jay, you just hit your wife. You better go check her out.' They didn't know where it hit her, but luckily, she's going to be OK. Everything's fine. I told her to stand over on the concourse today, for our last game. Be careful."
Laura Gibbons was struck in the left side, and her husband said it could've been worse. One of his teammates -- Rodrigo Lopez -- had his young children sitting one row ahead of Mrs. Gibbons for most of the game, but they left shortly before the fateful foul came back over the netting.
And what's worse is that nobody seemed surprised. Baltimore's players have complained for years about the height of the net, which they claim is one of the lowest in the league.
"It's something you think about every day here," said Gibbons, Baltimore's player representative. "I've got players coming to me every day saying one of their family members got hit or almost got hit. I had an usher take one for my wife the other day, in the back. ... He jumped in front of my wife and I was like, 'Man, that's lucky.'
"One of these days, someone's going to get hurt real bad. That's all I've got to say. I'm confused with what's going on and why it's so hard to make an adjustment."
Gibbons said he's talked to team executives and the Player's Association about it, and he also said that an engineer came out to Camden Yards to measure it. The measurement found the net to be built to specifications, but that doesn't erase it as a concern for the people whose families sit behind it.
Last season, reserve outfielder David Newhan's father broke his hand behind the plate, and utility man Chris Gomez's wife also got hit by an errant foul ball. This year, bullpen catcher Sam Snider's son was struck by another foul.
"It always scares me when a ball goes back up there. All of us have our families back there," said Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo. "You get worried, but foul balls are hit all over the stadium. I refuse to look when it's hit hard. You're always praying that no one gets hurt."
"If they're worried about the sightline, which I've heard, all they have to do is throw a net straight back," added Gibbons. "We've talked about it. They don't have daycare, so it's either come to the game and play Russian Roulette with your three-year-old or stay home. That's what we're dealing with. Or move the family section, but then you've got other fans that are endangered. To me, it's a no-brainer. Make an adjustment. But that's just me, I guess."
Simply the best: Shortstop Miguel Tejada, who leads the Orioles in batting average (.331), home runs (22) and RBIs (95), was named the Most Valuable Oriole for the second time in three seasons on Sunday. Tejada won the award by virtue of a vote from the local media and was pleased to accept the award.
"I'm really happy to hear that," said Tejada, who is four hits away from tying the club record for hits (211) in a season, set by Cal Ripken. "But I think there are a lot of MVPs on this team. There's [Nick] Markakis, Ramon [Hernandez] and [Erik] Bedard. We're all MVPs. We're all in the same boat. But there's only one, and I'm happy to be selected."
Tejada, who homered in the fourth inning against the Twins on Sunday to end a career-high homerless stretch of 120 at-bats, is proud of his numbers. He's one of just four Orioles to post two 200-hit seasons, and he's one of eight Orioles to win the team MVP more than once.
"My job is to play good defense and get the most hits I can get," he said. "I'm not a guy that's going to hit 30 or 40 home runs every year. I think 20 or 25 is great, and the most important thing for my career from now on is to keep the average up. That's what I'm looking for for the rest of my career."
"I think it's a good choice," said Perlozzo. "And I think what's even better is we had three or four choices. When the decision becomes tougher and tougher like that, it means we're going to get better and better."
Tejada connected for his second homer of the game Sunday with a solo shot in the sixth inning, marking his ninth career multi-homer game and his first of the season.
Feeling the flu: Melvin Mora missed his second straight game with an illness on Sunday, and he was joined by Hernandez shortly before the game. The illness has slowly been spreading through Baltimore's clubhouse, but with a day off on Monday, the Orioles should be fully rested by the start of their road trip.
Quotable: "If this team wants to win, the last thing they should do is trade me." -- Tejada, speaking about the offseason and the rumors surrounding his future with the Orioles
Coming up: The Orioles will get an off-day on Monday before finishing their season with a two-city road trip. The trip starts in New York, and Hayden Penn will be matched up against Cory Lidle on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.