Montreal Gazette - April 19, 1980
Gary Carter drives in four runs as Expos take debut at home
By Ian MacDonald of The Gazette
Gary Carter showed those "experts" who chose Bob Boone as the golden glove catcher of the National League the error of their ways yesterday.
Actually, Boone showed the errors and with Carter not only fielding flawlessly but providing the most important offensive muscle as well, there was no doubt about who was the best catcher in the world on this particular afternoon.
"There's no special satisfaction in playing well because Boone was catching against us today,” Carter said after his three-run homer brought the Expos from behind and sent them on their way to a 7-5 win over the visiting Phillies in their debut at home.
"Boonie had a rough day. I've never seen him have a game like that. But tie's a professional and a great catcher. He'll likely bounce back tomorrow (today)."
While Carter was driving home four runs and scoring a pair, the Expos stole second base five times. Three times the runners went to third as Boone's hurried throws bounced past the cover men and into centrefield.
Four two-out hits
Carter's home run highlighted a five-run fifth inning that featured four two-out hits which accounted for all of the runs.
One of those hits may rank with one of the longest singles of all time. Warren Cromartie found the gap between right and centre. This was marked triple all the way but “Cro" forgot something. He missed first base and when he jammed on the brakes to retrack he sprained his ankle.
"It was a mistake," Cromartie said while telling people that he will be ready for this afternoon's action. Few among the 41.222 who represented some 6,000 more than last year’s opening day crowd would have bet a plugged nickel that "Cro" would play-today. He was helped from the field after literally crawling back to touch first base.
"You won’t see me do that again this season."
The timely hitting in the comeback after Mike Schmidt and Greg Lunnski had hit back-to-back homers to put the Phillies ahead 4 2 in the top of the inning helped perpetuate the magic which made the Expos prove so tough at home all of last year. They were 56-25 here last year, the best home record in the league.
“It was great to be able to come back after those two homers," Carter said. "That's a start in the right direction.
"The fan support was wonderful. It's great to have that so-called 10th man behind you. We knew when we came back that way we were headed in the right direction."
Carter actually had some sympathy for Boone, who was selected for the Golden Glove honor by a panel of media "experts".
Andre Dawson, Rodney Scott, Ellis Valentine, Ron LeFlore and Tony Bernazard (the latter pinch running for Cromartie) stole bases.
“I’m glad I don't have to throw against those runners," Carter said. “I’m glad they're on my side. They are going to give lots of catchers fits all season.''
Beneficiary of this hitting and running was Scott Sanderson, the stringbean who had been weakened by the loss of weight with a stomach disorder.
"There's nothing wrong with me anymore." Sanderson said after becoming the second Expos' starter (Steve Rogers is the other) to get a win while pitching just five innings.
"I've gained six of the nine pounds that I lost back. I didn't feel weak. The cold weather didn't bother me. I just made two bad pitches.
“I might not be throwing like I will in mid-season. Both times I threw them hitters' pitches. They were not exactly where I wanted them. I was not happy. It was good that the hitters overcame the mistakes that I made."
Carter wrote off the importance of his home run which gave the Expos the lead.
"The big run was in front of me." Carter said about the single up the middle by Larry Parrish which drove home LeFlore with the first run of the inning.
"That brought us to within one and took a lot of the pressure from me."
"I thought they were both pressure hits," Williams said. "Actually, Parrish does a better job of driving home runs with two out than he does of scoring a man from third with less than two outs.
"Then we stole that last run. I liked that."
After Bernazard replaced Cromartie, Williams gave the little infielder the green light and he made the final steal of the day. Chris Speier then singled for his second hit and second RBI of the game.
Doesn't hold runners
Phillies' manager Dallas Green took much of the onus off Boone's back when he explained that Dick Ruthven is notoriously poor at holding runners close to the bag. Last year in one game the Cardinals stole seven bases when Ruthven was pitching.
"That's the way I used to throw when I was a pitcher and they converted me to catching." chuckled Boone about the balls he bounced past second.
"They had good jumps but I've been around long enough to know that I can only throw so fast. I should be experienced enough to know that I have to stay within myself. You try to do extra and you throw wildly."
Luzinski appeared lost on his homer as he slowed down at second, started walking to third, and then walked back to touch second base before trotting home.
"I was looking for a signal from one of the umpires." Luzinski said. "I knew the ball was out but I didn't know if it was going to stay fair. Then I wasn't sure if I’d missed second because I was looking at the umpire. I went back just to make sure."
David Palmer came on and threw excellently for two and-a-third innings in his first work of the season while Woodie Fryman earned the save by slamming the door when the Phillies threatened in the eighth.
Pitch me or trade me, says Expos’ Grimsley
Ross Grimsley says pitch me or ditch me.
Grimsley. who starts his first game of the season Monday against Pittsburgh, wants a regular turn with the Expos... or anybody else, and is willing to waive the no-trade clause in his contract to get it.
"The problem is basically the same as it was at the end of last season," said Grimsley, who was greeted by boos as he trotted onto the field before the 7-5 victory in the home opener against Philadelphia yesterday.
He responded first by cupping his hand to his ear and then waving both his arms in a gesture best interpreted as. "Ah, ya moth-ah."
"I want to pitch, and there were a couple of chances to use me before my start – specifically the first game in New York. Fred (Norman) pitched great in relief, and this is no knock on him, but we were winning that game 7-4 and I could have used an inning of work. Have they that little confidence in me where I can't even work an inning?
It's not fair
"I have to pitch in a game to be effective, and now I'm supposed to pitch against the world champs. What's happening is not fair. It s not fair to the ball club, and it's not fair to me."
The 30-year-old Grimsley became the Expos' first 20-game winner in 1978 before slipping to 10-9 with a 5.36 earned run average last season. But he had been told by management this winter he would be a starting pitcher.
How often he would start, Gnmsley said, never was discussed.
"I didn't think it would work out like this." he said. "If you give me the ball, I'm going to win 12, 15 games for you. Be it the Expos or somebody else.
"I'd love to stay here. I chose to come up here in the first place. I love the city, the organization has improved 100 per cent since I arrived, this is a fantastic place.
"But it can't go on like this. I'm not bitter towards anybody; I just want to pitch. If the Expos can't make a deal for me. then me and Jerrv (agent Jerry Kapstein) will do it."
Grimsley. who signed as a free agent in December, 1977. has four years remaining on his contract, which is too long for anybody to be bitching about pitching.
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