Philadelphia Daily News - June 10, 1980

Giants Stall Themselves a Win

 

By Gary Smith

 

Bill Giles huffed and puffed himself blue trying to resuscitate a drowned rat of a baseball game last night. Then the little SOB woke up and bit him on the toe.

 

The irony was thick as the curtains of water that lashed the Vet. The Phillies blew a 1-0 lead after the rain ended and lost, 3-1, in what was believed to be the longest rain-delayed game in team history.

 

It started at 7:35 p.m. yesterday and died at 3:11 a.m. today. Two hours and 36 minutes of baseball. Five hours of watching the sky spit. Four different tarpaulin strippings. Sixty gallons of Zamboni gas. Couple hundred fans left at the end. Hell, they let hostages go home faster than this.

 

GILES KEPT trying to encourage the umpires not to postpone the game. Steve Carlton had a perfect game cooking after four innings and the Phils had the cash from a crowd of 28,702 in their pockets. Why quit now, when the Giants weren't laying their bats on anything but raindrops?

 

The first delay came in the middle of the fourth and lasted an hour and 28 minutes as the Phils’ executive vice president calmly went berserk. The national weather service radar in Atlantic City had broken and he couldn't get a firm fix on what the black clouds were plotting. And his private weatherman, Dick James of the Schuylkill Valley Nature Center, was in Reading giving a speech.

 

"I knew the bad weather was coming from the west," said Giles. "I called my house, because I live out that way. but my phone was busy. So I called Jasman Kalas, Harry's wife. She lives out near King of Prussia. She became my weatherperson. I knew if it cleared up out there, it would clear here. I must have talked to her six. seven times. It was amazing how accurate she was."

 

By this time the game was knee-deep into its second rain delay and the umps wanted something firmer than the radio announcer's bride sticking her head out the kitchen window. At 1:15 Giles" personal weatherman got home from Reading and identified the storm front as a sinker that would soon dip south of the city. Bill passed the word down to the umps, figuring he was doing Dallas Green and Steve Carlton a favor, and the Wait droned on.

 

"I DIDN’T EVEN know Carlton had a perfect game going until somebody told me (around midnight)," claimed Bob Engel, chief of the umpire crew. That never entered into our decision to wait. We just wanted each team to have an equal opportunity. We didn't have anywhere to go, so let's get the game in."

 

A rainout would have meant a replay Thursday, when this umpiring crew has a scheduled off-day. Was that why they were so hungry to squeeze this one in? Engel said no, Giles chuckled and said he had made a point of letting them know Thursday was the rain date.

 

At 1:03 a.m. the rain had stopped and reliever Allen Ripley was on the mound warming up. The Giants still trailed, 1-0, and were five outs away from an official loss. The rules say Ripley gets as long as he wants to warm up and Allen was in no hurry. He played catch for nearly 15 minutes while the crowd hooted, and finally the rain started again.

 

"The Giants didn’t wanna play," said Giles. "They'd only had four hours of sleep before flying here from Houston this morning and Carlton was pitching. (Dave) Bristol was doing everything he could to stall and I don't blame him."

 

"We're all actors," grinned Ripley. "Sure I was loose – heck, I was getting tired. Mac (pitching coach Don McMahon) had told me, get good and loose and don't be afraid to let it rain. I was fixing my shoe, rubbing the ball, playing with the resin bag. I was running out of ideas. But we knew it would rain again. We get a lot of rain in San Francisco, so we're like weathermen now."

 

AT 1:13 THE umps changed their mind and cleared the field again. By 1:20 the rain had stopped again and the Woodstock Syndrome had settled in on the couple hundred fans still in the stadium. They chanted, "We want the umps," and when Ripley finally was ordered back to the mound at 1:22, they counted his warmup pitches in unison. Ripley looked up, realized he could wring no more condensation from the sky, and signaled he was ready after the crowd had counted to 23.

 

And thus the second delay ended at 1:28 a.m., a wait of three hours and thirty-two minutes. The Giants promptly jumped Carlton for a fifth-inning run to tie it and then Jack Clark belted a two-run homer off Dickie Noles in the eighth to win it. Bill Giles sat there is his soggy seat, wondering why in hell he'd gone to all the trouble.

 

"It's a can't-win situation," he said. "We made a lot of people mad (who left the stadium) and then if Carlton gets hurt... The poor guy had to warm up two, three times. But Dallas never gave me an indication he didn't want to play. He said, 'Bleep, we lost the last game of the playoffs (in 77) in a lot worse weather than this."

 

Giants Manager Dave Bristol, having just busted a four-game losing streak, felt the sun had come out at 3 a.m.

 

"Damn, I'm happy to win this game." he glowed. "God damn. At 2:30 in the morning somebody on the bench said, 'These are our hours, guys, let's go." There was a feeling on the bench after those delays that I haven't felt all year."

 

And thus another old baseball cliché was proven true today as the morning dew gathered on the Giants team bus. The team that stalls together, mauls together.

Wee Hours Giant Win

 

By Bill Conlin

 

The Phillies ended the 1977 season underwater.

 

They lost the fourth game of the playoffs in the kind of rainstorm Somerset Maugham wrote about, the kind which had Noah drawing up blueprints for an ark.

 

Fans in this town are no strangers to rain and the problems it can cause during the playing of a ballgame. Or, as it- turned out last night, the semi-playing of a ballgame.

 

The Giants, bone-tired after a 6 a.m. (CDT) wakeup call in Houston yesterday morning, beat the Phillies, 3-1, in a game which began last night at 7:35 and ended at 3:11 this morning.

 

The extenuating circumstance, of course, was an even five hours worth of rain delays, the all-time single-game record for this town. Call it the Curse of the Zamboni.

 

SOME UNUSUAL things happened during the long night's journey into day.

 

For instance:

 

•  About 28,000 of the paid crowd of 28,702 walked away from a potential no-hitter.

 

•  Including his normal pre-game routine, Steve Carlton warmed up a total of four times.

 

•  Believe it or not, a right-handed reliever named Allen Ripley picked up his first National League victory after one of the neatest bits of stalling since the North Koreans took six months to decide on the shape of the conference table during armistice talks with the U.N. forces in the '50s.

 

Briefly, for those of you who work for a living and couldn't hang around for Bill Giles' latest effort – a Milkman's Matinee – Carlton went after his 11th victory with awesome stuff. As black clouds worthy of Dorothy and Toto tumbled out of the deepening twilight. Lefty retired the first 13 Giants he faced, firing five strikeouts in the four innings of normalcy.

 

Larry Bowa made a fine play-from deep short to whisker Jack Clark, who became a villain much, much later in an evening which unfolded like a chess match by mail. That was the third out in the top of the fourth and it started to rain.

 

When the rain started to fall in driving sheets, umpire crew chief Bob Engel correctly waved out the ground crew.

 

THE DELAY WAS 1:28, several million drops in the bucket, so to speak.

 

John Montefusco, who mounted a terrific campaign to be traded here on Howard Eskin's sports talk show Sunday night, did a number on the Phillies before the first delay. But Bob Boone lined a homer to left leading off the Phils' fourth and Carlton had the only run it looked like he would need. Garry Maddox singled to left and Larry Bowa bounced into a force. With one out, the rain, which had never stopped completely, became heavier. Once more, Engel stopped play.

 

Dallas Green says that was the umpire's first mistake.

 

"I think he used extremely poor judgment in taking us off the second time," the Phils manager said. "The rain wasn't hard enough to get us off the field that time, not considering we were five outs from a completed ballgame. I will say one thing – they got the ballgame in and that's their prime concern. But he had a bad forecast for the rest of the night and I think at that point he's got to worry about keeping us out there to play an official game. I also know that when Boonie hit the homer now he's got a problem. He wanted to be as fair as possible to the Giants."

 

At that point Green wanted Carlton to have a shot at the no-hitter if he had to pitch at periscope depth. He also wanted five outs so he could win the game if the rain didn't stop.

 

The manager in the other dugout was working hard in his best interests, too. Dave Bristol, who has swum around the block more than once, would have been happy to settle for a watery stalemate. His team was bone-tired and runs off Carlton would be tough to come by.

 

CARLTON WAS on deck when the second delay was invoked and he was midway through his warmups when the capricious weather system dumped on the Vet and both teams returned to their clubhouses. Lefty stood there a long time with his left hand on his hip.

 

The infield was uncovered a second time during the second delay, the rain had slowed to a trickle and Ripley, purchased from the Red Sox during spring training, was on the mound warming up. And warming up. And warming up. And warming up.

 

Carlton had warmed up once again, the Giants were in the field and Manny Trillo was ready to bat with a 2-1 count.

 

According to the rules, Ripley could have warmed up until sunrise., They don't run. a controlled stall any better in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Green knew Bristol was holding the ball and there wasn’t a damned thing he could do about it.

 

"I'm not too sure the senior manager in this deal didn't get the upper hand," Dallas said. "Engel spent a lot more time in the other dugout than he did in mine. Dave was stalling and if I was in his shoes I would have done the same thing."

 

The weary ground crew was asked to prepare for action one more time. This time, Ripley threw 23 warmup pitches, a fact noted by the festive survivors, who chanted the number of each pitch.

 

THE SECOND delay ended after 3:32, another Phillies single-delay record. Trillo walked, but Ripley, believe it or not. had enough left to scuffle out of the jam. More than four hours to play the bottom of the fourth and all the Phils got from it was one run.  That’s incredible!

 

Rich Murray, rookie brother of the Orioles' Eddie, struck out and the no-hit suspense ended when Larry Herndon whistled a clean double to left. But Carlton was still magnificent. He pitched out of a bases-loaded jam, then fired three strikeouts in the sixth, bringing his total for six hours of intermittent pitching to 11.

 

That was it. "Steve's a pretty good judge of his own capabilities," Green said. "He's in such a groove now it's difficult to tell when he's losing his stuff. He was done after six."

 

Dickie Noles, who hadn't surrendered a lead in relief this season, walked pinch-hitter Terry Whitfield leading off the eighth and Clark whistled a one-out homer to left-center. On a night when the Phils stranded 14 runners, that was enough to give Ripley the win and Greg Minton the save and Green an acute case of red-around-the-collar.

 

Boone ducked the Question of whether Engel acted imprudently with agility. "I don't want to get into that," he said. Boone has to live back there with those guys.

 

The catcher did, however, make one profound observation when asked to compare conditions last night and this morning to those which prevailed in the ‘77 playoffs during Hurricane Feeney.

 

"If we played in that we could have played during Christmastime in Winnipeg," Boone said.

 

PHILUPS: The lucky or mentally benumbed loyalists who stuck it out will be treated to a reserved seat ticket to a future game of their choice, the Phillies announced... Mike Schmidt went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. Pete Rose walked, doubled and stole two bases, not too shabby for a guy with a broken toe… Lonnie Smith is still in the showcase. The swift outfielder played right because Bake McBride is down with a heavy cold, the Phillies said Bob Knepper vs. Bob Walk tonight and doesn't time fly when you're having fun?

4 More Win Phils Tickets

 

Last night in the 6th inning of the Phillies-Giants game, there were four winners in the Daily News Home Run Payoff. Joe Klotz, Ginny Ciabattoni, Robert Jankauskas and James Maber, all of Philadelphia, each won four tickets to a Phillies game.

 

 

So far the Daily News has paid out $5,200. To enter, send the coupon that appears on Page 59.