Camden Courier-Post - August 12, 1980

Phillies, Cubs can’t beat the darkness


By Ray Finocchiaro, Gannett News Service


CHICAGO – Only in Chicago.


Where else could the Phillies schedule a day game, then plan to show it not once, but twice, live and on tape on TV, to convention-weary fans back home and have it come to no decision either time?


Only in Chicago.


The problem was rain. And darkness. And a Chicago Cub comeback. And it all added up to a game called after 10 innings, tied 5-5 when the lights went out.


THE NATURAL light. There are no artificial lights in Wrigley Field and, owing to a one hour and 52-minute rain delay in the top of the second inning, there wasn't enough sunlight left to make it official.


So the game will be resumed where it left off, starting at 1:05 p.m. before today's regularly scheduled game. And telecast live and again on tape tonight as part of a mini-doubleheader.


Only in Chicago.


"It was getting tough to see in the last 4-5 innings," said Phillies Manager Dallas Green, who could've used a victory to dispel the lingering shock of the four-game lost weekend in Pittsburgh.


"THE INFIELDERS were struggling like hell to see. I know the hitters were. It was hard to see the ball off the bat and potentially dangerous. I don't know how to feel about the tie. I've never been involved in one before. But it would be fun to win two tomorrow."


And, would be a rather rare experience for the Phillies to boot.


The folks back home who shirked the afternoon soaps saw the Phils jump ahead 2-0 on a pair of sacrifice flies, which is rarer still. Bake McBride got Lonnie Smith, who singled, stole second and went to third on a throwing error, home in the first inning.


Then, Larry Bowa's fly to right scored Manny Trillo, who had tripled, in the second.


THEN THE rains came. And the tarpaulins were pulled on. And off. And on. And off. Then on and off again before they finally resumed play.


The Democratic convention couldn't have been as funny as the Wrigley grounds crew's Keystone Komedy act, could it?


Not so funny was the way the Phils squandered a 5-2 lead, fueled by Mike Schmidt's 28th homer – and 26th career shot at Wrigley Field. The Cubs kept chipping away at starter Bob Walk, who allowed three runs in 6.1 innings, before tying it in the ninth against reliever Ron Reed.


"We should've won it," said Pete Rose, "but we didn't. But we didn't lose it, either. We'll come back tomorrow. I thought we'd win all the way today."


THE PHILLIES have lost 10 straight away from Veterans Stadium, so no victory on foreign soil is secure until the final out. And the Cubs actually looked as if they'd snatch this one away, too.


One-out singles by Lenny Randle and pinchhitter Mike Vail put the tying runs on base as Tug McGraw feverishly warmed up in the bullpen. But Green let righthander Reed face the lefthand hitting Bill Buckner, who promptly doubled to center to score Randle and send Vail to third.


"I just felt Ronnie was throwing so well," Green said of his decision. "I knew it was tough to see out there and, if Buckner gets a single, we still have to face (righthander) Cliff Johnson."


Buckner's double forced an intentional walk to Johnson, something Green was swearing off just the day before in Pittsburgh. In came McGraw and up came ex-Phil Barry Foote, batting for Scot Thompson with the bases loaded and one out.


FOOTE came up twice with the bases loaded against the Phils last season and hit grand slams off Nino Espinosa and Jack Kucek.


This time, Foote hit a wicked spinner to Trillo at second. Rushing for the double play, Trillo juggled the ball and was only able to get Foote at first as Vail scored the tying run.


"That ball was spinning like hell," said Green in Trillo's defense. "I don't think he could've doubled him."


Rose didn't agree. "I think we could've turned it," said the first baseman. "But the ball was spinning and there was nothing to do about it. It just spun away from Manny."


AND GAVE the Cubs the chance to win it.


But Jesus Figueroa, who'd singled his first two times up, hit a liner that Garry Maddox caught up to in center field to send the game into extra innings and, after one shot per club, into suspended status for the night.


Green figures the Phillies have the advantage, if there is one, today because the Cubs are out of players besides pitchers.


"THEY'VE GOT no position players left, while we've got plenty of guys to use," Green said, trying to find the silver lining in the rainy afternoon that turned into a splendid twilight but no victory.


"I would've like to put that game away," he said. "We had it but we didn't put it away. But tomorrow could be a helluva day. We could come up with two."


Or, like Sunday in Pittsburgh, drop two: With this club, Green has learned, nothing is impossible.


PHIL UPS – After Schmidt's third-inning homer, his fourth here this season, Trillo made it 4-1 with the Phils' third sacrifice fly, scoring Keith Moreland, who singled... Maddox singled Schmidt borne in the fifth... Schmidt had three hits... "It was pleasant to see," Green said of Schmidt's revival every time he comes to Wrigley Field. "Hopefully, we'll see that continue.""... Walk balked home the Cubs' third run in the sixth... Lynn McGlothen started for the Cubs but, trailing 2-0, didn't return after the rain delay... The umpires warned that one more rain delay would have ended the game, with a September 19 doubleheader the alternative, but the sun finally broke through... "You can't keep playing doubleheaders," said Green, who plans to use Steve Carlton against the Cubs' Mike Krukow in the "second" game today.

Hard-luck Larson shipped, Christenson returns


By Ray Finocchiaro, Gannett News Service


CHICAGO – It happened before yesterday's game, away from crying eyes and shaking heads.


Dan Larson, the Phillies' latest victim of non-support, was given his walking papers again – this time to Reading – while righthander Larry Christenson was taken off the disabled list and penciled in to start against the New York Mets Friday night at Shea Stadium.


Larson, 0-5 despite the club's third-best ERA (3.27), merely asked Manager Dallas Green, "Why me?" and left. Green didn't have to be reminded that the Phils scored a total of three runs for Larson in his last three starts, in which he'd allowed just five runs, himself.


"DONNY DID a fine job for us," Green said after yesterday's game with the Cubs ended in a 5-5 draw that will be resumed this afternoon. "I respected the work he did. He asked why him and I told him it was a matter of numbers. I was getting a pitcher back, so I had to cut a pitcher. And we didn't need him in that role (spot starter) anymore."


Christenson, meanwhile, was happy about his return from almost three months on the disabled list after elbow surgery, though the righthander had little use for Green's tentative plans of getting Christenson's feet wet as a short man in the bullpen.


"I'm not a relief pitcher and I didn't want to pitch in relief," Christenson said, dashing Dallas' scheme in several talks with the manager. "We talked about it and I realistically can't see it. I need 20 pitches just to get loose and he'd have to be thinking about two innings ahead.


"I think I can start. I threw about 120 pitches for three days or so and I haven't hurt my arm. Of course, I haven't thrown, sat down, got up and thrown again, like you do in a game yet. That and ducking line drives, will be my toughest problems."


CHRISTENSON STILL has the memory of a Jason Thompson liner he didn't duck during spring training that whacked him near the kneecap. He still winces when he talks about it.


But the thought of pitching again brings a smile to the handsome blonde's face.


"You'd be anxious, too, if you sat on your butt for 2½ months," Christenson said. "It's no fun on the disabled list for two years. I had a tough year last year, too, with a broken collarbone and a pulled groin.


"Some players say they're lucky. I can say I'm unlucky (injury-wise). I've had a lot of problems, but now they've cleaned the garbage out of my elbow and it feels good. One of the bone chips they took out was the size of a dime."


CHRISTENSON ADMITS he had fears that the surgery would mean a premature end to his 1980 season.


"I feared as much," he said. "That was the speculation and I know how long it takes to come back from arm surgery. But after three weeks, the doctor said to start throwing. I was shocked. I thought he was crazy at first but it's working out all right."


For Christenson, at least. For Dan Larson, the rapid recovery meant his second outright release by the Phillies in as many years. To get him back – and Green says that's in the Phils' plans – Larson must be put on reverse waivers.


"If he's claimed, he goes right to the club that picks him." Green said. "Otherwise, we get him."


Larson's been that route before and survived. But then he might not want to rejoin the Phillies again if there's any other route back to the big leagues left open.


The next time the Phillies hear from Dan Larson could be if the easy-going righthander files a suit for non-support. Any judge in the country would find the Phillies guilty and throw the key away.

Fans travel 3,500 miles on baseball ‘dream tour’


PHILADELPHIA (AP) – When the 24 baseball buffs reminisce about their "dream swing," they won't be talking about the home-run swipes of Reggie Jackson or Mike Schmidt.


Not that they haven't seen the Yankees' slugger or the Phillies' power hitter. In fact, they saw 10 major league ballparks, 17 teams, the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Babe Ruth Shrine, and some even witnessed feisty Oakland A's manager Billy Martin holding court in a bar in Cleveland.


The fans' "dream swing" through the major leagues also included two all-night bus rides. The tour, believed the first of its kind, covered 3,500 miles between Detroit, where it started Aug. 1, and Chicago, where it ended Sunday.


And in between were hours of baseball trivia, first-class hotels, 21 meals and a never-ending supply of beer.


"It was the best vacation bargain I've ever run across," said David Spillahe, 55, a manufacturer's representative from suburban Bryn Mawr. "It was more than a baseball trip. It was a people trip – real, genuine people with a common interest."


"Look, I've been in a lot of places, and I've met a lot of people," said Randall Palmer, 55, a Gary, Ind., steelworker. "This is the best bunch I've ever been with. Baseball fans, they're the most beautiful people in the world."


They must have been to be awakened at 3 a.m. on one bus ride to Spillane's call of "trivia time. Who was the manager of the Phillies just before Gene Mauch?"


Somebody knew that Andy Cohen handled the Phillies one game in 1960 before Mauch succeeded Eddie Sawyer.


"Anybody tries to talk football or anything like that, we tell him to get lost," cautioned Charlie Morris, 30, a Elyria, Ohio, construction worker.


The fans were as typically American as the game they pursued. They ranged in age from 12-year-old Kerry Niggemyer of Toledo, Ohio, to 71-year-old Floyd Filson, a retired engineer from Westport, Conn. Two couples, seven women, three residents of Arizona, a recent graduate of Yale Law School and a bookkeeper from Lincoln, Neb., made the trip.


So did Brad Betker, 23, a sports writer from Carbondale, Ill., whose ulcer flared up on the second day. "Ulcer or no ulcer, I wouldn't have missed this," said Betker, who managed with warm milk, crackers and perseverence.


Kerry was joined by her grandmother, Virginia Wilcox, 64, of Waynesburg. "Well, my daughter thinks I'm crazy, but I'm having fun, and so is Kerry," said Mrs. Wilcox.


The trip was the brainchild of Charles Laterza, 26, treasurer of the Clyde, Ohio, board of education. Laterza charged each fan $849, ending up $700 in the hole. "I always wanted to make a trip like this, so I can't complain about running a few hundred dollars over budget."


Laterza spent $150 for an ad last January in the Sporting News, the national baseball weekly. The wire services picked up the story, and similar-minded fans responded.


Besides Detroit and Chicago, the tour members also saw games in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and New York.