Wilmington Morning News - August 26, 1980

Dodger bats, fists KO Phillies in 9th


By Hal Bodley, Sports Editor


PHILADELPHIA – Maybe it was the full moon.


Or maybe it was just another example of the "nonchalant, non-thinking, non-concentrating" brand of baseball Dallas Green says the Phillies have been playing of late.


The Phils fell to the hated Los Angeles Dodgers 8-4 at Veterans Stadium last night and those in the crowd of 31,267 who were still around for the bizarre ninth inning will be talking about this one when they are knee deep in snow this winter.


For eight innings, the Phils were scratching for a victory on a night when first-place Pittsburgh lost to Atlanta. In fact, at one stage the scuffling Phils were on top 4-3, but that didn't last very long.


Then, after blowing a chance to snap a 4-4 tie in the eighth, the Phils tip-toed into the ninth and the fireworks started.


The hint that the inning was going to become a disaster came when reliever Dickie Noles walked lead-off batter Davey Lopes on five pitches. But that was just the beginning.


Before the inning finally ended, pinch-hitter Joe Ferguson had driven in two runs on the second pitch of an intended intentional walk by Tug McGraw.


And moments after Ferguson shocked the Phils with that, McGraw triggered a six-minute free-for-all when he hit shortstop Bill Russell with a pitch.


That melee ended with both Russell and Manager Tom Lasorda being ejected by umpire John McSherry. Russell was ejected for charging the mound and starting the fight, while Lasorda was tossed after a fiery exchange with McSherry. Lasorda insisted that McGraw also should have been ejected and heavily fined.


When the game finally ended, the Dodgers were insisting that McGraw deliberately threw at Russell and should be penalized. Green blew up at a reporter who asked if the manager condoned what McGraw had done.


Green, who earlier said he did not think McGraw was deliberately throwing at Russell, exploded into a tirade at the suggestion and eventually ordered all reporters out of his office and locked the door.


McGraw, meanwhile, sat quietly by his locker, saying very little.


What do you want, the gory details of the Monday Night Fights?" McGraw asked. "Well, I'm not going into my thoughts on the subject."


When told of the bitterness in the Dodger clubhouse about his actions, McGraw merely said: "What difference does it make what the Dodgers think? They know just as much about baseball as I do."


McSherry, the acting crew chief, said Russell had to be ejected because he started the brawl.


"But," added the umpire, "my report to National League headquarters will say that Tug McGraw deliberately threw at Bill Russell. It was obvious."


"I used to have a lot of respect for Tug McGraw, but I won't now," said Russell. He came closer to me on each of the first three pitches, then hit me with the fourth. I think the rule the umpires used to eject me is the worst one there is in baseball. I'm not proud of what I did, but when a pitcher is throwing at your head with a baseball traveling 85-90 miles and hour... well. I used to kid around with Tug, have always liked him. That has changed."


"I got very upset with McSherry because he didn't throw Tug out of the ball game," said Lasorda. "Technically, the rule states that when a player goes after another one he must be ejected, wasn't Tug going after Russell on that pitch? It was as plain as the nose on your face he tried to hit the guy 3-0.


"Tug has to go. If we're going to stop retaliation, a hitter going out after a pitcher like that, you throw, the guy out immediately and hit him with a big fine. That's the only wav you're going to stop it."


In the bottom of the eighth, with Don Stanhouse, in relief of Jerry Reuss pitching, Pete Rose led off with a double. Mike Schmidt, attempting to move the runner to third where a sacrifice fly would score him, flied out to center, After the torrid-hitting Greg Luzinski walked, Manny Trillo bounced into a double play, setting the stage for the wacky ninth.


Lopes walked on a 3-1 pitch.


Rudy Law, bunting, bounced a ball high in front of the mound. Catcher Bob Boone fielded the ball and his throw to first hit Law as the runner neared the bag. Law was credited with a single, with Lopes taking third on the throwing error.


Here, another bizarre scene developed.


Green went to the mound to remove Noles, who had been in since taking over for starter Nino Espinosa at the beginning of the sixth.


Green had asked for Warren Brusstar but, when he turned around, McGraw was getting out of the bullpen cart. A heated argument with first-base umpire Paul Pryor followed before McGraw returned to the bullpen and Brusstar arrived.


"Maybe I should have gone with McGraw in the beginning," said Green. "I told the home-plate umpire (Lannie Harris) I wanted Brusstar. I argued with Pryor because I feel he has not done a very good job in our games he has worked. I told him to wake up, and get in the game."


Dusty Baker greeted Brusstar with a booming double to the gap in right-center that should have scored two runs. After Lopes waltzed across the plate, Law, for some reason, stopped at third and Baker, who had continued running vas hung up between second and third and was an easy out.


With Law on third, Green ordered Steve Garvey walked intentionally. Ron Cey followed with a double to left-center, with Garvey stopping at third.


That was it for Brusstar, with McGraw, who had been sidelined by the flu since last Thursday, summoned.


With the left-hander up, Lasorda called on Ferguson to bat for lefty Rick Monday and Green flashed the intentional walk sign to McGraw.


The first pitch was outside. The second was not very far outside. Ferguson leaned across the plate and punched a single to right, two runs scoring. That brought up Russell. The first three pitches were close, with the fourth hitting the shortstop in the rear end.


"I have never had a hit on an intentional walk before," said Ferguson. "You always have to be ready, though. He came in a little too close and I reached out after it."


"I have never done that before," sighed McGraw, "but I guess there is a first time for everything."


"In fairness to Tug, he has not pitched in a few days and was wild," said Green. "He had trouble getting in the groove."


EXTRA POINTS – Luzinski, who returned to the line-up on Sunday night with a home run, had three singles and a walk... Trillo has hit in 12 straight games to tie the Phils' club high shared twice by Bake McBride, Maddox and Lonnie Smith... Rose is now tied with Tris Speaker for fourth place on the all-time hit list with 3,515... Pete played in his 2,790th game last night to move ahead of Speaker into 10th place on that all-time list... Phils' season attendance is 2,093,366, which is 293,314 behind last year's pace... Bob Walk goes against Rick Sutcliffe tonight.

Fans feel hot Green will fire up Phils (excerpt)


By Matt Zabitka


From the mailbox:


J.L. McClafferty Sr. of Lewes writes:


"Your column of Saturday, Aug. 16, mentions the grading of Dallas Green as manager (of the Phillies). The three grading Wilmingtonians gave Dallas passing grades.


"Gennaro J. Tedesco of Dover apparently 'flunked' Dallas. In your M.Z. response you agreed with Tedesco.


"I do not agree with Tedesco or with your response. Hot air and heat from Dallas will heat the seats of and apparently shake up some of those 'big buck' earners on the club.


"Relative to your Billy Martin comment, Dallas hasn't punched-out any marshmallow salesmen.


"I grade Dallas 80-85."


•       •       •


And this epistle, also pertaining to Dallas Green, is from Florence A. Granan of 41 South Edgebill Ave., Dover, who describes herself as "A Phillies Fan and a Dallas Fan."


"How could you? How can you? How do you give Danny O. (Ozark) better marks than Dallas?” Ms. Granan screams in print.


"I'll take a manager any day who can become so excited, so involved, so aroused that he will run out on the playing field, his curls bouncing about, without his manager's cap! Yep, it happened in Atlanta this July and we were there.


"We've been to all the National parks now, either with Danny or Dallas as the manager of the Phillies. And from a fan's viewpoint, I find it, much more interesting and fun to see Dallas in charge than Danny.


"The facial expression or rather the lack of facial expression on Danny's face was excruciating to witness game after game. How could he stimulate or invoke or animate his players when he sat there on the bench in a near stupor rarely doling out a pat on the buns, a smile, or a word? 'Cool' is the label they give our team. Well, you know you molded them 'Mr. Cool' himself.


"A female fan in Atlanta asked me if the Phillies always appeared so listless, so nonchalant. I answered that the Georgia heat wave had gotten to them. We know it was 'Mr. Cool' Danny who set that tone.


"On the July trip to Atlanta and Cincy, we saw five games and one win. We've seen 10 losses at the Vet and one win. Last year, on a Coast trip, we saw six games and two wins. So, you see, we don't exactly bring luck to the Phillies!


"Another point for Dallas – he plays the younger guys and gives this talent a chance. Danny was most reluctant to use them.


"I cheered for Richie Allen 'til that last year. I cheered for Michael Jack (Schmidt) through thick and thin. When I go out to a ball game I'll cheer for Dallas any old time win or lose.


"I'd rather be excited and feel a thrill than sit there in dreary, dull apathy. I can do that at home."


(M.Z. RESPONSE: In my Aug. 12 column I wrote – "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 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."


And in my Aug. 16 column, I used a Dallas quote "We tried it the other way (Ozark's low-key approach) and it didn't work. I mentioned that quote as "justification for trying it his (Green's) way – continuous vocal tirades." I added: "The question is: Will Green's way produce a National League East pennant as the Phillies accomplished under Ozark three times, in 1976-77-78."


At no time did I give Green non-passing grades as a manager. I merely questioned Green's methods of denouncing his players in print.


As for Green giving all these young players a chance, let it be pointed out that the Phillies today are going with the same starting lineup they did last year, with the exception of Manny Trillo at second and Lonnie Smith, who is subbing for ailing Greg Luzinski, in left field.


The facial expressions, or lack of them, and histrionics on the part of a manager don't win pennants. The last time the Phillies made it to a World Series was in 1950 under a low-key manager named Eddie Sawyer.)