Escondido Times-Advocate - June 20, 1980
Pads take a long time before Fingers saves
By Ron Kenney Jr., T-A Sports Writer
SAN DIEGO – When the dust had cleared, the sun was still high in the sky and the multitude had gotten its tan.
They had plenty of time.
Yesterdays businessman’s special at San Diego Stadium turned into a businessman’s marathon, or at the very least a businessman’s extra long lunch.
When the nearly three-hour game was over, the Padres were happy to get away with a 4-3 victory over Philadelphia in front of a lunchtime crowd of 16,712.
The Phillies were not at all happy the affair had taken so long.
Juan Eichelberger started on the mound for San Diego, making his first appearance since being recalled from Hawaii three days ago.
Eichelberger can throw smoke, but he sometimes takes a little while between pitches to heat up.
Yesterday, he literally had the Phillies waiting at the plate.
Some of the Phillies complained after the game that the afternoon affair had been parlayed into a wait-for-your-pitch match and Phillie Pete Rose had a few words of advice for the Padres starter.
“The first thing he (Eichelberger) has to learn is to work a little bit faster,” Rose said. “It’s better for him and better for his teammates.
“He’s young. He did a lot of thinking. Heck, he was double-rubbing the ball and walking around the mound. Maybe he did too much thinking.”
Eichelberger pleased the home crowd, showing off his “good stuff,” but he began having trouble finding the plate after the second inning. At the end of the third inning, he had thrown more than 80 pitches.
“He’s got good velocity on his fast ball,” Rose said. “And he’s got a good curve, but people will start hitting him if he doesn’t throw strikes. Nobody can win with 3-1 and 2-0 counts – not in this league.”
Phillie Greg Luzinski, who was a strikeout victim of Eichelbergers in the fourth, was not quite as talkative as Rose.
Asked what he thought of Eichelbergers stuff, the burly leftfielder replied, “Bull, I’m not going to comment on that.”
But Rose was right in a way. Eichelberger did not receive credit for the win. He began to show signs of strain and in the fifth inning with two on and one out. Padre manager Jerry Coleman went by the book and brought in Dennis Kinney to pitch to Bake McBride.
The Padres were riding a three-run lead and Kinney had pitched well against the Phils the last time the Pads were on the road.
So much for the book.
McBride lofted a three-run shot down the rightfield line to tie the game.
But Kinney settled down after that and held the Phils in check until Rollie Fingers took over in the seventh. Kinney was credited with the victory and Fingers picked up his eighth save.
Fingers was his old self – tough on the mound and tough in the dugout.
When Coleman mentioned he might lift the big right-hander, Fingers in no uncertain terms informed his manager that he would be the one throwing the ball in the ninth.
“He’s bigger than me,” Coleman said. “I did tell him though that if he got into any trouble at all he was gone.”
After pitching out of jams in the seventh and eighth, Fingers brought the crowd to its feet in the ninth when he set down the side on strikes. It was the meat of the Phillies lineup – McBride, Mike Schmidt and Luzinski. Luzinski whiffed three consecutive times.
“Nothing to it,” Coleman said after the game. “We had them all the way.”
He followed that comment with a bit of a chuckle.
"Rollie wouldn’t leave, the manager said. He wanted to pitch. So I let him pitch.”
Fingers, his right elbow wrapped in an ice pack, seemed pleased with his performance.
“I’m a bit tired, but I’m glad the ninth (inning) is over,” he said. “It’ll be nice to have a day off tomorrow.
“I didn’t want to come out. I felt fine. The ninth inning is the best I’ve thrown (this year). I don’t strike out the side many times.
I’m getting work now. That’s what I need.”
After the Phillies tied it in the fifth it looked as if the long game would last even longer with the prospect of extra innings staring at the crowd.
But the Padres put together a two-out rally in the sixth with Willie Montanez scoring all the way from first base on Tim Flannery’s bloop single to left.
The Padres first three runs were produced from none other than Dave Winfield, who started the game in center.
Rowdy fans are destroying the game of baseball
By Ron Kenney Jr., T-A Sports Writer
Item: Management of the Detroit Tigers temporarily close down the bleachers in their stadium to keep rowdy fans from hurling objects at opposing players. Play has been halted on two separate occasions to allow the grounds crew to pick up the trash thrown from the stands.
Item: A pair of fans at a New York Yankees game begin arguing. When a security guard steps in to break up the fight the two fans pick him up and throw him over the railing of one of the upper decks. The security guard dies of a broken neck suffered in the fall.
Item: Fans run amok at a radio station promotional event staged at a Chicago White Sox game. As disco records are destroyed on the field, fans pour from the stands and literally destroy the field, making it unplayable for the second game of a doubleheader.
Item: Fans seated in the left field bleachers at San Diego Stadium taunt opposing fielders. Paper cups and crumpled pieces of paper are hurled at the players and finally one of the fans throws an empty wine bottle. A fight breaks out and three security guards are needed to escort the fan from the stands.
Why is it that so many people who attend Major League baseball games feel they are entitled to behave in such a way as to be dangerous to those seated next to them and those playing on the field?
It happens each year and it isn’t confined to any one stadium. Excluding the two ballparks in Canada, the remainder of the Major League clubs have problems with rowdy, drunken fans year after year.
Security officers find themselves in precarious situations at all times. In the average fans eye, the security officer is either lax in his duties or exceeding them too much.
The problem, however, does not lie with the security officers. It’s sad to say its the fan who creates the problem. That’s the reason the security officers are there in the first place.
Granted, most fans know how to have a good time without disturbing anything, but there are those who don’t. They are the ones who stand out – the ones who give the others a bad name.
Fans should be able to drink – within reason – and still maintain a semblance of sanity at games.
At yesterday’s businessman’s special at San Diego Stadium, fans came out to soak up the sun and whatever they had in their coolers. Except for a cup of beer tossed at an umpire for making a questionable call, there were no problems.
Thats the way it should be.
Some fans pick up a ticket to the ballgame and come in the idea that Animal House is being filmed. They believe their ticket entitles them whatever they wish.
Major League baseball is entertainment, much the same as going to a movie or amusement park. The ticket entitles you to admission and a seat to watch the game from. Nothing else.
And what happens when a fan is asked to leave for taking the managements rules beyond the limit? He usually becomes the underdog and the security guards find themselves getting pelted with whatever can be picked up.
And it’s no fun for those sitting around the fiasco. A beer in the face is no way to make friends.
If it’s the game of baseball you’re interested in, then go out to the ballpark and have a good time. If you want to drink yourself into oblivion, then stay at home and find something on the TV you can throw your cooler at.
It may come to the point when baseball games won’t be fun for anyone. Because the rules get tighter as the fans do the same.
Coleman is becoming more and more visible
Umpires’ calls bring San Diego skipper flying out of the dugout
By John Maffei, T-A Sports Editor
SAN DIEGO – Jerry Coleman is becoming much more visible these days. T
he manager of the San Diego Padres would much rather stay in the background. But in the last two games at San Diego Stadium poor umpiring decisions have brought the normally mild-mannered Padre skipper flying out of the dugout.
In Wednesday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies, at least three Padre hitters loudly expressed their dissatisfaction with the ball and strike calls of home plate umpire Ed Montague.
At one point, Coleman had to race onto the field to rescue soft-spoken shortstop Ozzie Smith from Montague’s incurring wrath and being tossed out of the game.
Coleman, however, soft-peddled Wednesdays eruptions by saying, “Players argue about balls and strikes all the time. You tend to argue more when you’re losing or having a bad year – and were having both.”
But Coleman changed his tune a little bit when questioned about the umpiring in yesterday’s Padre win over the Philles. This was a game in which San Diego rookie pitcher Juan Eichelberger clearly picked Philadelphia’s Bake McBride off first base in the first inning, but the Phillie player was called safe. It was also a game in which Dave Winfield of the Padres was safe on a steal of second base, but was called out by an old Padre nemesis, Dave Pallone.
Television replays of the calls in question clearly showed the umpires Satch Davidson at first and Pallone at second made bad calls.
“Eichelberger got McBride at least once,” Coleman said, “but on the other hand, the umps could have called Juan for a balk. He has a great move to first, but it borders on a balk.
“On the Winfield play, the throw beat him to second, but Dave slid around the tag. I thought he was safe. The umpire didn’t.”
But the play that really incurred the ire of the 16,712 fans in attendance at yesterdays game and Coleman took place in the fifth inning.
On the play in question, Gene Richards of the Padres beat out an infield chopper to third, but was across the bag and far down the first base line before realizing that third baseman Mike Schmidt had thrown the ball past first baseman Pete Rose.
At that point, Richards made an exaggerated move towards second, but thought better of it and decided to stroll casually back to first. The always-hustling Rose retrieved the errant toss, raced towards Richards and tagged the Padre player out. Davidson agreed with Roses assessment of the situation and a rhubarb ensued, complete with Coleman going nose-to-nose with Davidson.
Rule 7.08 states that a runner is out when “he fails to return at once to first base after overrunning or oversliding that base. If he at tempts to run to second he is out when tagged.”
Clearly, in Davidson’s judgement, Richards had made a break to second base and thus was libel to be put out.
Coleman did not like Davidsons’s explanation of the play, however. The umpire told the Padre skipper that Dick Phillips (the Padre first base coach) was yelling for Richards to go and that is why the call was made.
After that play, Davidson turned towards the stands and appeared to be taunting the fans. Davidson’s actions and a play in the eighth inning served to further stir things up.
Philadelphia pinch-hitter Del Unser hit what appeared to be a doubleplay ball. Padre first sacker Willie Montanez fielded the ball, fired to Smith at second for one and then took the return throw at first to complete the twinkilling Davidson, however, called Unser safe on a bang-bang play. The already vocal fans behind the first base dugout became incensed and a cup of beer came flying out of the stands in the direction of Davidson.
The umpires then pointed to the public address booth, asking P.A. man John DeMott to make an announcement about throwing objects on the field. DeMott softpeddled the incident, choosing to take a casual approach to the situation over the P.A. That only served to further anger the umpires. After the announcement, Davidson and homeplate umpire Ed Vargo glared up at DeMotts booth.
Vargo then directed DeMott to announce that if any other objects were thrown on the field, the Padres would forfeit the game (A shower of paper cups immediately ensued from the Philadelphia dugout).
"Those guys were madder than wet hens,” Coleman said after the game. “When Vargo came into the dugout, he didn’t say the game could be forfeited or might be forfeited. He said the game “WILL” be forfeited if another object comes down on the field.
“I’m glad that no one threw anything after that because Davidson and Vargo were just mad enough to forfeit the game. They were also pretty upset at The Chicken (Ted Giannouias). They thought Ted was inciting the crowd and they told him to get the hell off the field and get off fast.”
DeMott, who has been doing the P.A. at San Diego Stadium for the past 11 years, seemed a little shaken by his role in the incident.
“I understand the umpires are putting me in the game report because they think I tried to show them up,” DeMott said. “Well, that’s a lot of bunk. I made the announcement not to throw things on the field in the same manner I’ve done it for the past 11 years.
“I don't antagonize hot, drunk fans. I tried to make light of the situation and the umps got mad at me. Hey, I’m sorry about that, but that’s the way I handle it.”
The umpires didn’t handle the game nearly as well as Demott.