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04-03-2008, 01:24 AM
Dorn’s talent quiets jokers

For Chattanooga Lookouts outfielder Danny Dorn, the heckling was inevitable.

Dorn was only five years old in 1989, when the movie “Major League” became a humorous hit and eventually led to a pair of inferior sequels. “Major League” is a rags to riches tale of the Cleveland Indians starring Charlie Sheen as relief pitcher Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn and Tom Berenger as aging catcher Jake Taylor.

The movie also includes Corbin Bernsen as a prima donna third baseman named Roger Dorn.

“I’ve heard it all,” Dorn said. “Sometimes it gets a little old. I’ve even had umpires ask me about it.”

Dorn is expected to play mostly left field for the Lookouts, who open their Southern League season tonight in Montgomery. He also could play some first base, which he did in Tuesday’s exhibition against Chattanooga State, as well as being the designated hitter.

In the movie, Roger Dorn has the team’s highest salary and refuses to put forth much effort, if any at all. When a grounder gets by him in one scene, he memorably explains, “It was out of my reach. What do you want me to do, dive for it?”

Considering most aspiring baseball players can recite movies like “Major League” and “Bull Durham” line for line, references often occur on bus trips, in clubhouses and out on the field. When Dorn arrived from high Single-A Sarasota last August, the reaction from his Lookouts counterparts was predictable.

“We just made stuff up about him being soft,” pitcher Sam LeCure said, “even if it had nothing to do with him just to rib him a little bit.”

Said catcher Craig Tatum: “We gave him beef about that last year, but after a while I think he gets sick of it.”

Dorn hears the references more now compared to growing up in the Los Angeles area, where he attended Diamond Bar High School and Cal State Fullerton. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 32nd round of the 2006 draft and flourished last season in his first full year of professional ball.

He hit .281 with 12 home runs and 66 RBIs in 92 games at Sarasota and hit .311 with eight homers and 21 RBIs in 26 games with the Lookouts. His 20 combined homers and 87 combined RBIs ranked fourth among Reds minor-leaguers.

Lookouts hitting coach Jamie Dismuke remembers some humorous Dorn references during late-season travels a year ago but pointed out, “This kid can swing the bat, so that pretty much silences the crowd on the road.”

Dorn has heard all the lines but admits he still gets the occasional chuckle when a random one is shouted from the crowd. LeCure often is entertained when he has to chart other pitchers and sits among the spectators.

“It’s really funny when he gets beaned, because of the famous scene where he kind of jelly-legs in the batter’s box and goes down pretty hard,” LeCure said. “When he gets hit, fans on the road get on him pretty good. In the movie he gets hit and gets that baby face, so whenever Danny gets hit, that’s when they come at him pretty good.

“Being on a baseball team, there is a lot of down time and a lot of standing around. You wind up finding stuff to do to make fun of each other. You have to have tough skin, but he’s doing a good job with it.”