How dramatic is the turnaround of the Indians? If they can draw
500,000 to Cleveland Stadium in the second half's 37 dates -- they
drew 818,203 in the first half -- they will actually make money. . .
. The Indians have even found another power hitter, Cory Snyder, who
hit eight homers in his first month with the team and demonstrated
a rightfield arm equal to that of Toronto's Jesse Barfield. . . .
Still, the most surprising story out of Cleveland is that of
knuckleballer Tom Candiotti, who at this time last year seemed at the
end of his career. ''He's got the best knuckleball in the game,''
says manager Pat Corrales. ''It's just a matter of his learning to
control it.'' Maybe Candiotti and Phil Niekro should throw batting
practice between starts, because the Indians have lost eight straight
to the Rangers' Charlie Hough and are 1-10 against knuckleballers
in 1985-86. . . . The prayers and thoughts of the entire baseball
community are with Kansas City manager Dick Howser, who is to be
operated on this week for the removal of a brain tumor. Howser is one
of the game's most popular and respected people. . . . A's batting
coach Bob Watson, who played with Boston in 1979, took a look at Jim
Rice's new singles hitting style and said, ''I've never seen anyone
hit so far back on his heels. It's amazing that anyone could take so
small a stride and still hit the ball hard.'' The switch came about
because Rice was weary of grounding into double plays. It worked. At
the All-Star break he was batting .334 and had hit into only 11
DPs, but he had only nine homers to go with his 29 doubles. . . .
With the trading deadline pushed back to Aug. 1, the All-Star Game
was like the winter meetings, with general managers -- led by San
Diego's trader, Jack McKeon -- working the lobby of Houston's
Hyatt-Regency. McKeon has been trying to cash in on Dallas Green's
ongoing overhaul of the Cubs. Green wants to move Davey Lopes, Steve
Trout, Dennis Eckersley and Ron Cey. ''The players decided it for
me,'' Green said. ''It's too bad, because I liked my team. I kept
them in Chicago, gave them money, gave their families security. But I
look at the first half and see pitchers with three wins. I see
batters hitting .170. I see guys pouting, walking around with their
heads down.'' . . . Thank goodness for manager Whitey Herzog's
proper perspective on the All-Star Game and his refusal to make
Gooden walk the Tigers' Lou Whitaker in order to pitch to Clemens,
who has never had a major league at bat. ''This game is for the fans,
and they don't want to see Clemens hit against Gooden,'' said Herzog,
who had to face a barrage of second- guessing by media people who
couldn't care less about the fans. An intentional walk in the second
inning of an All-Star Game would be like going to the four corners in
the NBA All-Star Game.
RONALD C. MODRA The NL didn't score until the eighth when Chris Brown of the Giants eluded the tag by Hough after a passed ball.
RONALD C. MODRA Get-well wishes for Dick Howser.