Allentown Morning Call - July 14, 1980

Buca win doesn’t discourage Phillies


By Jack McCallum, Call Sports Writer


PHILADELPHIA - As is their custom, the Pittsburgh Pirates were grouped around the television set after yesterday's 7-3 victory over the Phillies, relaxing with a few beers and a few dozen insults. The object of their attention was a sports show featuring a clip of Mike Schmidt hitting four home runs in one game against the Chicago Cubs in 1976. 


Suddenly. Bill Madlock became excited. "Hey, I was in that game.'' said Madlock. a former Cub. "They're going to show Schmidt going past me. Look, there I am!" 


Yesterday, however, it was Schmidt playing the role of Madlock. Three Pirates trotted past him at third base and that was the main reason Pittsburgh trotted to a series-evening victory before 48,152 at the Vet.


There were two very unlikely trotters in that trio, too – Tim Foli and winning pitcher Don Robinson. Fob's seventh inning bases-empty home run was only his second of the season, and Robinson's two-run shot to deep left-center in the second was the first of his major league career. The third homer, a leadoff shot to right in the sixth, was struck by John Milner. It was only his third of the season but, in the past, he's killed Phillie pitching at the Vet.


The Phillies could counter with only one later of their own – a bases-empty drive by Garry Maddox in the fourth – and went quietly to their customary demise on Sunday afternoon. Robinson pitched 8⅓ innings and Kent Tekulve came in to get the final two outs with two Phils on base in the ninth. 


Even the loss, which dropped them back into second place behind Montreal, wasn't all discouraging for the Phils, however. It was Pitchers' Rehabilitation Day and neither starter Espinosa. the victim of all three home runs, nor reliever Warren Brusstar performed that badly.


Espinosa. making his second start of the season, pitched well except for the acute case of tater-itis. The only run off Espinosa that didn't come from the long ball registered on an RBI single by Allentown's Ed Ott in the second inning. 


Brusstar. who entered the game in the eighth, was pitching to major league hitters lor the first time since July 24 of last year. He was taken off the disabled list for his shoulder problems on Saturday night. 


He gave up a two-out run in the eighth on consecutive singles by Madlock. Ott (an infield hit l and Garner, but had a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth. Phillies' manager Dallas Green plans to use Brusstar mostly in situations where the Phils are either comfortably ahead or uncomfortably behind. 


"As for Nino, he pitches with his head as much as anybody on the staff." said Green. "As soon as he gets some innings pitched and has a chance to think his way through some situations, he'll be back. And we didn't exactly play grind-it-out offensive baseball for these guys today, either." 


Robinson saw to that. He's been bothered by various arm problems in his previous two years in the majors but feels he's healthy now. If he is. it is a big boost for the Pirates' hopes of repeating.


Besides Maddox's homer. Robinson had little trouble with the Phils before leaving in the ninth with a groin pull. Back-to-back doubles by Pete Rose and Bake McBride produced a run in the first and Greg Gross' triple scored another in the seventh. Gross was cut down at the plate trying to stretch it into an inside-the-parker. 


But all that was secondary for Robinson compared to his homer, his first since Double-A ball at Shreveport.


"I'd rate my World Series win as my biggest thrill and my first ma jor league win as second." said Robinson. "And now the homer is third. I figured I was due because I hit four straight out in practice.”

2 battle stances of Bucs’ Ed Ott


By Jack McCallum, Call Sports Writer


PHILADELPHIA - As Greg Gross neared third base in the seventh inning of yesterday 's Phillies-Pirates game at Veterans Stadium. Pittsburgh catcher Ed Ott could see coach Lee Elia waving him in. It was time for Ott to assume what he calls his "battle stance." 


"When I get into my battle stance I'm only thinking one thing." said Ott. who lives in Allentown in the offseason, "and that is, I'm going to make that man run right over me to get to home plate. " 


Gross didn't. Most don't. Although Gross arrived in the vicinity of home plate just bef ore the throw from shortstop Tim Foli, his final stopping place was Ott s shinguards, about three feet from home. 


It was a big play in yesterday's 7-3 Pittsburgh win. Gross had driven in Bob Boone (walk ) with his slicing ball to left which got by Lee Lacy and. had Gross scored, the Phils would've been trailing by only 6-4 with just one out. But the play cleared the bases and left the score at 6-3. 


The roadblock play was made for catchers like Ott. whose build puts him in serious jeopardy whenever a dog strolls by. And like a second baseman who takes pride in his double-play pivot, Ott likes to talk about it. 


"Technically, I'm not supposed to be in the baseline without the ball." he said. "But it's hardly ever called. I've never been called lor it. in fact. It's just one of those things that's expected in baseball. The catcher has to stop that guy. He has to take a stand. It's such a bang-bang play that an umpire couldn't call it anyway. 


"It's something I take a lot of pride in. I honestly don't think there's anybody better in baseball at making that play than me. I bet this year already I've gotten hit 10 times in that situation." 


Taking a rough estimate of his entire 4½-year career, then. Ott has taken his battle stance maybe 100 times. It is a perfect spot for a serious injury the Phils' Boone underwent offseason knee surgery as a result of a September collision with the Mets' Joel Youngblood last season to name just one but Ott said he's never been hurt. 


"No. it's gotten so I don't even think about the injury factor," said Ott, reaching over to knock on a wooden bench near his locker. "You have to kind of 'give' with the play, though. You can't stand there and not bend at all or you could hurt your knee. It's kind of like learning to fall right after being tackled in football. 


"It's the kind of situation where the low man wins and. in most situations, I'm the low man. I have the equipment. I have the right kind of build. I just feel I can win that battle." 


In fact. Ott says he's undefeated in that situation. 


I've never been knocked over and lost the ball when 1 had the ball first." said Ott. reaching over to tap the bench again. "There was only one time I got knocked over. Dave Kingman did that in 1975 but I didn't have the ball that time. I'm still waiting to get beat, but IHon'tknow if it's going to happen." 


Ott is talking confidently these days. Besides his defense, which has always been excellent, he's hitting .291 after going 2-for-4 vesterdav. 


As usual, he's being platooned with Steve Nicosia ( who plays against lefties I, but it's no secret that Ott is the main man. However, he remains unsigned and. to a certain extent, unappreciated. At least that's the way he sees it.


"The longer they take (to sign him t. the more it 's going to cost them," said Ott. "I can play anywhere for anybody. I play as hard as anybody in baseball, and I have as much fun as anybody. If I think my talent is being unappreciated by management. I'll just pick up my stakes and go elsewhere." 


As you can see, Ed Ott is taking more than one battle stance this season.