Philadelphia Daily News - October 1, 1980
Bystrom Ices Another One
By Ray Didinger
He dresses in a clubhouse where the tension is so thick, you need a machete to chop your way to the shower. He is pitching in a pennant race that is so tight, you can get a rash just looking at the standings.
He is only 22 years old, an age when most kids aren't trusted with the family car, and here's Dallas Green tossing him the keys to the Phillies' grumpy bandwagon. He should be nervous. He should be in awe or something.
Nah, that's not Marty Bystrom's style. Marty is so cool, he looks like he has been chisled out of ice. He hasn't been in town long enough to unpack his suitcase and already he has won five games. Give him a month and they'll be dedicating a plaque in his honor at City Hall.
The Phillies are going for a pennant and, at the moment, their two best pitchers are Cy Young and Cy Younger. Steve Carlton, as we all know, leads the National League in victories (23) and strikeouts (176). But, right now, Marty Bystrom is winning most of the big games.
LAST NIGHT, ON an evening when Larry Bowa engaged in a gesturing war with the Philadelphia fans, an evening when the Montreal Expos kept the heat on by beating St. Louis, Bystrom calmly steered the Phillies past the Chicago Cubs, 14-2.
Marty pitched seven innings, allowing just four hits and two runs. He had a no-hitter until Steve Dillard singled with one out in the fifth. Afterward, Bystrom told interviewers he didn't have particularly good stuff.
"My control was off," Bystrom said apologetically. "I was behind in the count too much."
The media guide claims Marty Bystrom came to the Phillies from their farm club in Oklahoma City but there are those who insist he stepped from a UFO in Ruly Carpenter's backyard. I mean, no kid who was pitching Class A ball just two years ago is supposed to do what Bystrom is doing now.
"HOW GOOD IS Marty?" Manager Dallas Green said. "I believe he could have been a 15-to 18-game winner for us (this year) if he hadn't gotten hurt in spring training. I had no doubt that once he got in shape he could make a significant contribution to our club.
"Pressure doesn't bother Marty. He has that look in his eye, a look of confidence. He had it the night he went out to pitch against the Mets (his major league debut, a 5-0 shutout). I don't even have to look for it now. I know it's there."
Marty Bystrom has that look, all right. He has the look that would make you afraid to drag race him across a one-lane bridge, the look that would make you afraid to raise him in a poker game. Marty knows he's gonna wind up raking in the chips.
"I've always had pretty good composure," Bystrom said, after lowering his Phillies earned run average to a stunning 1.50. "It was coached into me from the time I first started playing. If you're a pitcher, you can't afford to let things upset you. You have to be in control at all times.
"IF I GET a tough break, a couple hits, an error, I don't let it affect me. I get hissed off but I keep it inside. Like tonight, the home plate umpire (Joe West) wasn't giving me some (strike) calls. I was mad but I didn't try to show him up because I knew he'd bury me, me being a young pitcher and all.
"I just stayed cool," Bystrom said. "Keith (Moreland, catcher) said a few things to him but I stayed out of it. Really, a pitcher should only be thinking about one thing and that's making good pitches."
Bystrom ran into only one jam and that came in the fifth inning. With one out, Dillard picked up the Cubs' first hit, a single to left. Catcher Mike O'Berry followed with another single. Bystrom then, inexplicably, walked losing pitcher Lynn McGlothen on four pitches.
That loaded the bases and Ivan DeJesus followed with an RBI single to center. The Phillies were leading the game, 7-1, but Bystrom was suddenly hanging on the ropes of his first major league no-decision. He needed two more outs to qualify for the win and, off in the distance, he could see the bullpen springing to life.
"I gave myself a little pep talk," the 6-5, 205-pound pitcher said. "I decided I was gonna go right after them with my best stuff. I wasn't gonna worry about the (umpire's) calls. I was just gonna throw hard."
BYSTROM FANNED Mike Tyson for the second out, then jammed Bill Buckner, the National League's third leading hitter (.322) with a crackling, two-strike fastball. Buckner popped weakly to Moreland and Bystrom was out of the inning.
It is no secret Dallas Green wants to find a way to slip Bystrom on his roster for the National League playoffs and World Series, should the Phillies make it that far. It would necessitate bumping another pitcher off the roster and onto the disabled list, a trick that may be easier said than done.
The Phillies would have to prove to league officials that the pitcher they are removing truly has a disabling injury. Notes from the team doctor will not do. Slamming the training room door on an unsuspecting elbow is also discouraged. It is a ticklish matter but Bystrom is hoping something can be worked out.
"I think I deserve a chance to pitch in the playoffs," Bystrom said. "1 think I've earned it. It's something I've always dreamed about, it's something many players never get a chance to do. So if we win this (division), I want to be in there.
"If it doesn't work out... well, I'll just go home (to Miami) and watch it on television."
Green says he would have no misgivings about tossing Bystrom right into the post-season spotlight. In fact, Marty would surely be one of the Phillies' four starting pitchers. Isn't there a chance he'll go into shock with all that red, white and blue bunting hanging around the park, all those celebrities in the audience?
"MARTY MIGHT GET a few butterflies, the same as the rest of us," Green said, "but he wouldn't clutch (choke) on it. Really, these games are almost playoff games.
"Everytime he has started for us, we've either been a half-game or game behind (Montreal). We've been in a must-win situation ane he's come through. You can't do much better than 5-0."
"I didn't really think I'd be 5-0 at this point.' Bystrom said, shrugging his way through his regular post-game press conference. "I didn't think I'd do as well as I'm doing. Not that I didn't have confidence in myself but I guess I didn't think I'd be this big a part of things.
"I'm happy, though. I wouldn't want it any other way. My parents are getting a bigger kick out of it than I am. They get to see the games on cable (TV) down in Florida. I call them ever night after I pitch, just to check in. My father, he's been behind me ever since 1 started in the Little League.
"He and my mother came up when I started against St. Louis here Sunday. They were here for two days. They were really pleased, seeing me pitch in this (major league) setting. I don't think it was my father's biggest thrill, ihough.
"He was there the night I pitched my perfect game in "A" ball (Peninsula). That was the highlight, for both of us."
Stay tuned, Mr. Bystrom. The best may be yet to come.
Green, Phils on Attack
By Bill Conlin
I had a dream last night...
That Larry Bowa was holding court in his locker stall, surrounded by so many writers you had to stand on Mike Schmidt's chair to see him. It was just like the old days – guys came away with crisp, intelligent quotes, terrific inside-baseball stuff and at least one outrageous trade rumor.
I had a dream last night...
That Larry Bowa called a press conference and said he and Dallas Green sat down and ironed everything out, that all he wanted to do now was come away from this season wearing a World Series ring. "I realize now that you guys had nothing to do with that drug story at the All-Star break," he said. "I'll be the first one at my locker after the game ready to talk, win or lose just like always."
I had a dream last night...
That it was the dregs of the 1981 season and Larry Bowa was standing by his locker peeling off a Cleveland or Texas uniform. Only a handful of writers were poking through the ashes of another defeat. None bothered to approach the veteran shortstop.
I had a dream last night...
That men in white coats crept behind Bowa with a large net and dropped it over him as he prepared to field a grounder to short.
I had a dream last night...
That the Phillies pounded the Cubs, 14-2, and Bowa bobbed and weaved defiantly through a gauntlet of boos thrown down by 24,349 fans, went 2-for-3, drove in a run, scampered home from third on a wild pitch and made a super play on a line drive by Dave Kingman. Anybody who was there had to go home echoing what Danny Ozark once said about him: "The little rat might have a million things on his mind, but when he's out there he plays the hell out of the game."
OH, THAT REALLY happened? It wasn't a dream?
The focus last night should have been on the great race, the sizzling division fight which is going down to the wire in Montreal this weekend like a mile run between Coe and Ovett. But this is Philly, where every main event must be accompanied by at least one sideshow. Hey, it's in the City Charter.
The focus should have been on another tremendous pitching performance by rookie righthander Marty Bystrom, now 5-0, who left in the seventh breezing with a 10-2 lead.
It should have been on the long-awaited offensive breakout, Keith Moreland's two-RBI double in the first, three singles, three runs scored and a stolen base by Lonnie Smith, three more RBI by Bake McBride, who is closing in on 90, two RBI by Mike Schmidt, who matched his career high of 116. But noooooooo!
This crowd had one collective eye on the shortstop and the other on the pennant race. The eye reserved for the shortstop had blood in it. The night before, Bowa was screaming that the fans here are the worst in baseball, front-runners like the town's writers. He flashed an Italian salute as he left the field. You can punch a writer here and rate a standing ovation and second-guess a manager with impunity. But tell a Philadelphia fan he's a front-runner and you'd have less chance of getting clawed milking a panther. I mean, how do you front-run in a town which claims two National League pennants in a century which is four-fifths shot?
THE ATHLETES haven't set up barbed-wire barricades in the clubhouse yet. but it's getting close to that. It's the only clubhouse in baseball with wall-to-wall permafrost.
Inside his office bunker, Dallas Green was sticking to his guns, apologizing to nobody, including the owner, Ruly Carpenter, who had to have some pertinent questions after Monday night's stunning post-game developments.
"Hey. I'm gonna do it my way or I'm not gonna do it," the manager said after the Phillies ran their record on the final homestand to 5-2 and stayed a half-game behind the victorious Expos. "Ruly asked me 77 questions today and I answered 76 of them satisfactorily. I told him I don't think he understands totally what was going on down here."
Green performed a biopsy on a small but potentially deadly tumor that has been festering for years. On Monday night he pronounced it malignant and said it will have to be cut out before it spreads through the nucleus of talented youngsters who have been so much a part of the season, who helped the ballclub put on such a pleasing show last night.
Somebody wondered what the clubhouse atmosphere was like yesterday afternoon when the players arrived at the Vet and had a chance to catch up on their reading.
"RESERVED," Green said. "They were waiting to see what I was gonna do and I didn't do a damn thing different. I could care less."
The manager would like one thing understood by friend and foe alike, by media, fans and players. He's not dealing with a widespread palace revolt; rather, with a small but highly visible and influential minority who make it difficult for all the oars to hit the water together. He would also like it understood that it's not something which came up overnight. It is a product of years of benign neglect and paternalism at both the field and executive level, of habits so deeply ingrained that the best way to solve the problem at this late date is to exile it.
"It's a 90-10 thing for the good guys," Green said. "I'll make every effort that Paul Owens knows about the 10 percent. And I didn't say all of the 10 percent are every-day players."
He says he isn't worried about the bad seeds taking root at the rookie end of the clubhouse. "It won't happen," Dallas said. "They won't be around long enough."
Would he care to identify the 3.7 guys who would represent a 10-percent share of the Phillies' expanded 37-player roster?
"I won't answer that question," he said.
BUT HE IS concerned about the "Bleep you, me first" syndrome possibly contaminating the bumper harvest from a farm system ready to keep the Phillies in contention through the '80s. The peer pressure in a baseball clubhouse is intense.
"Yeah, that's a very big concern," he said, "because of what we're trying to build here – something that promises to keep us winning for a long time."
How much contractual freedom will Green and Owens need to make the subtractions which seem inevitable this winter, win or lose? How will he and The Pope handle the guaranteed contracts. 10-and-5 men, no-cuts and no-trades?
"Most contractual problems can be worked out if the desire is there to do it," Green said. "That's already been proved. It's been a plus for Ruly and a plus for Paul that they've created some freedom of movement."
It was a new ballgame in the front office and clubhouse last spring when the Phillies released relievers Rawly Eastwick and Doug Bird and later said goodbye to free-agent acquisition Lerrin LaGrow, three players who represented close to $1 million in long-term indebtedness.
"It's already one mistake in giving them the money," Green said with a matter-of-factness that will send chills up some spines. "Don't compound it by giving them more. It's the same thing we tell our minor-league people about signing kids. Sometimes the first mistake is drafting a kid. The second mistake is signing him."
MEANWHILE, getting back to the pennant race, Dallas shifted gears from the subject of surgery to the object of winning as easily as Billy Sims cuts in an open field.
"I think we're going to win the thing," he said. "We can't win if the Phillies don't play baseball our way. But we can win by playing to our capabilities, doing all the things we did well tonight. We've played with success on the road for some time now."
The Phillies got sacrifice flies from Schmidt, McBride and Del Unser, who replaced Garry Maddox in center for the second straight night. They got solid, grinding efforts from everybody Green ran out there, including exciting cameo performances from young outfielders Bob Dernier and Orlando Isales.
I had a dream last night...
That it was late Sunday afternoon in Montreal and the sour smell of tossed champagne permeated the visitors' clubhouse in Olympic Stadium. Larry Bowa and Garry Maddox were hauling a laughing, feebly resisting Dallas Green into the shower. And Bowa. emotionally drained and reeking, finally elbowed through the mob of writers waiting around his locker, the old intensity flashing in his eyes. The shortstop grinned and said, "God, this is great; this is what winning's really all about."
I had a dream last night...
Kid Stuff Fun for Phils’ Rookies
By Phil Jasner
Bob Dernier is the greyhound, stealing 147 bases in his last two minor-league seasons. Orlando kales is the 20-year-o!d who already has played six minor-league seasons, signing at 15 off the streets of Nemesio Canales in San Juan.
They are the Kids of Summer, too young to be part of a 162-game schedule in the National League, but old enough and bold enough to be on the Phillies' expanded roster in September and October. In a locker room filled with mistrust, distrust and "Whom Should We Trust?" they are the New Republic.
Both are outfielders, and. between them, they are batting 1.000 in three official at-bats, including two memorable ones in last night's 14-2 blowout of the Chicago Cubs.
Each has a story to tell, telling all you need to know about how much of a pro athlete's journey is fantasy and how much is stark reality.
WAS IT ONLY last winter Dernier was working part-time in a 7-11 in Independence, Mo., helping support his wife and child?
"Sure, there were some people back home who knew I was playing minor-league ball." Bob said, "and I'd hear things like. "Get a real job.'
"That's a little funny, because if this hadn't worked out. I'd probably have gone to Missouri, 'studied journalism. I wanted to be a writer, probably a sportswriter.
"But Cincinnati drafted me in 77. I was finished my two years at Longview JC in Kansas City, but they didn't offer me a contract. They kinda wanted me to go on to Missouri on a half-ride, and other people wanted me to do other things. There must've been 18 different people telling me things, and Bill Kelso the Phillies scout came along and said, 'Here, sign this contract." So I did."
He played at Spartanburg and Helena the first year, then hit .291. scored 102 runs and stole 77 bases at Peninsula. This season, he graduated to Reading and led the Eastern League with 111 runs and 70 steals.
"But I had no idea I was getting called up," he said. "Aug. 25, they called me into the office in Reading, and I thought that meant they had something for me in winter ball.
"MAYBE BECAUSE I never expected it. I feel like a kid on Christmas with the new toy I had always wanted. I just try to stay ready, because most of the time I get in. it's to pinch-run. A night like this, though, that's something I look forward to.
"Again, people see my base-running stats, they assume it's something I've done all my life. But that's not the case. In high school, like most of the guys in this room, I was one of the better hitters, generally hit third or fourth. It wasn't like I was leading off. with a lot of opportunities to run. It's just something that has happened over the years in the minors. At some point. I began to feel confident doing it, then just got better at it."
Even in the heat of a perplexing pennant race. Dernier is emerging as a gem in Dallas Green's busy mind. "An excellent outfielder." the manager said. "Runs like a deer, and – in my opinion – steals a base as good as anyone in our system or even on this roster. Including Lonnie Smith. His bat will determine his progress."
Keep swinging. Bob. "I'm not exactly hitting a slugging 1 000." Dernier said. "I've got two hits, and I haven't ripped either of them. The first came against St. Louis, a semi-liner over the infield. Tonight. I got a walk, then a topper down the third-base line. But I'll take 'em. It makes up for all the line shots I hit right at people the rest of the summer.
“WHAT REALLY counts are the chances you get. I'd rather sit in this locker and be part of hopefully, tell people 1 was part of the Phillies' drive to a pennant, to the World Series."
But isn’t this supposed to be such a grim locker room, full of growling, angry athletes being driven by a tough, demanding manager?
"I know Larry Bowa is having a problem with the writers." Bob said, "that he said some things on his radio shows. But he comes in here today, gets a couple of hits, makes some exciting plays. The fans boo, he doesn't care, he just plays. And he's been nothing but nice to me.
"Then people ask me if it's tough coming up, knowing Garry Maddox is the centerfielder. Tough? Hey, I used to watch Garry on TV, I think he's the best there is. And he's out there before games, showing me things. Tough? Hey, they've made it easy for me.
"THEY BOO LARRY, they're saying Garry has some mistakes recently. They forget what Larry has done over the years, all the balls Garry has run down. I don't know much about what goes on between the players and the writers, I just handle what comes my way.
"I wouldn’t want to judge the media off a game, a single play, a single at-bat. I'd have to see a whole season, know more about the people involved. My approach right now is, don’t worry about yesterday, don't worry about tomorrow. Only today. Right now. A lot of these guys have been in the big leagues a long time, and whatever else you hear, they seem to be handling things OK. I mean, we are in this race."
Now meet Orlando Isales, who made his contribution, a two-run triple in the seventh inning, in his first major-league at-bat.
"We signed two kids so young," recalled Ruben Amaro, the first-base coach and Latin Connection. "Jorge Lebron was 14, Orlando 15. Orlando was a little more worldly, able to acclimate better, faster. That's part of why he's still playing, with a chance to be a big leaguer, and why Jorge isn't.
"Our problem is, he has no more options left, and if we don't keep him next season, we could lose him. But even if he doesn't play here, he could still play in the majors. It was a chance, signing players at 15, but I got to Orlando a day ahead of the Mets and some other teams. From what I see now, I'd take 100 more chances with kids like him."
TWO ON, THE game long since decided, but Isales had a blueprint for his first at-bat.
"You want to look good, you want the manager to think you can play," he said. "I wanted to make contact, I wanted a hit. I got what I wanted.
"When you don't play, you always think you can, but you don't really know, because you've never done it. At Oklahoma City, I hit .262, but didn't know if that was enough to get called up in September. For a while, I was over .270, felt good, but then I struggled.
"Three times I've been to the big-league camp, three times I haven't made it. But maybe I still will. I was 15 when I signed, and it was good for me to do it... I took the bonus money, bought my mother a house.
"She gave me good advice, said it was good for all of us to live better, but that I had to understand baseball wouldn’t be a game for me anymore. It would be my job. I don't know where I'd be if I hadn't signed, maybe still in the neighborhood. But it was the kind of place that makes a kid grow fast, where you learn in a hurry what, the easy ways are, and the hard ways. I did what my mother told me, and I'm glad.
"Now what I'm hoping is, I can come to camp again and make it. I tell myself that, after all they've taught me in six seasons in the minors, maybe they won't let me go so easy. I hope that's true, because I'd like to play here. I hear how the players don’t like the writers, that the writers don’t like the players, but that hasn't happened with me. I just tell the truth, and wait for my chances."
There remains a pennant to be won and decisions to be made down the road. If the Kids of Summer have been listening to Dallas Green lately, they know it's not necessarily a blind alley.
Gullickson Reigns On For Expos
By Wayne Parrish, Special to the Daily News
MONTREAL – The rain, rain went away and Bill Gullickson will pitch another day.
Gullickson, who is slated to start against the Phillies' Steve Carlton in what should be the piece de resistance of the National League East pennant tussle Sunday, survived a 103-minute rain delay and a wicked smash back to the mound as the Expos humbled the St. Louis Cardinals, 7-2, last night.
"I'm not worried about the start," declared the 21-year-old, heat-hurling righthander, who dropped to the mound in obvious pain after being stung by Ken Oberkfell's seventh-inning grounder and hobbled to the clubhouse with 30,759 Olympic Stadium fans thinking "Never on Sunday."
The ball caught Gullickson on the right leg in the fleshy area just above the knee but the diagnosis was a severe bruise and the prognosis that he should be recovered sufficiently to pitch Sunday.
"THEY TELL ME that the treatment should take care of it," added Gullickson.
The Expos' heavy-hitting treatment – they slugged for 25 total bases, a season-high – certainly took care of the Cardinals last night.
They sent 11 men to the plate in the decisive sixth inning – the first, Jerry White, leaving the on-deck circle just as the scoreboard in center field flashed the final score of the Farce in Philly – and scored five runs to overhaul the Cardinals' 2-1 lead.
Second baseman Rodney Scott led it off with a 180-foot triple that ticked off centerfielder Tony Scott's glove, and scored on Rowland Office's ground-out. Then the real carnage began. Andre Dawson cracked a towering triple that bounced off Tony Scott's glove at the wall (Scott Towels may be absorbment, but Scott's glove isn't). Gary Carter crashed a double to the wall in right-center for his 100th RBI and, after Warren Cromartie was intentionally walked for the 24th time this season, Larry Parrish grabbed a 1-0 delivery from Bob Forsch and didn't let go until it had cleared the fence in right field for his 15th home run.
"It was nothing special," insisted Parrish. Then, with the look of a man suddenly inspired, he added, "Except that it went over the fence."
Nonchalant, that's these Expos. Nutty, too. Take Dawson, who clubbed his 17th homer in the seventh inning. Having grown up in the balminess of Miami, he's supposed to know that a baseball carries farther in hot weather. So what's he talking about afterward when he says, "The ball really carries in the cold air we're getting... it's not heavy at all."
AH, WELL, WHO said a pennant race has to make sense?
For instance, Gullickson, who had been averaging 3.1 walks per nine innings, issued his third of the evening last night to the eighth batter he faced, Card shortstop Tom Herr.
Herr got his – walk, that is – to open the third and St. Louis eventually went up, 1-0, although the run was unearned because of an error by Cromartie. Two innings later, Cromartie and Rodney Scott failed to follow the bouncing ball – both had it hop out of their gloves – and St. Louis had another unearned run. None of them were what you'd call Cardinal sins, but by the sixth inning the Expos had seen the error of their ways and Gullickson was humming along with nine strikeouts.
He had 18 three weeks ago (Bob Feller and Ron Guidry, who also had 18 in a game, apparently are petitioning the Baseball Records Committee for an asterisk beside Gullickson's name, since he did it against the 1980 Chicago Cubs), but lacked the same control on this night.
"He was struggling early." conceded Carter, who has caught all 28 games this month. "He was up a lot with his pitches because he wasn't following through enough. In that situation, I usually get down on one knee, really low, to try to bring him down."
But if Carter was down on bended knee, the Expos aren't.
"The difference between this year and last," said Parrish, "is that we got a lot of breaks last year. This year, we're going out and winning the games ourselves. Maybe that means this is our year."
Four days from now when they dress up in their Sunday best – Bill Gullickson – they'll know for sure.
Alvie G. Adams of Philadelphia and James P. Bradford of Chester, each won $10 plus four tickets to a Phillies game next season on singles by Del Unser and Manny Trillo respectively, last night in the Daily News Home Run Payoff contest.
Other winners in the third inning of the Phillies-Cubs game were Charles Burgess. Al Levin and Dora McCain, all of Philadelphia.
To date, the Daily News has paid out $19,205.
Today's entry coupon appears on this page.