Philadelphia Daily News - July 9, 1980

It’s Still a Cinch for Nationals

 

By Tom Cushman

 

LOS ANGELES For the first 4½ innings of an All-Star game that spent the night searching for a pulse, the American Leaguers had reason to hope that their long ordeal was ending. With Steve Stone and Tommy John pitching, and with one swing of Fred Lynn's bat, they had built their Maginot Line.

 

Stone turned back the Huns from the National League in order for three innings, becoming the first starter since Denny McLain in 1966 to pitch perfect basebalL John followed Stone's example in the fourth, and when Lynn clubbed a two-run homer off Bob Welch in the top of the fifth, the Americans thought they could hear the fires of redemption burning.

 

As it turned out. the blaze they heard was on a hillside behind center field. Previewing their later contributions to All-Star night, the Dodgers began with a pre-game show which seemed designed to rival the Super Bowl spectaculars, and very nearly did when a fireworks display ignited the aforementioned hillside. Even Pete Rozelle has not yet thought to burn down the stadium while the game is in progress.

 

THE AMERICAN LEAGUE'S other miscalculation was in jumping to the lead so early, for once this happened Chuck Tanner began putting in his first team. And very soon, the evening had taken a familiar turn.

 

The National League, of course, won, 4-2. for its ninth consecutive victory, and its 17th in the last 18 of these so-called classics. Later, in the interview areas, in the frantic attempts to extract great truths from one of the more drab and predictable of the recent games, the most basic fact of all was ignored.

 

What was established last night is that the American League can defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers. Matched against the National League All-Stars, nothing has changed.

 

What made watching this develop such an enjoyable experience was the knowledge that some 56,000 of the ballot-box stuffers were in the stadium, and therefore privy to the pratfalls of their chosen many.

 

How's this for Dodger blue? Davey Lopes, Reggie Smith, Steve Garvey and Bill Russell, the four elected to the starting lineup, went a soft 0-for-7 at the plate. Bob Welch was the pitcher when the Americans scored their only runs. And if you want to take this theme a step or two beyond the natural boundaries, it was Tommy John – a former Dodger who now wears Yankee pinstripes – who was ripped for three of the National League's runs.

 

LET IT BE REMEMBERED that as soon as the Dodgers and others in the tainted starting lineup began vanishing from the field, the pace of the National League accelerated rapidly. Ken Griffey, who replaced Dave Kingman, was the first to strike. With two out in the bottom of the fifth and the Nationals still hitless, he picked up a Tommy John pitch and drilled it into the center-field seats, not far from where the fire engines were still at work.

 

"I was trying to run a fastball inside, and then come back with Continued from Back Page a breaking pitch," John was to later recall. "It didn't get quite far enough inside. It wasn't bad pitch, I'd call it a mediocre pitch, but he turned it into a bad one."

 

The popular post-game theory was that this sudden, and majestic, blow was the axis around which the contest turned. Several of the National League stars felt they had been sitting around waiting for something to light their fuse, and for doing so Griffey was named the game's most valuable. It probably should be added that, on this particular evening, candidates were in short supply.

 

"Up to that point, the only excitement had been in watching the fire," said Reggie Smith. "It was like guys had been sitting around waiting for something to happen, and when Griffey hit that ball you could almost feel the lift it gave everybody in the dugout. We went right back out the next inning and scored two more."

 

THIS WILL NOT BE popular in Hollywood, but a more fundamental reason for why this might have happened could be the people involved. Ray Knight, Phil Garner, George Hendrick and Keith Hernandez all had hits in the sixth inning, and all were second-stringers... in the balloting, that is.

 

"I thought I was making pretty good pitches," Tommy John said, shrugging, “but maybe they should have been down lower and moving a little better. Some of those guys are capable of hitting anything you throw up there, though."

 

From that point, the American League came apart like an arrangement of building blocks when someone takes a kick at the bottom row. Willie Randolph, who had errored in the sixth, made another in the seventh, an inning in which the Nationals also stole two bases and were treated to two walks, two wild pitches and a passed ball.

 

"When you're down two runs and coming to the end of the game, and you know you have to face Bruce Sutter, you're in serious trouble," Tommy John said.

 

Afterward, there was the annual search for reasons as to why these things always happen to the American League. "They wind up getting more runs, that's the only explanation I have," said Earl Weaver, the manager. "I don't think their players are better. I wouldn't hesitate using anyone we had tonight in any situation."

 

Three suggestions were advanced by the winners, who perhaps have a clearer view looking down. Chuck Tanner says there is great spirit and enthusiasm on the National League team, but Chuck would introduce a group of pallbearers in the same manner.

 

"I'VE HEARD THE SPIRIT theory," said Tommy John, "and I've heard about their pride, and I think that 's a "lot of baloney. Some of us who have played in both leagues were sitting around talking about it tonight. We couldn’t come up with an answer, other than I know the National League expects to win."

 

Reggie Smith feels this key. "From my own experience, I know we go in feeling there's no way we can lose," he said. "There was never a point tonight when I doubted in the least. It was a matter of when and how. It is one of the few things in life I'm sure of."

 

Reggie smiled. "I doubt that they have the same feeling," he added.

 

Chuck Tanner also suggested that his bench might have been superior, and with several of the guys who should have been starting sitting on it, that seems reasonable. It would have been better yet with guys like Ted Simmons, Gary Templeton. and Manny Trillo, to name several, who were buried by the ballot-box blitz in Los Angeles.

 

"I'm an optimist, so I would naturally teel good about our chances," said Steve Garvey. "But there is something about the spirit here. You can feel it the day before the game. We've got something going that no one wants to let loose of.

 

"I know that one of these days the American I-eague is gonna get its stuff together and beat us," Garvey said. "But I'm 7-0 in these games, and I hope it doesn't happen until after I've retired."

 

 

One thing we learned from the Los Angeles fans this year is that when Steve Garvey does go, there will another Dodger to replace him. And off what we saw last night, that may be the American League's only hope.

Lasorda Didn’t Forget Griffey

 

LOS ANGELES (UPI) – When someone hurts Tom Lasorda, the Dodger manager doesn't forget.

 

"Every time I see him," said Cincinnati's Ken Griffey, "he reminds me about a game two years ago. I hit a two-run homer off Tommy John here to tie the game in the ninth inning."

 

Griffey was named Most Valuable Player in the National League's 4-2 All-Star victory over the American League last night.

 

Lasorda, a coach for the NL, reminded Manager Chuck Tanner of Griffey's capabilities. And that bit of advice proved instrumental in the NL's ninth straight victory over the AL.

 

AL pitchers had retired the first 14 NL batters until Griffey blasted a homer over the 385-foot marker into the right-field pavilion in the fifth inning.

 

"Griffey really sparked us and got ns going," said Tanner.

 

THE LAST TIME Griffey faced John, the New York Yankees' southpaw was a member of the Dodgers.

 

"I've always hit him pretty good," said the Reds' rightfielder, who entered the game as a replacement for Dave Kingman and went 2-for-3.  "George Foster won the MVP a couple of years ago. He phoned me last night and wished me good luck. I was hoping I would have a good game and I guess I did."

 

The 30-year-old left-handed hitter, playing in his third All-Star Game, tried to explain his success against John.

 

"He tries to pitch me inside," said Griffey, who is 20-for-46 and .435 overall against John. "He doesn't throw very hard, so I have to guess inhere he's going to pitch me. I guessed right this time."

 

Griffey said the pitch was where he expected it – inside and low.

 

"I saw it good and I just swung hard," he said. "I knew it was gone right away."

 

The homer narrowed the AL's lead to 2-1 and the NL scored two more runs in the sixth en route to its 17th victory in the last 18 against the AL.

 

"I GUESS EVERY time they make a mistake we just jump on it," said Griffey. "That's what happened tonight."

 

"We knew we had too many good players to not be hitting," said Cincinnati's Ray Knight of the NL's hitless streak through 4 innings. "It was only a matter of time for us. When Griffey hit the home run, it seemed to pick us up on the bench. I was just proud to be here,"

 

The AL, on the strength of a two-run homer by Boston's Fred Lynn in the fifth, was nursing a 2-1 lead when the NL battered John with one out in the bottom of the sixth.

 

Consecutive one-out singles by Knight, Pittsburgh's Phil Garner and St Louis' George. Hendrick produced the tying run and brought on reliever Ed Farmer of Chicago, but it was an error by the usually sure-handed Willie Randolph of the Yankees that allowed the tie-breaking run to score.

 

San Diego's Dave Winfield hit a sharp grounder to the left of Randolph. However, the ball handcuffed the second baseman and instead of turning the smash into a double play, Randolph misplayed it for an error as Garner crossed the plate.

 

"IF THE SCORER wants to call it an error that's fine," said Randolph. "If you guys want to say I blew the game, that's fine, too."

 

There were certainly many in the crowd of 56,088 – the largest in the history of Dodger Stadium – that would single out Randolph as the goat Not only did he commit two errors in the field, but also he got picked off first base by Los Angeles' Bob Welch in the third inning.

 

"No one told me Welch had such a good move," Randolph said. "I'm going to be aggressive. Getting picked off is part of that but (first baseman Steve) Garvey never touched me."

 

The NL added an insurance run in the seventh – strictly a gift courtesy of Toronto pitcher Dave Stieb and Kansas City catcher Darrell Porter. After Griffey opened the inning with a single, Cincinnati's Dave Concepcion hit into a forceout but was standing on third a moment later after a wild pitch by Stieb and a passed ball by Porter. Stieb, nervous in his first AU-Star appearance, then uncorked another wild pitch, allowing Concepcion to score.

 

"Tonight we just played a solid game and took advantage of their mistakes," said Griffey. "We have a great team and lots of depth."

 

Aside from Lynn, about the only hero the AL had was starting pitcher Steve Stone of Baltimore, who pitched three perfect innings in his All-Star debut.

 

 

"I couldn't look at this lineup as a group," said Stone, who became the first pitcher in All-Star competition since Detroit's Denny McLain in 1966 to pitch three perfect innings. "I had to face each one as a single entity. As a group, it would have seemed too big a task but one by one, I was able to handle nine guys."

‘Speed’ on the Bases?

 

Nothing to Report of Drug Use, Say Phils

 

By Tom Cushman

 

LOS ANGELES – In town to collect their midsummer tribute as two of baseball's most accomplished performers, Mike Schmidt and Pete Rose discovered yesterday morning that they were headline news in the Philadelphia area for another reason.

 

"There's no sense in me worrying about something that I have no control over," Schmidt said as the All-Star teams were loosening up for last night's game. He was referring to a copyrighted report in the Trenton Times that at least eight members of the Phillies organization – including Rose, Schmidt, Greg Luzinski and Larry Bowa – will be questioned after the All-Star break by investigators from the Pennsylvania Drug Law Enforcement about alleged illegal obtainment of amphetamines.

 

Although no criminal charges have been filed, the Inquirer reports that a high-ranking state official has confirmed that the Pennsylvania Department of Justice which administers the drug enforcement agency is investigating the matter. The official refused further comment.

 

THE PHILLIES’ official comment came in a statement issued late yesterday afternoon by club owner Ruly Carpenter: "Our policy is that we have continually cautioned our players about the use of drugs of any kind. In a number of team meetings, our team physician, Dr. Phillip Marone, also has cautioned players about the use of drugs.

 

"Our trainers issue no drugs without a doctor’s prescription. The Phillies have circulated ail information that comes from the commissioner's office on drugs."

 

Bill Giles, Phillies executive vice president, expressed surprise at the allegations. "We have no idea about this at all," he said, adding. "We do not condone the use of drugs in any form. We meet with all our major and minor-league players once a year in a drug and alcohol clinic where the evils of both are discussed."

 

Carpenter later said, "We take every precaution we can but we cant control what happens after the players leave the clubhouse."

 

Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn reportedly is looking into the situation.

 

Don Seger. the Phillies' trainer, said the team keeps detailed medical records on the players and added, "I know none of these (amphetamines) have been dispensed by Dr. Marone, myself or with the approval of the Phillies." Seger also said. "I dont see how it (using amphetamines) makes them play better."

 

ROSE FIRMLY DENTED any involvement with drugs. "I don't know a doctor in Reading. I don't even know a doctor in the whole state of Pennsylvania. I think they got the wrong guy when they mentioned my name...

 

“I don’t think there's anything to this. All we can do is wait until we get back to Philly. find out what the problem is and get a retraction."

 

Schmidt was stunned when he learned about the story from his wife during a long-distance telephone call yesterday. "I know nothing about it. so there's really no way I can comment on it, except to say that it's pathetic that crap like that gets in the paper," said Schmidt. "Unfortunately, when you're in the spotlight like we are, anybody can say anything they want at any time. And we have no control over it.

 

"I'm out here trying to relax for three days and enjoy the experience of being with the All-Stars, but I have a pregnant wife at home and it's not comforting to know that she is reading something like this in the papers."

 

The Trenton Times story reported that at least eight professional athletes – including several members of the Phillrcs' Class AA team in Reading as well as players on the parent club – will be questioned by narcotics officials about allegedly receiving amphetamines from a doctor in Reading.

 

According to the Trenton Times story, the Reading doctor involved told officials he dispensed the pills without examining the athletes, assuming the ballplayers had been examined by the team's physician. The Reading doctor allegedly turned over the pills to a "runner," who in turn delivered them to the athletes. The runner confirmed his involvement, according to the Trenton Times'.unnamed source.

 

STATE LAW REQUIRES doctors to physically and orally examine patients before handing out prescriptions for amphetamines.

 

Rose said he had no knowledge of amphetamines being used by anyone on the Phillies. "I don't use 'greenies,' " he said, "and I've never seen another player take one. If it's happening, it's not out in the open."

 

Rose was asked about an interview published by Playboy Magazine last year in which it was suggested that he had used amphetamines.

 

 

"What I told the interviewer," he said, "is that I tend to put on weight in the winter, and that before I got to spring training I take some of my wife's diet pills. I guess the lady decided that if I took those, I must use the other stuff, too."