Baseball: Jordan makes uncertain start: Glove story brings top-flight basketballer down to earth in Florida

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The Independent Online
for the Chicago White Sox. He most celebrated rookie, Michael Jordan, took the field under game conditions for the first time since high school in Sarasota, Florida, on Thursday night.

His team lost 12-7 after his two-out error allowed the other side to go ahead.

'Some critics may see it as a setback, but I saw it as an opportunity to go out and see what a baseball game is like,' Jordan said after playing all six innings. 'It was my first game and I felt nervous and out of my element.'

It was in right field that Jordan had his worst moment. With two outs, two runners on and the score 6-6, Joe Hall sliced a high fly into the 25mph gusts. Jordan, instructed to play deep, ran in and toward the line, but the ball glanced off his glove, a model specially made by Wilson with his name in it.

Because Jordan did not get on base, he did not get to show off his speed. He also did not test his arm because his only other play came when he caught a routine fly to end the sixth.

Jordan, however, showed some feel for the game's nuances. When he was at bat and Scott Christman threw a wild pitch, Jordan quickly waved the runners to second and third. When he ran on and off the

diamond, he made sure not to step on the foul lines, which is anathaema in baseball superstition. When he was left on deck, he waited for a

team-mate to bring his equipment.

'Because it was my first time, I was a little more observant, making sure I watched what other players do,' he said. 'Picking up the glove, taking the hats out there, all the things you go through in the course of a game.'

Many in the crowd of 1,736 left

after Jordan's second strike-out. Some fans stopped on their way out at a special Nike van selling Jordan- related items; the regular souvenir stand at Ed Smith Stadium does not have anything bearing his name or picture. 'That's the first thing

everyone is asking: 'Do you have something with Michael Jordan on it?' the vendor, Cathy Carlson, said, frowning. 'We don't, and that's all anyone wants.'