Philadelphia Daily News - August 11, 1980
Beginning of the End?
Green Blows His Top
By Ray Didinger
PITTSBURGH – The voice filled the corridor outside the visitors' locker room, crashing off the concrete walls and gushing through the narrow hallway like flood water pouring through a sewer pipe.
The voice had the cold, sharp edge of a rattled sabre. It left the floor sooty with volcanic ash. It was all profanity and exclamation points, a voice that spun heads and buckled knees like a siren screaming in the night.
The voice belonged to Dallas Green, the Phillies' manager, and it drowned out everything else that went on between games of yesterday's doubleheader with the Pittsburgh Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium.
The Phillies had just lost the opener, 7-1, in the style that has become their trademark, slipping into defeat as if it were a lounge chair. The loss was their third straight to the Pirates, their ninth straight on the road and it splashed kerosene on the fire that was already burning in the manager's belly.
DALLAS GREEN STALKED into the clubhouse and opened up on his players, spraying them with a machine-gun burst of anger. The news media were locked outside but that hardly mattered, what with Green's voice echoing through the Allegheny Mountains.
"This bleeping game isn't easy," Green bellowed. "It's tough, especially when you have injuries. But you guys (have) got your bleeping heads down.
"You've gotta stop being so bleeping cool. Get that through your bleeping heads. If you don't, you'll get so bleeping buried, it ain't gonna be funny.
"Get the bleep off your asses," Green said, "and just be the way you can be because you're a good bleeping baseball team. But you're not now and you can't look in the bleeping mirror and tell me you are.
"You tell me you can do it but you bleeping give up. If you don't want to bleeping play, get the bleep in that (manager's) office and bleeping tell me because I don't want to bleeping play you."
That was Dallas Green's best shot, his longest and surely his loudest thrust at what remains of this team's conscience. The Phillies reflected on Green's words, then went out and lost the nightcap, 4-1, swinging the bats as grudgingly as lifers working on a Leavenworth rockpile.
The Phillies did not win one for the Griper but, then, who really expected them to? I mean, they were playing at Three Rivers Stadium and the Phillies take the field here like butterflies waiting to be pinned. They have lost 15 of their last 20 games here and the dugout is littered with the skeletons of past campaigns.
BESIDES. THE PHILLIES don't like to be chewed out. Wasn’t it just last month that Greg Luzinski criticized Dallas Green's outspoken method of managing? The Phillies, it seems, don't mind playing lousy. They just don't like being told about it.
Well, Dallas Green took the whip to his team yesterday and the team responded by flutter ing its eyelids momentarily, then drifting back to sleep. The Phillies managed six hits in the second game, four in seven innings off starting pitcher Don Robinson, who earned his first win since July 13.
Manny Trillo picked up three hits but dropped a throw from Mike Schmidt which could have started a double play and prevented the first Pittsburgh run. Larry Bowa fielded Robinson's routine grounder and, with Robinson not even running to first, threw the ball away.
The doubleheader loss ended on an appropriate note, with lightning flashing on an eerie horizon and Bowa swinging at – and missing – an abusive fan on the roof of the dugout. The Phillies are now six games back in the National League East and this is as good a time as any to order the headstone for their 1980 season.
Schmidt has two hits in the last two weeks, Luzinski is still on the disabled list and, as a result, the offense has dried up. Defensively, they cannot cope with the speed of the Pirates and Montreal. In this series, the Pirates stole seven bases in eight attempts and forced the Phillies catchers into three throwing errors.
THE PHILLIES HAVE about as much chance of winning the National League East as Ted Kennedy has of stealing the Democratic nomination away from Jimmy Carter. But, like a crusty old campaign manager. Dallas Green is not about to concede until the last delegate is counted.
Late yesterday afternoon, Green sat behind his desk, reminding everyone there were still 55 games left on the Phillies schedule. He seemed happy about moving on to Chicago, saying the cozy, ivy-covered fences and the jet-stream breezes might be just what his hitters need to regain their confidence.
Green's mood had softened considerably in the three-plus hours since his opening-game outburst. He was still angry about his team's performance – the displeasure crept into his voice occasionally – but he was trying hard to put this series behind him and look ahead.
Someone asked about his earlier tirade. Green's jaws tightened a bit. He slid a clenched fist across his desk.
"I'm not gonna let these guys quit on themselves," Green said. "I haven't quit on them, I'm sure our fans haven't quit on them, so I'm not gonna let them quit on themselves. If I have to yell at them to get them going, I'll yell good and loud.
"I may not be doing this (leading the club) the right way but I'm doing it the only way I know how. It's the way I've gotten to where I am now. The other way (the softer, Danny Ozark approach) was tried with these guys and that was unsuccessful. Now we'll try it my way.
"YOU HAVE A tendency to hurt tender feelings with an outburst like that," Green admitted, "but I've never been one to hold a grudge. I say what's on my mind and, once it's said, it's over and done with. If more guys on this club were like that, I think we'd be a lot better off.
"I believe there's character on this ballclub. That's why I feel we'll bounce back from this. Hell, it's not even mid-August yet. We can turn this thing around. We're a streaky club. If we get off on a streak, we can climb right back in the race.
"I never "did say this was a make-or-break series for us," Green said. "Sure it was important, but every series is important. Last week the Pirates lost six in a row and everybody was worried about them.
"I don't feel this club will quit," Green said firmly. "1 felt I got a good effort from everyone in the second game."
There was some clumsy throat-clearing and foot-shuffling over that last comment. What game was Dallas Green watching? The Phillies' effort was, once again, uninspiring. If anything, some players seemed distracted, preoccupied.
Pete Rose played his usual game but be would have done that if Dallas Green had simply locked himself in his office between games. Rose doesn't need guys telling him to keep his head up because he's been playing that way ever since he was in the Little Leagues.
Rose did not resent Green's outburst. In fact, he said he thought it was a very good idea.
"THERE'S A TIME and a place for everything," Rose said, "but just because a manager has a scream-out doesn't mean you're gonna go out and score 10 runs right away. It might take a day or two.
"But, in this case, the manager was absolutely right. Just because we got beat 4-1 doesn't mean it didn't sink in. I think it did. There was a whole lot of chatter on the bench in the second game and it wasn't because of that (fan) in the Kent State T-shirt, either. Dallas got some guys thinking.
"Each manager is different," Rose said. "Fred Hutchinson (the late Cincinnati manager) was like Danny (Ozark), he kept things inside. I remember one time he finally exploded. He picked up a bag full of balls and tossed them through a window.
"Personally, I like a manager like Dallas. He lets you know what he's thinking all the time. If he's unhappy, he lets you know it and he was unhappy today."
"I think Dallas had great timing, sounding off like he did today," said Mike Schmidt. "A manager needs to do that... give you the old 'hang-in-there, the-cream-will-rise-to-the-top' speech once in awhile.
"I know I was ready to go in that second game. Heck, I was ready to go every game in this series. I sure didn't want to come in here and lose four games to the Pirates.
"I CANT WORRY about it now, though. We've got three more games coming up with the Cubs and that's what we've gotta be thinking about. We get a few hits, score a few runs and everybody will forget about what happened here this weekend.
"I'd be a babbling idiot if every time we lost a game or a series, I went into a coma over it. I don't go crazy when I do good, so why should I make myself miserable when things go bad?
"It's like Pops Stargell said to me at first base today," Schmidt recalled. "He said, 'Win or lose, life goes on.'"
Pops Stargell can afford to say things like that. The Pirates are tied for first place. The Phillies are third and sinking like they have an anchor tied to their shoelaces.
Dallas Green had better stock up on throat lozenges for the weeks ahead.
Beginning of the End?
Pirates Sweep Phillies
By Bud Shaw
PITTSBURGH – The Phillies were here for a weekend series about this time last year, and only recently has the river patrol stopped dredging the Monongahela in search of their bodies.
The Pirates crammed five games down the. Phillies throats those three days, and the people who were there came back yesterday to see the thrilling conclusion of Poseidon Adventure Part II, with the Pirates playing the role of the wave.
History, it seems, always unravels with a unique twist despite all those theories about it repeating itself. So there were no deja vu experiences at Three Rivers Stadium over the weekend, because this time the Phillies were only invited for four games, not five.
It was a subtle twist and probably meant nothing more than the difference between being six games out of first place instead of seven.
You get the idea that the Phillies could spend the whole month of August here and never see the Pirates bat in the bottom of the ninth. If the past couple Phillies seasons were eulogized on film, they'd need a whole reel for the part where Kent Tekulve walks off the mound, shaking hands with Willie Stargell. "
TEKULVE MADE THE trek once yesterday. He might have done it twice, but it was obvious that Jim Bibby didn't need any help, and the Pirates completed their four-game sweep by beating the Phillies, 7-1 and 4-1.
About the only thing resembling team unity on this weekend was the way the Phillies filled their travel bags in time to catch a plane to Chicago, where they open a three-game series today against the Cubs.
If there is nowhere to go but up, it may only be because their means of transportation out of Pittsburgh was an airplane.
"The only way we'll know how this series will affect us will be what we do in Chicago," said Dallas Green, who was affected enough to verbally rip his team after the first game of yesterday's doubleheader.
"I certainly hope we have more character than to let this thing carry on. We still have a lot of games left. This is a streaky team that can win a lot of games when it's going good.
"I have to believe we're going to come out of it. I think we have the character. But character doesn't go too darn far when you don’t hit. And we just didn't hit."
The Phillies have scored just three runs in the last 29 innings against a team that has the capability of reversing those numbers. And even when one of their streaks was taking them in the wrong direction faster than you can sing a few bars of "We Are Family," the Phillies usually have been able to keep things under control with decent pitching and better-than-decent defense.
THEY NEEDED BOTH against Bibby and Don Robinson yesterday, but one negated the other. Randy Lerch started the first game and, with the exception of a batting-practice toss to Tim Foli with the bases loaded in the sixth, did not pitch too badly.
"Lord knows, it does seem like the poor kid can’t catch a break," said Green. "That one ball (a Stargell double that Lonnie Smith misjudged) should have been caught in left. Then (Bill) Madlock drives in a run that just got over Schmitty's glove.
"Hell. Randy did OK. did what we needed him to do. Except for Foli. It was a high fastball, a pitch that Foli can hit every time he goes up there. If there's one pitch you dont throw him, that's it.
"But other than that. Randy did OK. And I thought Danny (Larson) pitched pretty well, too. We just didn't hit And we'll have to live with that."
The Phillies may die with it before long, especially if they continue to throw and catch a baseball like it's radioactive. They made five errors yesterday, three on throws by Keith Moreland and Bob Boone, who split the double-header behind the plate. It is exactly 127 feet, 5⅜ inches from home to second. Moreland and Boone were able to consistently shave the distance by a couple yards.
The Pirates' scenario never changed. Only the names did. They stole second, were given third on some occasions and kept pushing runs across on sacrifice flies and more than a few soft singles.
"IF THEY COT 40 hits in this series." said Mike Schmidt, who got quite a few less than that, "they broke bats on 25 of those. That's not a knock on their hitting. It's just that everything they hit fell in and everything we hit was right at somebody.
"Believe me. when we teed this thing off Friday we were out to beat the crap out of them in four straight. But we got outhit and out-pitched."
"There's not a guy in this clubhouse, with the exception of Pete (Rose), who didn't make an error or fail to produce. But we stand a whole lot less chance of winning in Chicago if we walk out of here feeling sorry for ourselves."
"Every time they put a guy on third or we put a guy on third for them, they scored him," said Rose. "I call that routine baseball. We're not playing that right now.
"But we're only four out in the loss column and losing this series isn't the end of the world. If we don't start playing better it might be. But this series is no more important than the next series and the next one after that.
"They beat us four straight. And they deserved to. They outhit us and created some breaks for themselves. Things went so well for them. I think Chuck Tanner could have got up there and got a hit. No, I take that back. I've seen Chuck Tanner hit."
On what was another washed-out weekend in Pittsburgh, that was more than Chuck Tanner could say about the Phillies.
PHILUPS: Dan Larson kept the Phils in the second game, allowing one earned run and three hits in five innings... The Pirates reached Ron Reed for single runs in the seventh and eighth and the only thing the Phils could muster was a seventh-inning homer by Bake McBride... Kent Tekulve's save was his 17th... Don Robinson (4-5) got the win... Bob Walk will face Lynn McGlothen this afternoon, in Chicago... Larry Christenson will throw some more today and could be reactivated within the next few days.
Bucs a Good Break for Bibby
By Stan Hochman
PITTSBURGH – Jim Bibby thinks that throwing the curve ball is like brushing your teeth or making love... the more you do it, the better you get at it.
"It's like anything else," said Bibby. who has a Pepsodent smile and a happy marriage and a 14-2 record, "the more you do something, the better you do it.
"Before, I was afraid to throw the breaking ball. You get behind, you're afraid to throw it. But now, I'm playing with a different ballclub than I did in the past.
"Now. I'm playing with guys who can score runs for me. A team that can explode. So, now you can throw more than just fastballs."
With the Mets, with Texas, with Cleveland, Bibby was reluctant to get behind, reluctant to give up runs, and, therefore, reluctant to throw the curveballs. Fear of frying, so to speak.
HE MANAGED SOME splendid moments (a no-hitter in 1973) and an impressive season (19-19 with Texas in 1974), but he is still the ultimate free-agent bargain.
It took a bitter arbitration hearing to set him free from Cleveland, replete with charges and counter-charges.
"I had an incentive bonus for 30 starts," he said wearily. "I had 29 starts with a month-and-a half to go. Then Jim Kern got hurt. They asked me to go to the bullpen. As it turned out. i didn't get my 30th start until the last day of the season, in Toronto.
"And the first two days there, we got snowed out. I pitched a one-hitter for eight innings.
"They paid me, but they didn't pay me in time. At the hearing they said they thought they could pay me when they were ready. And they caught (General Manager) Phil Seghi in some lies. He said he had had phone conversations with my lawyer saying it was OK to wait.
"They investigated his telephone records and there were no records of the phone calls he claimed. The arbitrator held that against them."
FREE AT LAST, Bibby was sought after by the Phillies, the Orioles and the Pirates.
"All three were top clubs." Bibby said. "It's just that the Pirates offered a better contract, more security.
"There are a few things a pitcher would like to accomplish... win 20. win the Cy Young award, be on a contending club.
"I'd pitched a no-hitter, won 19 games, but I hadn’t been on a contending club. Too often, two weeks before the season ended, you were packing to go home.
"Guys were lackadaisical. They'd get behind two or three runs and they'd give up. I lost ball games 2-1, 3-1, 2-0, pitching my heart out."
Last season, he led the National League in percentage, finishing 12-4. He pitched seven fine innings in the second game of the playoffs, but did not get the decision.
He started Game 4 of the World Series (no decision) and then started Game 7 as the Bucs battled back from 3-1 to win the whole thing.
MANAGER CHUCK Tanner thinks Bibby's confidence has spilled over to this season.
"Plus, he was a thrower and now he's a pitcher." Tanner said. "He used to be basically a one-pitch pitcher. Now. he can get all his pitches over."
"He always had good stuff." pitching coach Harvey Haddix said, "but he had trouble throwing strikes. And, hey. as old as he is, he's got a young body."
Bibby is 35, with a big 6-5 body that probably lost about nine pounds in yesterday's sultry weather. It was his fifth complete game of an incredible season that puts him right there with Steve Carlton (17-6) in the Cy Young derby.
"I could be right there with Lefty," Bibby said, grinning. "This is the first time I pitched against Philly that I wasn't facing him."
Let the record show, that in Bibby's two losses, the Bucs got blanked.
"We're scoring runs now, doing the things you need to win ballgames," Bibby said.
He stymied a revamped Phillies lineup on eight hits and the only walks he gave up were three "pitch-around" walks to Mike Schmidt.
THE CLUB PLAYS better behind you when you're not walking a lot of guys." he said. "They turn the double play. And they catch the balls that might ordinarily be one or two inches away."
Yesterday, it was the Phillies who looked like a team with its bags packed and two weeks left in a gloomy season.
Someone asked Tanner if the Phillies looked "dead." He seemed surprised, but then again, Tanner might not admit that John Dillinger is dead and no longer dangerous.
Bibby hadn't noticed any rigor mortis either, but all things considered, he'd rather be in Pittsburgh.
12 Weekend Payoff Winners
There were a total of 12 winners over the weekend in the Daily News Home Run Payoff contest.
In the first game of yesterday's doubleheader between the Phillies and Pirates, Richard Moss of Philadelphia won $10 plus four tickets to Phillies game on Bake McBride's single. Winners of tickets were Elmer J. Bromley, Jr. of Norwood, Pa., Emerson E. Smith, Jr.. of Willingboro, Frank Gospodarek of Philadelphia and Herb Bacon of Pennsville. N J.
In the third inning of the second game, Mary Trout of Glendora, N.J Eleanor Matthews of Holmes, Pa., and Terri Lyles of Philadelphia, each won tickets.
In Saturday's eighth inning, Chris McGee of Collingdale won $10 and tickets on Keith Moreland's single. Ticket winners were Anthony Hopper, Joan and John Rim, and Frank Kilroy. all of Philadelphia.
So far, the Daily News has paid out $13,820. To enter, send in the coupon on Page 63.