Wilmington Evening Journal - June 10, 1980

Phillies suffer Giant nightmare in rain


By John Bannon, Staff Writer


PHILADELPHIA – This was a baseball bedtime story. Only the Phillies were left without the traditional happy ending.


Long after most of the Delaware Valley had snuggled warmly into their beds, the Phillies said good night to a chance to win a game. Jack Clark's two-run homer in the eighth inning made the last-place Giants happy – if somewhat soaked and bleary-eyed – 3-1 winners at 3:11 this morning, some 7½ hours after the start.


The soggy saga didn't get off to a prompt start last night, as the first pitch was delivered two minutes in arrears of the expected starting time. That, though, was just the beginning of the delays.


A pair of lengthy – how many raindrops fall in five hours? – rain delays pushed the game into the pre-dawn hours. Why the fellow subbing for Carson already had bid America adieu when the Phils and Giants were still in a playful mood.


Really, the game had sailed along rather smoothly before the heavens threatened to wash things down the drain. Steve Carlton was busily engaged in another chapter of that oft-simmering, but-never-satisfied affair with a Phillies no-hitter.


Carlton banished the first 12 Giants with the temerity to step into the batter's box, five on strikes. He had gotten only two balls deep into the count against two batters.


But if Carlton was perfect, the weather wasn't. After the Giants half of the fourth, Bob Engel, the crew chief of the umpiring quartet, began the evening and morning's long ordeal by ordering the first stoppage in play at 8:21.


The delay lasted one hour and 28 minutes. It was just a mere interlude, leading up to the granddaddy of rain delays.


Those still around from the announced paying crowd of 28,702 for the resumption of play at 9:49 were treated to seven minutes of fast-paced action. Bob Boone pelted a loggy John Montefusco offering through the rain drops and over the left-field fence. Garry Maddox followed with a crisp single and was quickly forced on a Larry Bowa bouncer.


Then Montefusco ran the count to 2-1 on Manny Trillo. It was about this time that Engel started worrying about his pants losing their crease and ordered play stopped for a second time.


And it stayed stopped – for three hours and 28 minutes.


There was a flutter of activity now and again. The tarp came off a few times but was put back on as soon as it was rolled up neatly and ready to be put away.


The Giants even took the field once but a sluggish Alan Ripley, the eventual winning pitcher who took over for Montefusco, took more warm-up pitches than Carlton had used to retire those 12 batters. Before he pronounced himself prepared, the heavens were spitting again and Engel bad everybody battening down the hatches once more.


Stubbornness is not without its rewards and at 1:28 this morning, Trillo completed the majors' longest at-bat. He walked.


The Phils, like they would throughout the marathon in leaving 14 runners stranded, wasted the two-on opportunity when Carlton and Lonnie Smith were retired.


The game then quickly lost the only suspense that was separating it from the cowboy flick on the late show. Carlton would again fail on his no-hit try.


After striking out the first batter he faced in the fifth, Carlton yielded a double down the line to Larry Herndon. He gave up two more singles in the sixth before telling Manager Dallas Green it was past his bedtime.


Green wasn't all that fond of sending the money arm of his bankrupt pitching staff out there to do battle in the wee hours of the morning anyway, especially after Carlton had warmed up twice during the brief interludes in the showers before sitting down again. But he did like that option better than any other.


"Sure, I had a lot of concern about using him," Green said. "But what the hell are we supposed to do.


"Steve's a pretty good judge of himself. He said he was all right. He had a no-hitter. We all wanted to see him take a shot at that. "He went as far as he could."


Carlton has been the National League's best pitcher in the afternoon and night this spring. Just before dawn apparently isn't his best time of day.


"He's been in such a great groove all year that it’s difficult to tell if be had lost anything," Green said.


From his catching vantage point, Boone didn't find it all that mysterious. It wasn't the same Carlton in the fifth and sixth.


"He was really throwing well before the rain. He wasn't throwing badly once we started up again, but still he had lost some. He was forcing it a lot," Boone said. "They were starting to hit some balls hard."


On this unusual date, the status quo was maintained in one area, Carlton let the others do his talking.


When Carlton left after the sixth, he had 10 strikeouts, upping his league-leading total to 105, and seemingly with win No. 11 in his back pocket. Dickie Noles, not the whipcord bulldog with dawn threatening the horizon, failed to protect Carlton's prize possession.


The Phils stopper drifted through the seventh in fine fashion but immediately ran into trouble starting the eighth. He walked leadoff batter Terry Whitfield and one out later yielded Clark's 10th homer of the year.


The Giants added an insurance run in the ninth against Tug McGraw on Rennie Stennett's lead-off double and two long fly balls.


Meanwhile, the Phillies' offense, which had started to slumber about the time all good boys are tucked in for the night, showed signs of shaking off the drowsiness in the eighth.


The Phils hadn't had a hit since Pete Rose's double in the fifth, when Bowa beat out a 30-footer in front of the plate with one out in the eighth. One out later pinch-hitter George Vukovich coaxed a walk and Smith legged out a chopper to short to load the bases. The threat died when Rose struck out for the second time in as many innings.


A wasted Greg Luzinski single in the ninth would swell the Phils left-on-base total to its final flood level of 14.


"Too many," Green groused over his stranded stalwarts that included four stationed at third when final outs were recorded. "Too many. We just didn't get the hits when we had to. I guess they proved they're better early morning hitters than we are.


"A game like that is what drives a manager to drink."


And Green promptly did just that, grabbing a fresh beer to wash down his eye-opener breakfast of pepperoni pizza, meatballs and macaroni salad.


You don't eat pizza, meatballs and macaroni for breakfast. Who says? You probably thought you didn't play baseball at three in the morning either. Shows what you know.

Umpire Bob Engel tries patience of teams, fans


By John Bannon, Staff Writer


PHILADELPHIA – Patience, the bromide goes, is a virtue.


It's a nice thing to have when you're an expectant father and the wife seems to be laboring over the job too long. Fishermen also have been known to be high on that particular quality.


Well, Bob Engel is giving patience a bad name. Job would have met his match early this morning. Umpire Engel crossed Mother Nature, over 28,000 people and any boundary of reasonableness.


A game that began as early evening entertainment finally ended as a pre-breakfast morsel. Sermonette had played throughout the Midwest before the Phillies were through losing to the San Francisco Giants 3-1 at a little after 3 in the morning.


The box score's bottom line will say the game took 2:26. That's playing time. The fourth inning, though, was interrupted for a five-hour organ concert.


And although it likely wasn't an editorial comment on the talents of the musician, there were just over 200 people around at the end of the recital, considerably fewer than were around tapping their feet to the first tune.


One of those people, though, was Engel. And if Noah could last through 40 days and nights of rain, darn if Engel couldn't wait a measly five hours.


So he did.


The grounds crew got a month's worth of practice at tarpaulin putting down and picking up.


Zambonis roared.


Beer was consumed.


Zambonis groaned.


A baby happily sucked at his 1 a.m. feeding on his mother's lap in a seat along the third-base line.


Zambonis rumbled.


People got wet.


Zambonis droned.


And Engel waited... and waited... and waited... and waited some more.


Finally, at 1:28 a.m., he won his personal argument with the heavens. The skies didn't exactly part and the sun didn't suddenly burst into prominence, but the last 4 innings were played with nary a raindrop falling.


Engel, it appears, is somewhat of a connoisseur when it comes to rain delays. While everyone else was thinking the mess had dragged on an interminable amount of time a little after midnight, Engel was saying. "I've seen longer. I'd like to see it (the rain) stop, get the game in, get the gate in, be fair to both sides.


"There are so many things to consider," he said. "You're damned if you do and damned if you don't."


Engel can call 'em like he sees 'em. Dallas Green, the Phils boss, sure was damning him at the conclusion.


Green, you see, had a long time to cuss Engel. The second rain delay lasted three hours and 28 minutes. And Green didn't think Engel should have stopped play in the first place.


"I think he used extreme poor judgment in taking us off the field the second time. It wasn't raining enough to stop play," Green was saying just this side of sunrise. "And I think he was intimidated by the other guy (Giants Manager Dave Bristol) when we could have started again."


At the time with the Phils up 1-0 and the Giants hitting more raindrops than Steve Carlton pitches, Green was the guy in a hurry to play.


"You've got to give him credit. He finally got the ballgame in. That's what he's supposed to do. The rain just wasn't hard enough for him to stop it," Green said. "He had a bad weather report. It wasn't like it was going to clear up. He should have tried to get as many innings in as he could. Get the fifth inning in and make it official and then wait and see what happens."


Green had the sneaky suspicion that Engel was passing the time having Bristol chew on his ear.


"It was not handled very professionally," Green said. "And I'm not all that sure that the senior manager wasn't given more consideration. It seemed like it was his home game instead of mine. He (Engel) certainly spent more time over in his dugout talking to him than he did to me. No umpire said a word to me."


Bristol understandably wasn't very upset about getting to bed late.


"That's AstroTurf for you ." he said. "I never got mad about the thing. Hey, we won."


Green realized that, too.


"Let's face it, we lost," Green said. "If we had won, everything would have been hunky-dory.”


Gary Lavelle, Giant pitcher and player rep who did nothing more on the night than count raindrops, didn't care who won. He plans to inquire to the Players Association to see if the players have any power should the situation arise again.


"The game was in the umpire's hands," Lavelle said. "But it shouldn't have been delayed that long."


Bob Boone, the Phils' player rep, pooh-poohed the idea of filing a grievance and kept hitting back "no comments" at any early morning pitches to draw him into the controversy.


When his memory was finally pricked with mention of the Dodgers-Phils playoff game of 1978 that was played in a constant torrent, Boone relented and questioned the need for the rain delay.


"If we could play that thing in 78, we could play at Christmastime," he said, "in Winnipeg."


Boone claimed he never once thought the game was going to be rained out and spent the three plus hours preparing himself to play the game.


A few moments later Boone unlocked the secret to all that preparation. "I was in here playing cards," he said.


While Boone was shuffling a deck of 52, there was barely more than four times that left of a crowd that at one time numbered 28,702. All but the 200 or so hardy insomniacs had long since shuffled off to Buffalo or at least bed long before play was resumed.


Those who stayed were promised a coupon that would gain them entry at a later date to a game that likely would be of more standard length. There was no word on the reward for all those who left before this game, which outlasted an Atlanta Braves' replay on cable television, had doggie-paddled to a conclusion.


Boone wasn't listening to the thesis that 28,000 people didn't get their money's worth.


"What da ya mean they didn't see anything," he said. "They saw my home run."


And they really didn't miss much after that except watching Engel's staring match with the sky.

Luzinski, Schmidt in ‘Star’ lead


Associated Press


NEW YORK – Phillies outfielder Greg Luzinski and third baseman Mike Schmidt have moved into the lead in balloting for their positions on the National League All-Star team, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn's office said yesterday.


Also taking the lead in voting at their positions on the National League team were shortstop Garry Templeton of the St. Louis Cardinals and outfielder Dave Kingman of the Chicago Cubs.


Holdover NL leaders for the July 8 game in Los Angeles are catcher Ted Simmons of the Cardinals, outfielder Dave Parker of Pittsburgh and Los Angeles infield teammates Steve Garvey at first base and Davey Lopes at second.


Balloting, sponsored by Gillette, continues through June 25.


Luzinski (377,134), and Kingman (372,262) took over the 2-3 slots among NL outfielders. Parker's 603,921 leads all outfielders, but only 67,046 votes separate the next five players - Luzinski, Kingman, Reggie Smith of Los Angeles, Cincinnati's George Foster and Dusty Baker of Los Angeles.


Schmidt (511,906) holds a 75,944 lead over Ron Cey of Los Angeles (435,962).


Garvey (551,470) is seeking his seventh consecutive starting assignment at first base. He leads Keith Hernandez of St. Louis (368,057). Willie Stargell of Pittsburgh (286,621) last year's co-Most Valuable Players.