STARRING ROLE: We've heard plenty about Rocco Baldelli being the next Joe DiMaggio.
But how about being the next Brett Favre?
Or _ more precisely _ the next Brett FAHV-re.
Baldelli has what amounts to a standing offer to appear in a film by the Farrelly brothers, the funny guy moviemakers who, like Baldelli, are native Rhode Islanders.
They've met through mutual friends, and the Farrellys told Baldelli they'd love to find a spot for him. Favre had a key speaking role in their smash hit, There's Something About Mary, but Baldelli isn't sure he'd want anything more than a bit part as an extra or maybe a waiter.
"I think it would be a lot of fun, but I'm not as comfortable in my acting skills as my baseball skills," Baldelli said. "Maybe I'll do it someday, but I don't know when."
Baldelli would have seemed like a natural for their latest project, Fever Pitch, which is about an obsessed Red Sox fan. The Farrellys were filming when the Rays were at Fenway Park last week, and Baldelli did get the chance to stop by the cast and crew party after Tuesday's game.
And, as it turns out, he does have a tiny role in the film. When Drew Barrymore's character runs onto the field during a game, the Fenway Park videoboard shows Baldelli as the batter. "They had me as a catcher," Baldelli said, "so I guess I'm a catcher."
LOOK ALIVE OUT THERE: None of the Rays knew exactly what to think when catcher Toby Hall flipped the ball to third base after Boston's Mark Bellhorn swung at strike two with nobody on in the sixth inning Tuesday.
"The entire outfield was laughing in unison," Baldelli said.
Most surprised was rookie third baseman B.J. Upton who, fortunately, happened to look up and see the ball coming. "I was like, "What's he doing?' " Upton said. "I guess we should have just thrown it around to make him look good."
The count was 2-and-1, though Hall first claimed the scoreboard read 2-and-2, then said that umpire Kerwin Danley told him it was 2-and-2. Eventually, Hall came up with a good explanation.
"I was just trying," he said, "to get a quick out."
YOUNG AND RESTLESS
There aren't too many 20-year-olds who have strolled into Fenway Park and beaten the Red Sox, especially this late in the season. Scott Kazmir is the youngest left-hander to do it since Detroit's Hal Newhouser in August 1941, and the youngest overall in more than 20 years. Here are the youngest pitchers to do so over the past 50 years:
Pitcher, team Age Date of win
Catfish Hunter, K.C. 19 yrs, 3 mos, 19 days July 27, 1965
Milt Pappas, Balt. 19 yrs, 3 mos, 19 days Aug. 30, 1958
Bert Blyleven, Minn. 19 yrs, 4 mos, 10 days Aug. 16, 1970
Bret Saberhagen, K.C. 20 yrs, 1 mos, 14 days May 25, 1984
Julian Tavarez, Clev. 20 yrs, 2 mos, 27 days Aug. 19, 1993
Jim Palmer, Balt. 20 yrs, 6 mos, 28 days April 13, 1966
Ralph Terry, NYY 20 yrs, 7 mos, 27 days Aug. 6, 1956
Victor Cruz, Tor. 20 yrs, 8 mos, 6 days Aug. 30, 1978
Dave Rozema, Det. 20 yrs, 8 mos, 16 days April 21, 1977
Scott Kazmir, T.B. 20 yrs, 8 mos, 21 days Sept. 14, 2004
_ Source: Devil Rays
YOU DON'T SAY
"You learn more from managing a losing team than a winning team, but I don't want to get too damn smart."
_ LOU PINIELLA, Rays manager
RAYS VS. RAYS
The Rays say this team is much improved over the 2003 model. A comparison through 145 games:
2003 Stat 2004
58-87 W-L 63-82
5-31.5 Pos-GB 4-28
.268 Avg. .257
4.5 RPG+ 4.4
124 HR 130
4.95 ERA 4.79
100 E 106
13,070 Att.++ 15,242
+ runs per game; ++ Average for games at Tropicana Field
_ MARC TOPKIN, Times staff writer