Philadelphia Inquirer - August 17, 1980
McCarver adds insights, lends humor to broadcast
By Allen Lewis, On Baseball
Although there are those purists in and out of the industry who feel that hiring athletes as announcers to capitalize on their instant name recognition is a mistake, enough athletes do a good enough job to prove otherwise.
Last fall, Dodgers pitcher Don Sutton was superb as a TV color commentator at the National League championship series. This season, Tim McCarver has definitely added something to the Phillies' broadcasting team.
McCarver, who had a successful career over two decades as a catcher, doesn't have the voice or the polished delivery of a Harry Kalas, but his long experience in the game's most difficult position has given him a special insight that makes his comments authentic as well as interesting. And McCarver always has had the kind of sense of humor that endears him to people. If he wants it, he should enjoy a long career in the booth, just as the popular Richie Ashburn has.
The Phillies' broadcast crew does a first-rate job, and fans who might quarrel with this should hear those in other big-league cities. Too many are out-and-out "homers," and too many others are just plain dull.
The biggest faults I find with the five who do the Phillies' games are their apparent compulsion for cute inside comments, such as who will pick up the check at dinner that night, and the good-natured barbs Kalas, Ashburn, McCarver and Andy Musser continually direct at Chris Wheeler. These asides add little or nothing, particularly for those fans who don't know the announcers personally.
Wheeler, incidentally, proves you don't have to be an ex-major leaguer to provide meaningful expert commentary. He knows the game, and his comments are usually right on target.
One of McCarver's better stories concerns the final game last season, when Steve Carlton pitched a 2-0 shutout, with McCarver behind the plate.
"Rodney Scott got an infield hit in the first inning," McCarver recalls, "and Lefty had awesome stuff, incredible stuff. Scott gets around to third with two out, and Tony Perez is the hitter,
"I went out to Lefty and, as you know, I rarely went out there, but I said, 'Lefty, Dallas (manager Dallas Green) doesn't want to walk him, but (John) Tamargo is the next hitter. Just throw fast balls off the plate.'
"Ed Montague is the ump behind the plate – we laugh about this now – and he calls ball one, ball two, ball three. The 3-0 pitch was the worst of the four pitches, and the umpire says 'Strike one.'
"I turned around and said, 'Doggone it, Ed, will you let us walk him?'
"In 20 years, that was the first time I'd ever bitched about a pitch that was called a strike while I was catching."
NOTES: If the Braves finish last in the NL West, look for Bobby Cox, a nice guy with a club full of holes, to be fired by impatient Ted Turner.... And if the Angels don't show more life and more wins in the waning weeks, owner Gene Autry may drop Jim Fregosi, although Fregosi is a personal friend. They say super scout Bill Rigney would again accept the job he held from 1961 through 50 games in 1969.... Expos executive Charlie Fox, who used to manage the Giants and Expos, or Mariners general manager Lou Gorman are the top candidates for the Padres' GM job.... General manager Hank Peters denies the Orioles may quit their spring-training base in Miami, but it could happen if the city doesn't improve the lights and security around Miami Stadium.... Three of Cubs reliever Bruce Sutter's first six losses this season were to the lowly Padres.
The answer to last week's Trivia Question: Sal Maglie of the Brooklyn Dodgers pitched a no-hit, no-run game to beat the Phillies, 5-0, on Sept. 25, 1956, a key victory in the pennant race, then was a 2-0 loser in the fifth game of the World Series 13 days later, when Don Larsen pitched a perfect game, the only no-hitter in World Series history. Ross Doughty of Collegeville, Pa., was first with the correct answer.
This week's question: Name the last major league player to play the outfield and all four infield positions in a season in which he won the batting title.
Phillies, Schmidt stay hot
Rock Mets, 11-6; 4 hits for Maddox
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
NEW YORK – Trying to explain the Phillies could make a person crazy.
They slumped out of Pittsburgh a week ago looking Like a team with a two-ton weight attached to their spikes. So naturally, they have won five of six since then.
In the two games before they went to Pittsburgh and in the four games that followed, they averaged a mighty six hits and change per game. So naturally, they have averaged nearly seven runs a game in their six games since.
They bombed the Mets for the third straight game yesterday, 11-6. And it wasn't that close. In three days in New York, they have outscored the Mets, 27-7. They have outhit them, 49-22.
Now remind us again: Which team took two out of three from the Pirates last week and which, team got buried in four straight?
That noted psychoanalyst, Dr. Dallas Green, considered these questions yesterday. What, he was asked, causes his team to go into these offensive grooves? What relaxes them into taking nonstop line-drive hacks when previously there had been nothing but a lot of defensive flailing?
"If I could answer that," said Dr. Green, "we'd never go into slumps, would we? I can't answer that. I don't know that any manager could answer that."
What Green does know is that "we weren't as bad offensively as we showed" a week ago. However, he added, "I'm not real sure we're as good as we're showing right now, either."
One reason is that they don't always get this kind of help from the guys they're playing. If Green had been in one of his dump-on-the-Mets moods yesterday, he would have had plenty of ammunition.
But the new, diplomatic Green ignored the temptation to observe how assorted Mets fell down, threw to the wrong base, failed to cover the right base and generally didn't catch a lot of balls that could have been caught. The sixth game of the 75 World Series it wasn't.
It wasn't pretty
"It was really kind of an ugly game all around, wasn't it?" observed Bob Boone, astutely.
The Phillies broke it open by scoring two or more runs in every inning from the second through the sixth. Garry Maddox had four hits. Mike Schmidt had three, including his fifth homer of the week (No. 32). Lonnie Smith, Pete Rose, Manny Trillo, Del Unser, Larry Bowa and Boone had two each.
Why is this happening all of a sudden?
"Hitting is definitely contagious," said Boone. "I don't know why. Maybe it's just the law of averages. Guys are going to hit their average. These streaks come and go both ways. Something happens. Guys just find themselves. There were a lot of baserunners out there. And it's easier hitting with men on base.
"Look. I don't know. If I could explain it, I'd be the greatest manager in the history of the game."
The benefactor of all this offense was the man they call Whirlybird, Bob Walk (9-2). Walk's latest Monty Python adventures included a popped-up bunt that wound up moving a runner all the way from first to third and another of his patented falls on his face while chasing a ground ball. But when you get 11 runs, it makes everything funny.
Walk struggled like crazy early. But all those runs enabled him "to keep himself in the game and get enough runs to where he could out-struggle his problems," Green said.
It was the sixth time the Phillies had gotten him seven runs or more. And Walk is getting to be the staff expert on how to pitch while you're up about six runs.
"What I tried to do today was just throw a lot of fastballs," he said. "Instead of trying to overpower my pitches, I just picked a spot on Booney's shinguards and tried to hit it, move the ball inside-outside. You can't do that when it's a close game. But this is a good time to work on things."
This was not a game destined to stay in hand very long. Trillo bombed his second homer in two days in the second, and it was 1-0. Then, a pair of singles and third baseman Joel Youngblood's matador swoop at a Boone bouncer later, it was 2-0.
Two Schmidt errors let the Mets tie it in the bottom of the second. But that was as dramatic as it was going to get.
Smith began the third by ripping a ball to the track in right-center. Claudell Washington fell down, so it went for a triple. Rose roped Swan's next pitch to left for what will emerge in the box scores as the much-coveted game-winning RBI.
Schmidt singled to left. Trillo gave a high, inside fastball a weird inside-out tomahawk stroke. It produced a base hit to right, so it was 4-2.
After Walk pitched out of his final crisis (two on, one out) in the third, the Phils put it away.
Boone stroked a leadoff single. Green put the bunt-and-run on. So, amid a backdrop of two infielders charging, two others rotating to cover and Boone pumping toward second, Walk popped the bunt up clear over the mound. Youngblood had to charge in furiously to get the out at first. But no Met was within 50 feet of third, so Boone strolled on in there.
"Bowa told me to tell everybody I did it on purpose," Walk laughed. "I wish I did."
Smith made it 5-2 with a sacrifice fly. Rose hit a long fly to center that the wind blew over Lee Mazzilli's head for a double. Schmidt cannoned one into the new picnic area in distant left-center, and it was 7-2.
That was it for Mets starter Craig Swan, whose comeback from the disabled list didn't go quite as well as Larry Christenson's. The next victim was John Pacella, the man whose cap falls off 50 times an inning.
A walk and two singles, including Frank Taveras' bewildered meanderings after a Maddox pop to center, filled the bases for Boone. He drilled a single through the middle, and it was 9-2.
Would this never end? Yes, but not before the Phils got two more in the sixth, on Maddox' two-run double. So the Mets' two-run eighth off Walk and two-run ninth off Kevin Saucier didn't matter.
When Pete Falcone finally got a 1-2-3 inning for the Mets in the seventh, the place erupted like the '69 World Series parade. It has been that kind of weekend for the Mets.
What a difference a week makes
Remember when Dallas Green used to say ‘bleep’?
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
NEW YORK – A week ago today, the Phillies were between games of a doubleheader in Pittsburgh. And Dallas Green, as you might recall, was busy doing his Henry Clay oratory impression. Of course, Henry Clay didn't say "bleep" as much.
At the time, Green accused the Phillies of quitting. A week later, they have won five of their last six games. That may not prove a lot, but it proves they haven't quit, anyway.
"Aw, speeches don't make any difference," said Green yesterday when asked if his little oration might have had some effect on his team's rebound. "I've said for a long time, I can't win games. I can't run, field, hit or throw for them. Other guys have to do that."
But Green at least is convinced that his team is back on the right track.
"I think I knew we were OK on Monday," he said. "We blew a lead, but we put some runs up on the board. We've played pretty good overall, I think. Our demeanor and intensity is better. And that's something that's important to me.
"The Pittsburgh thing worried me. But we've shown some signs of life. This week has been very, very pleasant. I think this team has come together quite a bit."
NOTES: The Phils have scored an average of 5.2 runs a game in Bob Walk's 17 starts. And that includes the famous 14-0 game.... Walk was ticked at himself for not getting any hits. "At least I got good wood on the bunt," he joked.... Bake McBride was held hitless for the second game in a row. That has happened only twice since early July.... Bob Boone is 8-for-19 and has raised his average to" .232, the highest it has been since July 13. ... . The Mike Schmidt in-the-flow numbers: 16-for-his-last-28, .571, five homers, 12 RBls, one triple, one double in his last six games.... The Phils' game against the Giants Saturday will start at 7:35 p.m. instead of 7:05, to accommodate a 6 p.m. celebrity softball game.... The Islanders beat the Flyers, 8-5, in pregame softball match.... Steve Carlton (18-6) and Randy Lerch (3-13) vs. Ray Burris (6-6) and Roy Lee .Jackson (1-3) in today's doubleheader (1 p.m.). Two of Carlton's six losses are to the Mets, one of them a Burris shutout. He is 24-27 against them lifetime.