Philadelphia Inquirer - April 9, 1980

Baseball season opens in shadow of dispute

 

By the Associated Press

 

The baseball season opens today as tradition dictates, in Cincinnati, with more than the usual on-the-field  concerns intruding on major-league baseball’s 112th year.

 

Hanging over the heads of the 26 major league teams is the worry of a general players’ strike called for May 23, a month and a half into the season, unless owners and players can settle on a new basic agreement.

 

The first game of the season pits Atlanta, which finished last in the National League West with a 66-94 record last season, against the Reds, who won the division with a 90-71 record.

 

Righthander Tom Seaver, who wound up with a 16-6 record last season after recovering from a lower back strain, will pitch for the Reds against Atlanta Braves knuckleballer Phil Niekro (21-20).  Starting time is 2:30 p.m. and a capacity crowd of 52,392 is expected.

 

Today’s other opener has the Toronto Blue Jays, baseball’s worst team last season with 109 losses, at Seattle under the Kingdome at 10:35 p.m. Philadelphia time.

 

Most of the other teams begin the season tomorrow.  In the National League, Chicago is at New York, Pittsburgh plays in St. Louis, Los Angeles is at Houston and San Francisco is at San Diego.  The American League has Baltimore at Chicago, Boston at Milwaukee, New York at Texas, Detroit at Kansas City and Minnesota at Oakland.

 

 

Friday, the remaining four teams open their seasons. In the AL, Cleveland is at California, and the Phillies play host to Montreal in the NL.

Green’s lineup has Rose, McBride, Maddox… and angry Bowa 7th

 

By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer

 

Clearwater, Fla. – Danny Ozark’s tenure with the Phillies produced many things, to be sure.  But foremost among them were 2,368 lineups.

 

You would think that would have exhausted all the conceivable arrangements of the same eight guys.

 

You would think that unless you started hitting the pitcher eighth (oh yeah, Ozark tried that once) or batting Mike Schmidt first (opps, he did that, too), there would be no more alignments left.

 

You would think that mathematically, geometrically, chronologically or alphabetically, there wouldn’t be a single lineup Dallas Green could devise that Ozark didn’t haul out at least once.

 

Well, you are wrong, Malaprop Breath.

 

There is at least one lineup Ozark never, ever wrote out.  And Green will send it out to play the Expos opening night.

 

The lineup starts with Pete Rose first.  You were expecting maybe Ricky Ricardo?

 

Bake McBride and Garry Maddox then go second and third.

 

“The fact that Bake hits lefthanders as well as righthanders means I don’t have to do a lot of switching around in the second hole,” Green said.  “And the fact that he’s on a hot streak helps.  He’s swinging the bat as well as I’ve ever seen him.

 

“I don’t know what the the classic third hitter should be, but I think Maddox fits the bill as well as anybody we have.  He’s a career .280-.290 hitter.  He’s got great speed.  And while he is recognized as a streak hitter, I still think if you average it out he’s a pretty consistent offensive guy.”

 

The middle of the lineup then goes Mike Schmidt fourth, Greg Luzinski fifth, Bob Boone sixth.

 

“Schmitty in the fourth spot figures for me, because it keeps the speed where I want it – up higher,” Green said.  “If you hit the Bull ahead of Schmitty, it would slow Schmitty down a little bit in his baserunning.  And I think he’s capable of some baserunning.  If you hit Bull fourth, you’re going to lead off quite a few innings with Bull.”

 

The bottom of the order will be composed of the Philadelphia chapter of the Deposed No. 2 Hitters of America:  Larry Bowa (seventh) and Manny Trillo (eighth).

 

“I switched Manny and Bow because of Bow’s speed,” Green said.  “With him in the seven slot you can use him to steal more bases.  If you try to steal him most of the time with the pitcher hitting, it had a tendency to take away some of his offensive ability.

 

“With Manny hitting eighth, you can still play hit-and-run.  You do it this way, you can still do some things out of the eighth slot.”

 

So there it is, etched in stone, recorded in perpetuity, the same basic set-up day-in, day-out, for 162 games, right?  Nope, wrong again.

 

“I don’t feel it’s that important to keep the same lineup intact all year,” Green said.  “I know a lot of our players like to get comfortable in a spot and say, ‘That’s my spot.’

 

“But like I said about being comfortable with a 25-man roster, if all you’re going to do is be comfortable just to suit your own personalities instead of thinking about the team, we’re not going to get a lot accomplished in 1980.”

 

There isn’t exactly unanimous agreement with that philosophy among the troops.  But perhaps that is just the weary rumblings of guys work out by 1,000 Ozark jugglings.

 

“I just think any time you have a set batting order, you’re better off,” said Rose.  “Take Garry being in the third spot.  I think that’s good as long as he hits third against (Expo Steve) Rogers on Friday and third against everybody.

 

“It helps a guy to know he’s in the same place every day.  It will help him to know that Schmitty’s behind him and Bake’s in front of him all the time.  Guys shouldn’t hit first one day, sixth the next.”

 

That, however, is how Green wants to do it.  And if there is one thing clear about Green by now, it is that things will be done his way, like it or not.

 

Rose, in general, had few quarrels with the order.  He described McBride as not “the idealistic No. 2-type hitter.”  And he said he expected fewer hit-and-runs because of it.  But he also said McBride was “very similar to Joe Morgan,” who hit behind him in Cincinnati.

 

“I like Larry hitting seventh better than I like Manny hitting seventh,” Rose added.  “Manny’s a more disciplined hitter.  Larry’s a free swinger.  And you don’t want a free swinger hitting eighth because you have to be aware the pitcher’s behind you and you’re not going to get as many good pitches to hit.”

 

Among the principals in the lineup switches, Trillo was philosophical, Maddox was surprised and Bowa was, perhaps predictably, annoyed.

 

“It don’t make no difference to me if I hit first or fourth or second or wherever,” said Trillo, whose .190 average this spring got him demoted from the second slot.  “I’ll be happy just to play the game, that’s all.  When I was with the Cubs I even batted fourth two times.  I don’t like batting fourth too much.  But I don’t think I’ll have that problem here.”

 

Maddox said he would talk with Rose, McBride and Schmidt about their theories on hitting third.  But his first impression, he said, was that it would allow him to play “my type of game.”

 

“Hitting third I can be aggressive,” said Maddox, who walked 17 times last year.  “I don’t have to worry about getting walks.  But I still have to hit the way I can.  It’s tough enough for me, hitting my way, to be successful.  I can’t change.”

 

Bowa’s gripe about hitting No. 7 was that Green had never told him personally and that he hadn’t batted there before.

 

“He didn’t hit me seventh all spring,” Bowa grumbled.  “He didn’t hit me second.  He hit me eighth all spring.  And now I’m gonna get changed?  Unbelievable.”

 

It took Rose to put all this in perspective.

 

“It don’t matter what the lineup is,” Rose said.  “Guys still have to produce.  You still have to hit.”

 

NOTES:  Randy Lerch looked good in the last of Green’s simulated games.  “He had a pretty consistent fastball and a better feel of the breaking ball than I’ve seen him have,” Green said.  “He looked like he knew, at times, where he was throwing the ball.  And that was encouraging.”…  Toronto lost interest in Rawly Eastwick and Doug Bird, so Paul Owens just planned to release them….  Rose, the chairman of the U.S. Savings Bond drive, meets with President Carter in Washington today.  “I gotta be there at 9, so they’re picking me up at 5 o’clock,” Rose said.  “Air Force jet.  Hell’s Angels.”  Let’s hope he meant Blue Angels.

Player proposals make no progress

 

Compiled by The Inquirer Staff

 

NEW YORK – Negotiators in the baseball-contract dispute met for 4½ hours yesterday.

 

Marvin Miller, executive director of the Players Association, said the session was concerned with management responses to modified player proposals presented on March 18.  The proposals included minimum salary and free-agent time limitations.

 

 

“We made the proposals,” Miller said.  “It was their responsibility to reply to them.  But their response was, ‘Do you have any lower figures that we might consider?’"