Allentown Morning Call - May 20, 1980

Phils take two free runs, and 6-4 win


By Jack McCallum, Call Sports Writer


PHILADELPHIA – Rick Auerbach, not to be confused with Red and certainly not to be confused with Dave Concepcion. offered the Phillies two free, no-strings-attached runs last night and the Phils took them. And they also took a 6-4 victory. 


Unfortunately for. the Phils, the win (their fifth in their last seven starts) still left them 2½ games behind the Pirates with just two games left in the season. Darn it. Another division title for the Bucs. 


But that is another matter and it won't be settled until midnight on Thursday. There is still the matter of why major leaguers, even those who play rarely, make the kind of plays that Auerbach, substituting for Golden Glove shortstop Concepcion (sore right leg) made last night.


Auerbach 's first fielding gem occurred in the third inning after singles by Manny Trillo and winning pitcher Steve Carlton put runners on the corners. Pete Rose's single to center scored Trillo to make it 1-0 and Bake McBride followed with a single to left. 


Carlton, a graduate of the Energy-Saving School of Baserunning, ambled around third and thought, "What the heck, I may as well try it," and started home. Auerbach took the relay from George Foster but never even looked at Carlton though he could've had him by yards with any kind of throw. 


Auerbach 's second defensive lapse lost the game for the Reds and Frank Pastore, one of the best young pitchers in the game. With the Reds leading 4-2 in the seventh, Manny Trillo doubled with two out and scored on pinch-hitter Del Unser's double to make it 4-3. (Unser is now 4-for-8 as a pincher.) Rose, who is 7-for-13 in his last three games to raise his average to .269, then singled to score Unser to tie the game at 4-4. 


With a 3-2 count to the next hitter, McBride, Rose was of course running on the pitch and McBride bounced a certified artificial-turf hit to right. Rose never stopped running, and Auerbach, after taking the throw from rightfielder Ken Griffey, never thought about him. He finally threw home but Rose was already trotting to the dugout on the best 39-year-old pair of legs in captivity. 


"Griffey can't be thinking I'm going home on that play," said Rose. "And. Auerbach. I guess, couldn't hear everybody shouting home because of the noise. Look, I didn't outthink anybody on the play or try to show anybody up. It was just the kind of play where everything came together." 


The word is instinct. Certainly, it wasn't a matter of communication between Rose and third base coach Lee Elia.


"Lee?" asked Rose. "I didn't even know he was there. It's his job to get me to third. It's up to me after that.”


Greg Luzinski got the Phils an insurance run in the eighth with a leadoff home run to right-center off reliever Tom Hume. Bull's eigth homer of the season atoned, sort of, for a miserable performance from the heart of the Phillies' order which failed with men on base in the first and third innings. 


Ron Reed pitched the final two innings and got the save for Carlton. Reed (at last) looked like the overpowering reliever manager Dallas Green thinks he can be. He threw six straight outs, including an eighth-inning strikeout of Johnny Bench. 


Bench's first home run since April 13, however, a towering shot to left-center with Ray Knight (single) on base, gave Cincinnati its first two runs in the fourth. And the Reds scored their final two in the sixth, though Carlton could've gotten out of the inning scoreless with a little luck. 


Shortstop Larry Bowa should've completed a double play to get the first two outs of the inning but didn't, and hits by Auerbach and Pastore the latter of the seeing-eye variety produced the runs that gave Cincy a 4-2 lead. 


Carlton's victory raised his record to 7-2; he and the Yankees' Tommy John are the only seven-game winners in the majors. He didn't pitch that well in his seven innings, though he was overpowering at times and struck out nine to bring his strikeout total to 61.

Game was saved once, no guarantee this time


By Jack McCallum, Call Sports Writer


PHILADELPHIA – Pete Rose says the game of baseball was saved once, but there's no guarantee it will happen again. 


"After 1972 (the year that a players' strike erased the first couple weeks of the season) it took a while before baseball came back, right?" asked a glum Rose rhetorically from the Phillies' dugout before last night's game against Cincinnati. "Didn't we revive baseball in 1975? What would've happened without that Series?" 


It's anyone's guess. Rose was referring to the Cincinnati-Boston World Series (won by the Reds, for whom Rose then played, in seven games) that many say was the most exciting and dramatic ever played… at least since the all-important advent of television. And the figures bear him out.


For the three seasons following the strike – 72-75 – attendance in both leagues either went down or virtually stood still. It was during that period that peans to the death of baseball became as popular as articles on dieting. But the year after the '75 Series, attendance rose by 60,000 in the National League and by an astonishing 1.5 million in the American League. (And this was not the result of the Toronto Seattle expansion which didn't come along until 1977.) And attendance has been increasing steadily ever since. 


"I've seen no guarantee that the game will come out of it this time," said Rose. "Yep, I am really worried for the game of baseball." 


No one doubts Rose's sincerity on that point. And he is certainly more worried for the game itself than for himself personally. Without even mentioning his investments and the many and varied ways his money is out there being bullish for Pete Rose, it was written recently that Rose will actually be PAID during the strike. 


"You'll have to call my lawyer about that," said Rose when the question was raised about Furman Bisher's report in The Atlanta Constitution. "Tell you the truth, I don't know all the bottom lines and things in my contract." 


Tell you the truth, that's not the truth. Rose knows every nook and cranny of his contract which is no more complicated than, say, the theory of relativity. But it's also true that no one will deny Rose, if anyone, would play for nothing. 


"You know what I'd like to see?" asked Rose after realizing his denial needs some reinforcement. "I'd like to see a sheet put in the dugout before each game with a player's salary. And if a player plays, he gets one-one hundred and sixty-second of that salary. If he doesn't play, he doesn't get it. Then we'd see who plays this game for money and who doesn't." 


If there is one thing Rose knows better than his contract it's his personal statistics. You could force-feed him sleeping pills, then wake him up in the middle of the night, and he could tell you he needs just two doubles to catch Hank Aaron for sixth place on the all-time list and just 33 at-bats to catch Stan Musial for third place on the all-time list (last night's figures). He must, therefore, be dreading the loss of those stats during the strike. 


"You may not believe this, but I'm really not thinking about myself," said Rose. "With baseball in the danger that it's in. you can't put personal goals ahead of the game. With a long strike, I probably won't get 600 at-bats he is the all-time record-holder in that department with 15 straight seasons) and I pretty much gear everything by that. But that's not my big concern. My big concern is the game." 


"I wish I knew as much about it as Bob Boone the Phillies' player representative) but I don't," said Rose. "All I know is that I was in Cincinnati when the firemen went on strike, when the policemen went on strike, when the damn plumbers went on strike and they sat there and talked it out till it was solved. Now why can't we do the same thing?" 


"I'm not going on a damn vacation. You know what I ll probably do? I'll probably find one of those batting machines you put a quarter in and work on my hitting.” 


He thought a minute about that. 


"Huh, the way I like to hit, it'd probably be cheaper for me to buy one of the damn things.”

There’s a good bit of irony in Dave Kingman, sports writer


By John Kunda, Executive Sports Editor


Dave Kingman is a once-a-week sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune. 


No big deal – we've had athletes-turned writers by the dozens in recent years. 


For example, Chuck Bednarik was a hit with his pro football column in a Camden paper; Darryl Dawkins did a basketball column for a Philadelphia paper, and closer to home, we've had Al Loquasto do a special for our papers during last year's Indianapolis 500, and, for 13 years, Elmer Valo wrote on the World Series. 


But there is a good bit of irony in Dave Kingman, the sports writer. The Cubs' home run hitter has been at odds with the Chicago writers. Suddenly, he is one of them. 


What has happened in Chicago is that the Kingman-writers war is now being aired in print. It's Kingman rapping the writers one week, and the writers rapping Kingman the next. 


The Chicago press feels that Kingman, as a writer, is a foul ball. Kingman's attitude toward the Chicago press is much the same.


Kingman says (and this will tell you what the war is all about) he started writing because "I soon began playing with the idea of what it would be like getting quoted accurately for a change… most of my fans undoubtedly realize that I'm extremely apprehensive in regards to interviews and quotes given to the press since they invariably turn out slightly different than originally presented." 


Kingman's Sunday column is called, "Talk Baseball With Dave Kingman." The Chicago writers find this very amusing. Kingman doesn't talk baseball (or anything, for that matter) with them. 


To show just how welcome Kingman is as a writer, here's what David Israel, Kingman's colleague on the sports page of the Tribune, wrote recently: 


"Kingman is not wanted. He does not belong here. He acts as if he feels he does not belong anywhere. Unless someone can prove that Kingman got lost on the way home from nursery school one afternoon and wound up playing major league baseball, he has run out of acceptable excuses for his boorish, childish behavior." 


With it all, reader response to Kingman's articles have been overwhelming. Of all the mail the Tribune received (the paper says it got over 10,000 letters), 99 percent have been pro-Kingman. 


Nobody ever said the public likes sports writers. 


There is a good deal of "cheerleading" in Kingman's articles. You get to expect that from athletes. Kingman, who makes $225,000 a year with the Cubs, certainly isn't going to knock the organization. He isn't about to put the rap on the players he eats and sleeps with, either. 


Kingman supposedly picks up $200 a column. 


A good part of each column is devoted to answering questions from his readers. He asked for letters and said he would present his "thinking on any subject relating to our national pastime." 


However, the questions that he has received (the ones he answered, anyway) are very basic. For instance: 


In what order do players take batting practice? What does a team do during a rain delay? What do AB and RBI mean? Do the flags on the Wrigley Field scoreboard have any significance? 


Those questions sound like they came from Mrs. Smith's third graders. 


Kingman's readers on May 4 got this insight on the possible baseball strike: 


"Yes, there's a dark cloud hanging in the air due to the impending baseball strike, but the Cubbies continue to play great baseball and hopefully for the Chicago fans (Cubs and Sox the owners and the players can put their heads together and possibly come up with a solution." 




The strike "report" didn't end there. Kingman got this lick in. "If there is a strike it will be interesting to see what type of 'creativity' the baseball writers can come up with to fill the void." 




You might wonder what Kingman will do to fill the void. The writers? I guess there are other things besides baseball.