The cold and rain blew into the East Bay on Saturday. But it was nothing compared to the controversy stirred up by George Earl "Storm" Davis, the Oakland Athletics' veteran righthander.
Davis, who can become a free agent after the World Series, could not contain his anger over being bypassed by Oakland manager for Games 3 and 4 and a possible fifth game, tentatively scheduled for this week in San Francisco.Before the disastrous earthquake that struck the area, Davis had been scheduled to pitch Game 4 at Candlestick Park. With at least a one-week delay in the Series, he is still scheduled to pitch, but it will be Game 6 - if necessary - at Oakland Coliseum.
In announcing his plans Friday, Tony LaRussa had named Dave Stewart and Mike Moore as his starters for Games 3 and 4 and given Bob Welch the nod in Game 5. Davis initially said he was only disappointed, but now is insisting he will consider free agency.
"I made that decision yesterday," said Davis. "Previously, I was going to listen to the Athletics after the World Series before filing. But now I'm just going to go ahead and file for free agency."
Davis' blast was the first crack in the Athletics' united front. Under LaRussa, it had been a 24-man effort all year.
"If I work in the World Series, that will mean three weeks or 23 days between starts," said Davis. "In one way, I don't want to be perceived as an athlete with a humongous ego. I don't have a big ego. I just enjoy baseball. I enjoy competing. I have to speak my piece.
"I know it's World Series time, and I don't want to go out there and have everybody go, `Listen to this crybaby.' I'm not crying. If I don't have a chance to pitch, so be it. It wasn't meant to be. But I'd like to say what I feel. I'd like to pitch."
LaRussa inferred from Davis' comments that the pitcher was ungrateful. Davis won 19 games, but he had the highest earned-run average (4.36) and the fewest innings per victory (169 1-3) of the Big Four. He had only one complete game in 31 starts this year, two in 63 starts over the last two years.
But the A's were 24-7 in 1989 when Davis started and 46-17 over the last two years.
LaRussa was especially upset when he learned that one of Davis' complaints was that he should have been told about the decision by his manager, not pitching coach Dave Duncan.
"As to his not starting, I think if they (pitchers) were not upset, I'd be upset," said LaRussa. "They're competitors and they all want to pitch. I give them a lot of responsibility when they pitch. But I take my responsibility when I manage. It's been that way for a while."
LaRussa says he has an open-door policy, and Duncan has been his messenger on many occassions. Given the special conditions that exist, the manager said Davis should have understood.
"I get real upset with that comment he made to somebody about not communicating," said LaRussa. "That bothers me a great deal. The point is that he was told."