Corpus Christi Caller - October 10, 1980

Brakes Bake


Talking with his hands, coach let game slip from fingers


From Caller Wire Services


PHILADELPHIA – The ball was hit to the outfield, and Lee Elia reacted in a human way: He threw up his arms. The ball was hit to the outfield and Bake McBride reacted in a very baseball like way: He sought out his third base coach, noticed his arms in the air and held up.


Of such failures to communicate are games won and lost.


Lonnie Smith's single to right was hit hard, and the Astros’ Terry Puhl fielded it smoothly and made an accurate throw home. Nevertheless, McBride is not exactly slow once he gets running and could have been expected to score.


But as McBride was chugging into third he saw Elia with his hands in the air and he put on the brakes. By the time he saw he could have made itm he couldn’t anymore. And all because Ella is one of those people who use their hands when they talk.


In most instances, this is a harmless enough vice. But when you're giving signs to baseball players, it can present a distinct hazard. In this case, McBride interpreted Elia's hand-waving conversation with himself as a stop sign.


"When the ball went up in the air," said a saddened Elia after the game, "my first reaction was, ‘Is it going to be caught?’ My hands went up as if to say, ‘Is it going to be fair?' He (McBride) saw my hands go up and stopped. I tried to recover but it was too late. He couldn't get his legs to go. It was no fault of Bake McBride. Had I sent him, he could have scored easily.


"As I look back, he was so far off the bag when he stopped he would have been doubled off second anyway if the ball had been caught, so I should have kept him going. For some reason, the fact we only had one out kept sticking in my mind. I wanted that one run badly and thought we could still get it. In retrospect, that's probably why I held him.”


Philadelphia Manager Dallas Green could only appreciate Elia's and McBride's predicament.


"It's a spithouse or a castle job," Green said. Meaning either you come out of the thing as a genius or a dolt.

Astros hope their bubble won’t burst


By The Associated Press


HOUSTON – The National League Championship Series switched artificial surfaces Thursday moving from Philadelphia 's Veteran’s Stadium to the Houston Astrodome, a house of horrors for visiting clubs this season.


“It's a pleasure to be going home,” said Houston Manager Bill Virdon, whose Astros split the first two games in this best-of-five pennant playoff in Philadelphia.


It should be a pleasure. The Astros were awesome at home during the season, compiling a 53-26 record under the dome compared with 38-44 on the road.


But the Phillies think they can burst the Astros’ bubble. They won 21 of their last 28 games on the road to finish 42-39 away from home, their best road record since 1976.


“We've played down there before, you know," snapped Philadelphia Manager Dallas Green. "It's not as if we're doing something completely new. We're 9-3 for the year against the Astros. We must have won some down there."


In fact, the Phillies have won four of six under the dome in each of the past two seasons.


More important than playing indoors is the state of mind the Phillies will bring with them for Game 3 of this series Friday. They lost a game they should have won Wednesday night, leaving 14 runners on base, 10 of them in the last four innings. They had the bases loaded with one out in the seventh and did not score and the bases loaded with one out in the ninth and did not score.


The 7-4, 10-inning loss in Game 2 can stay with a team, but the Phillies insist it will not stay with them.


"We gotta forget about this and just play like nothing happened,” said shortstop Larry Bowa.


"We just didn't do it," said slugger Mike Schmidt, who was the tying run at the plate when he flied to right ending the game. “We can't worry about opportunities getting away. We just did not get the job done, that's all.”


Pitcher Tug McGraw and first baseman Pete Rose, full of confidence in the often grim Phillies’ dressing room which has been described by some visitors as a demilitarized zone, tried to lighten the load of the painful loss.


"We just don't want our fans to get overconfident, that's all,” offered McGraw. “If we had won (Wednesday) the third game would have been an anticlimax. We wanted to build the suspense, you see.”


Rose and McGraw seem to think like people in some quarters, that the Astros are 25 players to be named later.


But those players have jelled into a team (something Green is still trying to make out of the Phillies), and that team is happy with the split.


"It's always important to try to get at least one game when you open on the road,” said second baseman Joe Morgan, one of the more recognizable players on this team. "Then you try to win two out of three at home. I know I came (to Philadelphia) to win both games, but since we lost (the first), we have to be satisfied with the split.”