Philadelphia Daily News - May 5, 1980

Lasorda Savors Vet Victory

 

By Tom Cushman

 

In the calm before the game. Tommy Lasorda strolled the ground near the stands with friends and relatives, pausing to sign autographs for admirers who leaned out of the box seats, exchanging views with journalists on the state of baseball and other issues vital to the economy. Looking out over a lawn that was free of dandelions, how was Tommy to know that as the afternoon progressed weeds would appear, and reproduce.

 

Meanwhile, in the Los Angeles clubhouse. Coach Monty Basgall was busy filling out the Dodgers' lineup, in two versions. Monty later tacked one to the wall of the dugout, Don Sutton delivered the other to the umpires at home plate, and the fun began.

 

Nearly four hours later. Tommy Lasorda was invited to describe what it was that he had just witnessed.

 

"EXCITING BASEBALL," Tommy replied, thereby offering an abridged version of an opinion made semi-public during the Phillies' half of the eighth inning.

 

It perhaps should be pointed out here that there is, at large in the land, a remarkable recording of a Lasorda interview taped following a game in Chicago a couple years ago. Tommy was asked to comment on the performance of Dave Kingman, whose work that afternoon kept turning up on the radar screens at O'Hara.

 

The text of Lasorda's reply has never appeared in your daily newspaper for practical reasons... editing reduces the printable content from around 800 words to approximately four.

 

Still, there were those in the press box yesterday who sensed that an oration of comparable eloquence might have been inspired when John Vukovich smashed a single to center off Steve Howe. The Dodgers, who had led 9-0 in the sixth, were tied 9-9 in the eighth by the two runs driven home by Vukovich, whose last regular season hit had come in 1979.

 

As the Vukovich single caromed off the turf in center, the roof of the Los Angeles dugout seemed to rise ever so slightly, propelled we assumed by an enormous discharge of carbon dioxide.

 

"ITS AMAZING," Lasorda said, when later reminded of that moment. "You're sitting there on a beautiful afternoon, feeling good, ahead 9-0, with a pitcher (Dave Goltz) working on his third straight shutout. Then suddenly you look up and you've used everybody in the bullpen."

 

Unfortunately, we were denied a more profound, and descriptive, analysis of the matter, because the Dodgers scored three in top of the ninth and won, 12-10, causing Tommy to feel good again. "There should be a law against things like that happening to managers," he pointed out.

 

Granted, as long as we are allowed to add that there are days when there also should be a law against managers happening to ball games. We will leave the discussion of Dallas Green's contributions to those who are more familiar with his daily routine, those who were fighting in the press box yesterday.

 

As for Tommy Lasorda, he thought he knew his lineup. "Monte handles that for us," Tommy said, "and that's why they have erasers on pencils. People make mistakes.

 

"The card in the dugout was right, but the one presented to the umpire Monte had written down incorrectly. It had Baker hitting ahead of Cey, which he usually does."

 

BAKER HIT AHEAD of Cey with one out in the first inning, a run home, bounced to short, would have been erased in a double play had not Luis Aguayo dallied with the relay, and instead reached first on a fielder's choice, Rudy Law scoring the second run from third on the play.

 

"When I got to first, Pete Rose said, 'You hit out of order'," Dusty Baker recalled.

 

"I said, 'Man, you're crazy'."

 

Pete was right, though, and when the Phillies called the matter to the attention of the umpires we learned something more about the proficiency of the last of the baseball order to go on strike.

 

The umpire crew gathered between the mound and first base, gesturing, shrugging, but offering no opinion while the game sat there waiting to continue. John McSherry eventually left the huddle and disappeared beneath the stands... probably, we figured, in search of a bridge table.

 

"They had to go in and figure out what the rule was," said Tommy Lasorda.

 

WHEN JUDGMENT was finalized some 20 minutes later, Ron Cey had become the second out for not batting, the Dodgers' second run was canceled, Rudy Law returned to third, Steve Garvey to first, and Dusty Baker to the plate for his regular turn, not having represented Ron Cey in memorable fashion.

 

"I told everybody in the dugout exactly what the rule is," said Law, who had been hit in the skull with a Bob Boone throw while stealing second earlier inthe inning, and was to later leave the game because of dizzyness and headaches. "I also told Tommy, 'So, it costs us a run. It won't make any difference, because Dusty is getting ready to hit a three run homer.'

 

"I call things like this quite frequently," Rudy explained.

 

So Dusty hit one, the first of two. "It was a matter of different situations," Dusty Baker said. "Randy needed a double play when I batted the first time and he pitched my outside. The second time, with two outs because of the lineup screwup, all he needed was an out. He came inside, where he usually pitches me. 1 didn't hit it that good."

 

THE BALL FLEW OFF the backdrop in the Philllies' bullpen area, and the game never fully recovered. The box score will include several items you are more accustomed to seeing at Little League practices.

 

"If you think it looked bad out there, you should have seen it on television in here," said Don Sutton, who had retreated before the final shellings.

 

"It was the strangest game I was ever involved in," Dusty Baker admitted. "It's a wonder somebody didn't really get hurt."

 

Dusty had a close call in ihe third when Reggie Smith, having been forced at second, bounced his batting helmet off Baker's ankle. Dusty came up limping.

 

"Everybody in the dugout was laughing," he recalled. "They said I had a real mean look on my face until I saw who had thrown it. Then I became pleasant again. What made it hurt so bad was that he slammed it right into my corn."

 

Tommy Lasorda, with a nine-run lead, not having won in Veterans Stadium since the fall of 1978, with a bullpen he calls one of the nation's finest, nevertheless sat mesmerized while the Phillies scored six times off starter Dave Goltz in the sixth and seventh innings. It was a marvelous example of how to recover excitement from a rout.

 

THE WRITERS, in fact, were just beginning to lean back and enjoy the Sixer-Lakers game on ihe press box monitor when the Phillies began their rally in the sixth. John Vukovich's game-tying single was especially ill-placed, causing us to miss the half-time score.

 

Later, after having directed his team past the more obvious perils, Tommy Lasorda sat in his office, wearing a T-shirt bearing the words, "Non Mi Dari Nienti Mongiari".

 

"I have shirts with the same message in five different languages," Tommy pointed out. "It means, "Don't give the manager anything to eat.' Not that I could eat after a game like this."

 

Out in the clubhouse Dusty Baker was closing his explanation of the afternoon's proceedings.

 

"I don’t know what else to tell you. fellows," he said, "except that it made me hungry."

Phils Lose It on Rollercoaster

 

By Bill Conlin

 

The first 5½ innings were unintentionally disreputable, like the office teetotaler who wakes up in a strange bed the morning after the Christmas party wearing a brain tumor hangover and a pair of pantyhose.

 

Tommy Lasorda, who has been writing the same basic names on his lineup card since Don Rickles was a second banana, posted a different one in the dugout than the one he handed plate umpire Paul Pryor.

 

Don't all 12-10 Phillies' losses start that way?

 

The game was already walking lopsided in the top of the first when Dusty Baker batted out of turn, an act which caused so mutnch confusion you wonder how major league baseball has survived so many years with rules so few people understand. Anyway, the Dodgers had one out, a run home and runners on first and third when Baker went up and hit into an RBI force. Cey was the scheduled hitter on the official lineup card. Bobby Wine keeps track of such things for the Phillies and as soon as Steve Garvey was forced at second. Dallas Green pointed out the foulup.

 

IT SHOULD HAVE been cut and dried – Cey is out. Garvey goes back to first. Rudy Law back to third. The run doesn't count and Baker is the hitter again, this time legally. But the examples in the rule book don't cover that specific situation. Green insisted that he was entitled to the force at second in addition to the penalty out on Cey. Crew chief Billy Williams sent first-base umpire John McSherry to the umpires' room for a rule book. After a 15-minute delay. Green announced he was playing tne game under protest.

 

Baker. of course, hit Randy Lerch's first pitch for a three-run homer.

 

It was all downhill, uphill and downhill from there.

 

Reggie Smith reached first base in the third by striking out on a wild pitch. Derrell Thomas, who went from second to third on ihe play, scored when Bob Boone's pickoff throw sailed into right field. In the same inning, Baker was on deck when Reggie Smith ran off the field after being forced at second. Smith fris-beed his helmet toward the on-deck circle, it caromed off the leftfielder's left shin and Dusty limped to the dugout for repairs.

 

Green, down to 23 healthy players when Luis Aguayo was forced to leave the game with a hip injury, let Lerch hit for himself in the fifth. So much for conservation. Cey doubled, Baker fired another two-run homer, Scott Munninghoff put three straight hitters on base and by the time Ron Reed shut the Dodgers down, the Phillies trailed Steve Goltz, 9-0.

 

SINCE GOLTZ HAD not allowed a run in 23 consecutive innings it seemed reasonable to assume that the one-sided affair was history.

 

So much for the tame segment of the game.

 

"All along I felt we were going to score runs off him," Green said. "I was working like hell to hold the score down but I couldn't do it."

 

With one out in the sixth, Del Unser, in center for the injured Garry Maddox, singled to right. No big deal. And there wasn't rnuch celebrating when Mike Schmidt ended Goltz' scoreless streak at 23 with a double to left The sun-washed crowd of 34.027 got into it. however, when Greg Luzinski and Bob Boone slammed back-to-back homers off the logo-festooned backdrop in left-center.

 

Lasorda must be a better manager than he is when his team plays at the Vet. Maybe not. Whatever, third baseman Mickey Hatcher put Goltz in deep trouble when he threw Pete Rose's one-out hopper 10 feet over Garvey's head. Bake McBride made it 9-5 with a single to right. The manager finally trundled to the mound when Unser bounced a triple off the center-field fence.

 

His selection was Charley Hough, a knuckleballer who had no shot in a wind that sent little tornadoes of dust spiraling back and forth across the plate. Mike Schmidt made it 9-7 with a sacrifice fly. Lasorda realized his mistake when Luzinski struck out and wound up on first after Steve Yeager came up with a gloveful of air. Bob Boone walked and Hough hit Larry Bowa to load the bases. Exit knuckleballer. Rookie lefthander Steve Howe got Ramon Aviles on a fly to center.

 

THE PHILLIES COMPLETED their long, gallant comeback with two runs in the eighth, runs set up by the brilliant base-running of Pete Rose and Bake McBride. Rose, angry over the umpiring of Paul Pryor, walked and belly-flopped into third on McBride 's single to left. Bake took the extra base with a dusty slide of his own. John Vukovich hit for Kevin Saucier and banged a two-run single to center.

 

The game continued to reel drunkenly. however. All Green could do was hide the car keys and hope Dickie Noles continued his scoreless inning streak.

 

Youth will be served, the saying goes. In the Dodger ninth, it was exposed somewhat.

 

Thomas led it off with a single to right and Noles was in deep trouble when Gary Thomasson lined a single to left. Garvey stroked a liner to center and Lonnie Smith broke back instead of in. He missed a shoestring attempt on a ball he should have caught and the bases were loaded with one out.

 

Things got worse when an inside pitch to Hatcher got away from rookie catcher Keith Moreland. Keith fielded a deep carom, but Noles was a little late covering the plate and Moreland tried to get Thomas with a leaping tag up the line. He missed. Two more runs scored when Hatcher rammed a double past Mike Schmidt with the infield up.

 

It is to the Phillies' credit that they scored a ninth-inning run off Jerry Reuss and had the tying run at bat when the lefthander struck out Moreland to end 3:22 of baseball madness.

 

"That was a fun game to play in," Rose grinned afterwards. "You don't like to lose after coming back from down 9-zip. But that was the kind of game a ballplayer would pay to watch."

 

LUZINSKI CONCURRED. The Bull chose to view the loss as a harbinger of better things to come.

 

"If the Dodgers lose a game like that, now they go out of here with nine straight losses to us in our park," he said. "From a team aspect, other teams who see us coming back from down by nine have gotta say, 'They can come back.' We did that here the three years we won the division and it became an intimidation factor. We kind of let it be known that we were never out of a game at the Vet.

 

"I think we showed in this series we can put some numbers on the board against good pitching. It's a matter of coordinating our pitching and offense. We've got to pick up when our pitchers are scuffling and they've got to hold 'em like they did in New York when the offense is shut down."

 

The Phillies scored 26 runs in the series and got good pitching from Dick Ruthven and Larry Christenson. But Garry Maddox is out for at least a week with a severely sprained ankle and Aguayo is on a game-to-game basis.

 

That's a different problem, though. The question today is, who spiked the punch? And who belongs to these pantyhose?

 

PHILUPS: Dallas Green says umps were split 2-2 on first-inning batting order foulup. "Two saw it my way," he said. "I'm sure by the time the protest is heard, they'll all be agreed they handled it right." Retired Inquirer baseball writer Allen Lewis, a long-time member of the Rules Committee, heard the game at poolside in Clearwater, ran upstairs in case anybody called from the press box. Somebody did. Lewis said the umpires handled the play properly, but admitted the rule is vaguely worded... Unhappy Braves, who killed the Phils at the Vet last season, come in tonight. Rick Matula vs. Steve Carlton, who is gunning for his fifth win.

Bull’s Double Worth $50

 

There were eight winners over the weekend in the Daily News Home Run Payoff. In yesterday's fourth inning, M.R. Turner of Chester won $50 plus four tickets on a Greg Luzinski double. Robert Szymkowiak of Philadelphia, Vince Alkis of Beverly, N.J., Tricia Williams of Bellmawr, N.J., and Carl Nedro Sr. of Atlantic City all won tickets.

 

In Saturday's sixth inning, George A. Huff of Paulsboro, N.J., Diane Calabrese of Turnersville, N.J. and A. Delvecchio of Glenolden each won tickets.

 

 

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