Wilmington Morning News - August 12, 1980

No-decision sets up big Phillies day


By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Correspondent


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 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 drove in Lonnie Smith, who singled, stole second and went to third on a throwing error in the first inning.


Then Larry Bowa's fly to right scored Manny Trillo, who'd 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 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 pinch-hitter Mike Vail put the tying runs on base as Tug McGraw feverishly warmed up in the bullpen. But Green let right-hander Reed face the left-hand 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. "1 knew it was tough to see out there and, if Buckner gets a single, we still have to face (right-hander) 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 liked 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.


EXTRA INNINGS - 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'd singled... Maddox singled Schmidt home 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 Sept. 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.

L.C.’s back


Larson sent down to Reading after ‘non-support’


By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Correspondent


CHICAGO – It happened before yesterday's game, away from prying 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 pencilled 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.


"Danny 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 respect 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 hiappy about his return from almost three months on the disabled list after elbow surgery, though the right-hander 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 his 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 right-hander files a suit for non-support. Any judge in the country would find the Phillies guilty and throw the key away.

Dallas gets passing marks


By Matt Zabitka


Last month, Wilmington "ticket tycoon" Sig Ettinger accompanied the Phillies on trips to Chicago and Pittsburgh.


It was the Phillies' annual way of expressing thanks to him for peddling an avalanche of tickets to Phils' home games.


On this year's trips with the Phillies, Sig noticed a vast difference from what he saw on last year's trips when Danny Ozark was in command.


"The Phillies are much more organized now," he said. "The players have more respect for Dallas Green as a manager. They used to laugh at Danny and ridicule him (behind his back) at things he used to say. Now don't get me wrong. I like Danny. He's a nice guy, a very nice man, but the players didn't respect him. The players used to refer to him as 'The Wizard of O's.' Sure, the Phillies won three National League East pennants, but they won them despite Danny.


"Dallas has gained a lot of respect, especially among the young players, because he has given them a chance to play. The young players can go up and talk to Dallas. Dallas is friendly with the players but he's not what you'd call buddy-buddy with them. I liked the relationship I saw between manager and players.


"One day in the lobby of a hotel during my recent trip with the Phillies I got to talking with infielder Ramon Aviles. He told me has developed a lot more confidence in himself because Dallas was taking a chance with him, giving him playing time. Aviles told me, 'If you have the ability, Dallas will play you.'


"Danny was scared to give young players a chance. I guess he was worried about his job. He stayed with the older, traditional players."


Sig gives Dallas high grades for his managerial acumen, feels he has done a better than acceptable job in his first full season at the controls.


Rep. Joseph P. "Jody" Ambrosino, R-Edgemoor Terrace, a former catcher in the New York Yankees' farm system, agrees with Ettinger.


"If I were grading Dallas on what he has done so far as a manager, I'd absolutely give him an 'A,' " said Ambrosino. "He has taken the bull by the horns. He took the job and said something has to be done and he told them. I think he has done miracles with his make-shift pitching staff.


"One thing I don't understand is why Dallas has been staying so long with a pitcher like Randy Lerch. That's his only big mistake.


"I like the way he is utilizing all his players. I think that's tremendous. He uses utility infielders to best advantage.


"One problem with the Phillies could be that it is an aging team. I believe the average age is 30-plus. Some of the players peaked a few years ago and are on the downward trend. Other guys don't know what the word hustle means. It's just unbelievable. There are a number of players on that club I'd give 'Ds' and 'Fs' if I was grading them on talent and hustle."


Bill D'Onofrio, chief executive of the Delaware Semi-Pro Baseball League, doesn't attach any greatness to the job Dallas Green has done thus far, but gives the former Conrad High and Delaware pitcher a passing mark.


"I think Dallas has done a fair job," said D'Onofrio, a former longtime manager in the Semi-Pro. "The ball players just haven't produced.


"I think one of his biggest troubles is having crybaby baseball players. Larry Bowa has always been a crybaby.


“Dallas has some really strange players and Randy Lerch has to be one of the strangest.


"Another aspect is that the Phillies have had some disappointments reaching' for the brass ring and didn't make it three years in a row. Sooner or later, it takes a toll of players. Only way to get around that is to change the players and the Phillies haven't done that, and they can't blame it on Dallas."


If Sig Ettinger, "Jody" Ambrosino and Bill D'Onofrio can be considered a cross section of Delaware opinion, then Dallas Green is certainly the right man for the Phillies' job and gets passing' grades on his report card as of Aug 11.


What his grades will be on the next report card, on the last day of September, is a horse of another color.