Kansas City Star - October 20, 1980
By William D. Tammeus, Staff Writer
SUNDAY’S game began with “Oh say can you see…" and ended as Mr Cardenal struck out, with "Jose, can’t you see?”
OF COURSE, we always thought winning in Philadelphia was a contradiction in terms.
THE ONLY thing louder Sunday than Dutch Rennert, the home plate umpire, was the sports coat of a guy in the left field general admission section.
OVERHEARD ON OUR BUS: "Do you think it’s too late to say we ’d rather play Houston?”
Bleacher regulars bypass ticket system for Series
By W.S. Wilson, Staff Writer
For those who paid their dues over the course of the summer, getting into World Series games was as easy as it was cheap.
Especially for the regulars in the right-field bleachers.
All it took to enter Royals Stadium for the Sunday finale — and to hear ushers tell it during the league championship playoffs — was to have a buddy on the inside, or to be recognized by a friendly officer of the law.
“Of the hardcores, I’d say the ones that wanted in, they all got in," said an usher working nearby. “They just came in together. The cops let them in."
Sure enough, a few minutes earlier an elderly man, one of the most ardent of right-field fanatics, walked quietly up to a gate along the right-field foul line.
The policeman, without checking for tickets, identification or affiliation with the team, unlocked the gate and allowed the man to enter.
"They (police) let a lot of people in,” said the usher, who asked not to be named. “They don't care. The regular guys (officers working the section), they transferred them to another part of the park.”
Stadium workers say the fans they let in weren’t just any fans off the street. It was, they say, a matter of taking care of the regulars. Of the fan who half entered with the help of the officer, the usher said: “He’s the biggest fan out here. He brings hot dogs and popcorn and cakes and stuff like that. He hasn’t missed a game except when it’s cold. His wife can’t handle the cold."
According to Kansas City Police Department spokesman Sgt. Jim Treece and Capt. Don Munsterman, the officers working Royals games act as employee of the Royals organization, not as Kansas City police officers.
“The department wouldn’t have a reaction to it," Treece said. “The guys who work out there work out there in uniform, but are moonlighting as private security officers.
The decision to discipline or not to discipline an officer for letting in loyal fans is “made down there (by the Royals),’’ Munsterman said. “It's their organization. They pay those men."
Attempts to reach the three key Royals officials who could comment on the matter were unsuccessful today. All were in Philadelphia for the final games of the Series.
“I’ve seen probably 15 at a time, maybe 10 to 15 come in at a time,” said another usher. “I’ve seen other ushers let people in, too.”
Those who didn’t know an officer but who knew a stadium worker probably had to make a little extra effort.
“See the bullpen,” said the usher, pointing to the Kansas City warm-up area. "It comes out behind the scoreboard. They’ve (groundskeepers) been giving them (ticketless fans) their sweatshirt to get up into the stands. Then they toss back the sweatshirt. Then they (fans who have snuck in) stay hid ‘til the game starts. That way they can roam because nobody asks."
Another favorite ploy was to have a friendly usher arrange things by telling a gate-tending officer that the fan – equipped with a friend's ticket stub passed through the fence – left his car lights on. Also, according to veteran ushers, beer vendors have been known to pass their blue shirts over the fence to a fan who wants to get in. The fan walks through the gate looking for all the world like a vendor about to go to work, but switches shirts and finds standing room to watch the game.
The question that haunts a city of Royals fans: Why?
By George Koppe, Staff Writer
In neighborhood taverns and office coffee bars, corporate board rooms and barber chairs, suburban shopping malls and central city street corners, wherever Kansas City Royals fans gather today, the questions are flying.
Why didn’t Jim Frey pinch hit John Wathan for Jose Cardenal ?
Why did Cardenal strike out ?
Why didn’t Frey leave Larry Gura in the game?
Why didn't Willie Aikens field Del Unser’s line drive?
Why, why, why?
No answers will satisfy them. No explanation will be good enough. There is no consoling the bereaved. For them, all that is left is the second-guessing.
This is silly, right? The World Series is not over yet, is it? Even if it were, it is only a bunch of baseball games, not World War III.
Sure, but try selling that to the grimfaced bunch that fled Royals Stadium in the glow of a beautiful autumn sunset Sunday evening like relatives who just read the will and discovered rich Aunt Bessie had not left them a dime.
Nowhere to be heard were the war whoops and cheers, the horn honking and pennant waving, the festive atmosphere that prevailed after the games Friday and Saturday, the atmosphere that carried over into the pre-game and early innings Sunday afternoon.
Strangers who had exchanged pleasantries, even beers, the day before were fighting each other for driving room on the exit ramps as they escaped the stadium for the last time this year.
It was different before the game Sunday. People walking into the stadium told each other that this game was in the bag. Even though the Series was tied, two games to two, Kansas City fans had the feeling they were in control of things.
The signs to be found in front yards and store windows throughout the city and those carried through the stands Sunday all bore this message. The Royals were hot, the Phillies were fading, and a World Series victory was on the Kansas City horizon.
In Philadelphia today, doubtless the same feeling prevails. Kansas City must win both games scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday at Veterans Stadium, a park where the fans intimidated the Royals during the first two games of the Series. Jim Frey, the Royals’ manager, admitted as much Saturday.
“We can’t win two in Philadelphia," fan after fan told their companions as they left Royals Stadium Sunday. When they got into their cars they could turn on the radio and hear disgusted fans at home venting their disappointment over the airwaves, questioning Frey’s choice of pitchers, pinch hitters, strategy and more.
The mood on the air and in the air was bleak, one of almost utter hopelessness.
Fortunately there is a baseball cliche for nearly everything that happens in life. The inimitable Yogi Berra is credited with saying “It ain’t over til it’s over," a pearl of wisdom worth hanging onto today.
Throw it out when the guy next to you starts with his “why’s” and second guesses today. And then start praying for a whole lot of home runs Tuesday night.
Royals’ biggest boosters sweat it out
The tension’s as high for the Royals’ wives as it is on the field
By Bette Lind, Society Editor
Janet Hurdle feels “like a little girl during her first Christmas.” Jo McRae had to take an extra-strength pain reliever to get through one game. And Nancy Wathan wishes the television cameras wouldn’t get so close.
For the Royals' wives — as for their husbands on the field — the World Series has had its ups and downs, excitement and agony, humor and disappointment.
Although this is Jo McRae's third World Series (her husband, Hal, played in the 1970 and 1972 Series for the Cincinnati Reds), it has been the most exciting, she said.
“The first time, Hal (designated hitter for the Royals) was a rookie and I really didn’t know what was going on,” she said. “This time I know more.”
For Mrs. Wathan and most of the other wives, however, the Series is a learning experience.
"All of it has been very tense,” said Mrs. Wathan, wife of John Wathan (catcher/outfielder). Her most tense moment came in the ninth inning of the third playoff game in New York.
“The security people took us (the wives) from the stands to the tunnel that leads to the locker room," she said. “We had no radio and no television, and we didn’t know what was going on. We didn’t know what was happening until somebody yelled and the guys started running in.”
Pandemonium broke out among the wives when they realized the Royals had won the playoffs, she said.
For Mrs. Hurdle, wife of Clint Hurdle (outfielder), the first World Series game in Philadelphia was the most tense.
“Clint was starting, and I was really nervous for him," she said. “The second night I calmed down a bit.”
Mrs. McRae described the third game of the playoffs as “nail-biting time.” In fact, she said, “I had to take two Extra Strength Tylenol to get through the game.”
Besides the excitement of the games and the strain of travel, Janna LaCock has pregnancy to contend with. She and her husband Pete (first baseman) are expecting their second child in early May, and Mrs. LaCock said she has had morning sickness each day of the playoffs and World Series.
“I hung my head out of a few buses in Philadelphia,” she said. “I was a real treat.”
For Lynn Splittorff, the World Series has meant disappointment. Manager Jim Frey chose not to use her husband, Paul, as pitcher against the heavy left-handed lineup of the Phillies, and Mrs. Splittorff doesn't hide her resentment.
"I don’t think it’s fair to him (Paul), but Paul’s the kind of guy who will not say too much until after the Series; he’ll be quiet for the sake of the team," Mrs. Splittorff said. “I'm sure something will be said if he doesn't start in the sixth game." (The Royals announced Sunday” night that the starting pitcher for that game would be Rich Gale.)
Mrs. Hurdle said she had found packing and unpacking the worst part of the Series.
“People think that to travel is very luxurious," she said. “It is if you have a week to enjoy a city. But as most traveling businessmen know, you have to get there do a job and get out."
But even living out of a suitcase hasn’t interfered with the fun of it all, she said: “I feel like a little girl during her first Christmas at this World Series."
Despite all the traveling, none of the wives' luggage has gone astray, they said. But Hal and Jo McRae did lose part of his family after the game Friday night. His sister, Meredese Maddox, and his father, Willie James McRae, drove to the stadium in one car, while Jo and Hal drove in another. When McRae couldn’t find his sister’s car after the game, he decided they already had gone on to his home in Blue Springs, so he drove home. But his sister still was sitting in the parking lot waiting. Fortunately, a neighbor saw them and led them home.
About the only annoyance for Mrs. Wathan has been the television cameramen.
"They put that camera right in your face,” she said. “I feel like cutting the cord. I realize they have a job to do, but it seems like they should have telescopic lenses.”
Mrs. McRae expressed some disappointment about a lack of entertaining for the Royals' wives in both New York and Philadelphia — a contrast she said to the luncheons for the opposing teams’ wives in Kansas City. In her previous World Series trips, she said there were luncheons for the wives when they were in the opposing team's city.
Mrs. La Cock has done some of her own entertaining. At each home game during the and World Series, she drove a motor home to Royals Stadium with 20 friends and was joined by about 15 more friends there.
“We party before and after the game,” she said. “Today (Sunday), we had chili, pies, peach cobbler and a little libation."
Whether the Royals win or lose, when all the partying is over and the last game has been played, rest and recreation are next in the lineup.
The Splittorffs will play golf in Fort Myers, Fla., and the Wathans will return to their home in Iowa. The McRaes will wait until early November, then return to their home in Bradenton, Fla. The Hurdles plan to ski in Aspen, Colo., in December.
“But before that,” Mrs. Hurdle said, “I think we'll go home and sleep for a week.”
Royals’ biggest boosters sweat it out
Minor problems? They’re the Lancers’ major mission
By Bette Lind, Society Editor
When it became apparent that the Royals would be in the playoffs again, Diane Lockhart and Ellen Jansen knew they had their work cut out for them.
They are members of the Royal Lancers — a volunteer group of business and professional men and women who sell season tickets for the Royals. There are 96 Royal Lancers, of whom seven are women.
The Lancers pitched in to help with the thousands of details that have to be taken care of during a playoffs and World Series. Bob O’Keefe, president of the organization, asked Mrs. Lockhart and Mrs. Jansen to organize hospitality for the visiting teams' wives.
"For a whole week, I did nothing but go to meetings,” Mrs. Lockhart said. Working with representatives from Mayor Richard Berkley's office, the women began to plan activities for the New York Yankees' wives. They helped plan a tour of the Nelson Art Gallery, followed by a shopping trip on the Country Club Plaza. The next day, there was a luncheon at Hallmark.
They also coordinated the distribution of information packets through the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Kansas City and were on hand to greet the visitors when they arrived at their hotel.
When the Royals went to New York, Mrs. Jansen went too. Earlier in Kansas City, when pitcher Tommy John's wife, Sally, had to go to the airport to meet her nephew, Mrs. Jansen drove her there. A few days later in New York, she received a call from Mrs. John. “We’re sending corsages to the Royals' wives, compliments of the Yankee wives,” she told Mrs. Jansen. “If we send them to your room, will you make sure they get there?"
When the Royals won the playoffs, the Lancers began planning entertainment for the wives of the Royals World Series opponents. But their assistance went beyond the social aspects. Nearly every day, the two women were at the Lancers' office at the stadium, helping to answer the flood of telephone calls about World Series tickets as well as about next season’s tickets.
“I've been getting to the stadium about 10 a.m. every day and staying until about 4 or 5 p.m.,” Mrs. Jansen said.
"It's been time-consuming, but it's the most wonderful thing I’ve ever done,” Mrs. Lockhart said.
While both have put in many hours of volunteer time, they point out that all the Royal Lancers have been busy.
"We just feel privileged that we’ve had the opportunity of representing the Lancer organization to the visiting New York and Philadelphia wives,” Mrs. Jansen said.
White may knock on ‘Hall’ door with glove
By Mike DeArmond, Sports Writer
The doors to the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., are locked except to the exceptional few. Traditionally, entrance has been gained only with the help of a bat.
Those who come with gloves in hand, regardless of their exceptional abilities to pick, spear, or just plain catch a baseball, routinely have been denied a spot in the sport’s hallowed museum.
"I don't think it can be done,” said the Royals' Frank White. "I don’t think a guy can open those doors with just his defensive ability.”
There is, of course, the case of Tinker to Evers to Chance, the late, great double-play combination of the Chicago Cubs. All three are enshrined, but Tinker had a lifetime batting average of only .263 and Evers batted .270. Chance hit .297 but had only 20 home runs in 17 years. The three may be in the Hall more cause of a poem about them — and the accompanying lore — than for their exploits on the field.
There is, of course, the pending case of Brooks Robinson. Robinson, while renowned for his fielding, also was a dangerous and timely hitter for the Baltimore Orioles. Robinson may have had enough batting prowess to get over the hump in his bid to reach Cooperstown.
White never has had a poem written about him. Until winning the Most Valuable Player Award in the American League Championship Series, he never had been known for his bat. He is a career .252 hitter.
No, White said, “I don't think I’ll ever get there (Cooperstown).”
It is without an ounce of hometown partisanship, following the Royals’ 4-3 loss Sunday to the Philadelphia Phillies at Royals Stadium, that the question could be asked, “Why not?’’
To watch White play second base in Kme five was to watch Blackstone saw a lady in half and Houdini emerge unharmed from a steamer trunk at the bottom of a river.
All day long as he has all season long and throughout his career White performed a series of sleight-of-hand that was explainable only because the umpires said it was so.
In the third inning White ranged far into right field and made a capless, back-to-the-plate catch of Bob Boone’s bid for a bloop single.
In the seventh inning White bolted into short center field and ran down Manny Trillo’s bouncer, turned and flipped for the force-out at second base.
And in the eighth inning, White roamed into right field and snared Larry Bowa’s bid for a hit, then flipped to first for the out.
So why not the Hall of Fame? Why must White go the way of Pee Wee Reese of the Dodgers and Phil Rizzuto of the Yankees, master fielders who thus far have been denied a cubby hole in Cooperstown?
Probably for the same reason Mark Belanger of Baltimore Orioles will gain admission to the Hall only if he pays the price of admission.
"Too much emphasis is put on hitting," White said. "Nobody talks about how many runs a player saves for his club. When guys go into it (the Hall of Fame), their defense is never mentioned. "They talk about lifetime batting average, lifetime home runs and lifetime RBIs. They don’t talk about how many runs you saved.
“Belanger is a great shortstop, Bud Harrelson with the Mets was a great shortstop.”
And White is a great second baseman.
It probably won’t be enough, though, to put White in the Hall of Fame, just as it wasn’t enough to reverse the Royals’ loss to the Phillies in game five of the World Series.
WORLD SERIES NOTES — The Phillies left Sunday night for Philadelphia and were to work out at Veterans Stadium this afternoon. The Royals were to leave Kansas City on a chartered flight today, and will not practice in Philadelphia until workouts preceding game six Tuesday night when the Royals send pitcher Rich Gale against the Phils’ Steve Carlton. "The game's not just on my back,” Gale said, “I’ve got 24 other guys to help out there, too. There’s no question I'm going to be pumped up, but if I lose, I think the sun still will come up on Wednesday.”… Gale’s attitude was echoed by many of his teammates. Hal McRae, asked why he wasn’t throwing things Sunday, said: “If I don’t do it on the field, I'm not going to get it done up here in the clubhouse. I don’t gel paid for throwing stuff around. Just breaking stuff would cost the ballclub money.” Clint Hurdle asked about Manager Jim Frey’s decision to pinch-hit for him: “All it did was break my heart. I guess he didn’t want to experiment in the World Series. I’m not paid to think. I’m paid to play, not to manage."
Managerial decisions questioned
By Joe McGuff, Sports Editor
The Royals trail the Phillies three games to two in the World Series following a 4-3 loss Sunday, and when the tournament resumes Tuesday night in Philadelphia, we will be told there is no tomorrow for the Royals unless they win.
The information, of course, is erroneous. Barring a major upset, such as the end of the world, the sun will come up Wednesday. What is in doubt is whether anyone will be playing major-league baseball.
Winning two games in Veterans Stadium is not impossible, but it will be difficult: memories of the events that took place Sunday scarcely will be inspiring. The Royals lost a game they should have won, and the numbing effect was reflected in the silence of the crowd as it left Royals Stadium.
One observer compared the atmosphere to that at old Municipal Stadium in 1971 when the Chiefs suffered a stunning National Football League playoff loss to Miami in the longest NFL game ever played.
The game between the Royals and the Phillies came to an end when Jose Cardenal struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth. No sooner had Tug McGraw ’s fastball touched Bob Boone’s mitt than the second guessing began.
In some respects, the Royals’ defeat could be blamed on bad luck. Additionally, some of Jim Frey’s managerial decisions drew strenuous questioning after the game. Most of the misfortune and controversy were crammed into the ninth inning.
The Royals carried a 3-2 lead into the ninth, and as the Phillies came to bat there were two managerial decisions to be made. First was the question of replacing Willie Aikens at first base with Pete LaCock, who is better defensively. Frey has made this move frequently this season. Sunday, he did not. The second question was whether the leadoff batter, Mike Schmidt, should be played at normal depth. Schmidt had bunted for a base hit in game four and had attempted to bunt on one other occasion.
“I asked Jim, ‘Do you think he’ll bunt?’” said George Brett. “He (Frey) said, ‘We can’t give it to him.’ I moved in five or six feet.”
Schmidt drove a ball on the ground to Brett’s left. Brett dived and got his glove on the ball but couldn’t hold it, and the Phillies had the start of what was to be a winning 2-run rally.
Schmidt, who led the majors this season with 48 homers, scoffed at the idea he would bunt in such a situation.
“That would be like Babe Ruth bunting with the other team leading 3-2," said Schmidt. “Not that I’m Babe Ruth, but I’ve got to get my three swings. There was no thought in my mind about bunting.”
The second batter of the inning was Del Unser, who batted for Lonnie Smith. He hit the ball sharply at Aikens, and it skipped past the Royals’ first baseman and carried to the right-field corner for a double, with Schmidt scoring.
Would LaCock have fielded the ball? That question will be debated for some time.
“I really can’t say how many guys would have caught that ball," Aikens said. “When it hit it kind of shot up. If you make it, you’ve made a good play. If you don’t, it’s a double and a run scores.”
Keith Moreland advanced Unser with a sacrifice. Garry Maddox bounced to Brett on the third-base line and Brett threw him out, with Unser holding third.
At this point the Royals were in a position to get out of the inning with a tie, but bad luck overtook them.
Manny Trillo lined a ball back to the mound. It bounced off Quisenberry 's glove and rolled a short distance away. Brett picked up the ball and threw to first but he was too late, and Unser crossed with what proved the winning run.
“I didn't see it until it was right in front of me," Quisenberry said. “I didn’t try to catch it until the last second. I wish I would have let it hit me in the stomach. That way it would have fallen in front of me.
“If Aikens gets the ball that was hit at him, it's a double play. He didn’t. I think I made good pitches. They hit the ball Aikens just missed catching. George got his dove on the ball and it bounced out. I got the ball in my glove and it bounced out. Three inches. That was the game."
But there was more to come.
Frank White, Royals’ leadoff hitter in the ninth, walked and the fans were on their feet cheering. Brett was coming to the plate and after him would be Aikens. One home run and the Royals would go back to Philadelphia leading the Series.
The first pitch to Brett was a called strike. The second one Brett swung at and missed. At this point McGraw took one of the great gambles of his pitching career. He threw Brett a fastball on the outside corner and Brett took it for a third strike.
"It’s not that he threw it, but that he put it where he did,” Phillies’ shortstop Larry Bowa said with a sigh of relief.
"It was a fastball away," Brett said. "I was thinking about pulling it through the hole. I hesitated a second, and he who hesitates is lost."
One Casey had struck out, but another was coming up in Aikens, who hit four home runs in the first four games. How did the Phillies pitch him this time? Ever so carefully. McGraw walked him on four pitches.
Hal McRae hit McGraw's first pitch down the left-field line into the seats, but the ball curved foul. McGraw stood on the mound patting his heart.
“It’s one of those scary moments,” McGraw said. “I do that to get people laughing and loosen them up."
McRae then forced Onix Concepcion, who had run for Aikens. McGraw, facing one of the Royals’ hottest hitters in Amos Otis, walked him on four pitches.
Cardenal, the veteran who once played with the Phillies, was the next hitter. The expectation in the press box was that Frey would replace Cardenal with John Wathan, a tough contact hitter who batted .306 this season. Instead, Wathan remained in the dugout. Cardenal struck out on a 1-2 count and the game was over.
Frey said after the game he stayed with Cardenal because Cardenal came from the National League and knew McGraw better.
“I don’t know why you would pinch hit for him,” Frey said.
Wathan carefully sidestepped the controversy when asked if he were surprised when he was not called on.
"No, not really," Wathan said. "I've played too long to be surprised. I go along with the manager the best I can. I don’t second guess. I would like to have had the opportunity, but Jose hit well in September."
Cardenal said: “I have to feel like a bum. If you don’t come through, that’s how you feel.”
This was a game that had a little bit of everything. Frank White made three great defensive plays and Otis hit his third home run. In the fourth, Aikens’ failure to touch the bag allowed Bake McBride to reach first safely, and Schmidt followed with a home run. Darrell Porter was thrown out trying to score from first on Willie Wilson's double in the sixth, and then Wilson failed to take third on the throw to the plate.
“I think today's ballgame was a big game,” Schmidt said. "There was more pressure than in any game we've played to date. I thought it was a pivotal game.”
"We’re not in a good position,” he said. "Saturday, everyone would rather have been in our shoes. Today, everyone would rather be in theirs. This game is amazing."
Unless the Royals do something amazing, their second trip to Philadelphia will be more unpleasant than their first.
Gura was tiring, right? No so, fumes Royals’ pitcher
By Doug Tucker, Associated Press Sports Writer
Larry Gura made only a feeble effort to hide his anger at Royals' Manager Jim Frey.
Gura was upset over being relieved Sunday in the seventh inning by Dan Quisenberry in game five of the World Series. The Phillies, trailing 3-2 at the time, went on to win 4-3 by scoring two runs in the ninth inning.
Gura had given up four hits and one earned run when Frey removed the left-handed pitcher.
Asked if he was tired, Gura snapped “I wasn't one bit tired."
Asked if he tried to argue with the first-year manager, Gura, said "I didn't have a chance to argue. He signaled (for Quisenberry) before he got to the mound.”
“What do you have to do, pitch a perfect game?” Gura was asked.
“That would solve a lot of problems,” said Gura.
Gura said he made one mistake, the pitch Mike Schmidt hit for a 2-run home run in the fourth inning.
"I made one bad pitch,” said Gura. “He hit it good, but not good enough to hit it out there (over the 410-foot mark in center field). The wind carried it.”
Frey defended his pitching change.
“I took him out for the same reason I’ve taken others out all year," he said. "We have Quisenberry down there, and he's done the job all year. He keeps the ball down, gets groundballs and possibly a double play.”
Going back to Philadelphia, where Kansas City lost 7-6 and 6-4 after wasting a 4-0 lead in the first game and a 4-2 lead in game two, weighed heavily on the Royals’ minds.
“They’ll have 65,000 maniacs out there in the seats,” said Amos Otis. "In my opinion, that makes a difference."
Clint Hurdle said: “We’ve got to get hot for two days. If we play our best baseball, we’ll win. If we don't, we’re second best, that's all there is to it.”
Frank White, who has played brilliantly on defense throughout post-season play, said his Sunday heroics afield — he made three outstanding plays — were wasted by losing.
"Personal achievements don’t mean a thing if you lose,” he said. “All I was thinking about was winning."
George Brett, usually Kansas City's top clutch hitter, struck out on three itches against Phillies’ reliever Tug McGraw in the ninth, taking a called third strike.
"It was 0-2 and, with the game situation as it was, 99 percent of the time he would waste a pitch,” Brett said. “I was looking for something to pull through the hole. He threw a fastball on the outer part of the plate and I simply couldn't pull the trigger. It was a good pitch.”
Phillies put damper on Royals Stadium
The Royals and their fans entered the fifth game of the World Series with high hopes of taking a 1-game advantage over the Phillies, but it wasn't to be.
The Phillies, staging what has been a trademark of their play since trie regular season ended, made a late-inning rally Sunday at Royals Stadium before 42,369 fans. The result was a 4-3 victory over Kansas City that gave Philadelphia a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Series.
The game was the last of the season at Royals Stadium.
The teams will resume play Tuesday night in Philadelphia. If the Royals win, a seventh game will be Wednesday night, also in Philadelphia.
Series ‘load’ takes its toll on reliever
By Mike DeArmond, Sports Writer
Long after sundown had dropped a curtain of darkness on Royals Stadium, Dan Quisenberry finally was able to button his shirt, pull on his shoes and cast a contemplative stare around the Royals' nearly deserted locker room.
As teammate Frank White headed wearily toward the showers, Quisenberry sat back and philosophized — not on victory or defeat, but on the experience of being in the center of this madness called the World Series.
"It’s a heavy load, and I’m just glad the whole season isn't like this," Quisenberry said.
For once, Quisenberry didn’t have quip ready. Oh he had delivered those, as expected, hours before. And he had explained, hours before, about how the Philadelphia Phillies scored two runs off him in the top of the ninth and defeated the Royals 4-3, sending Kansas City back to Philadelphia down three games to two.
But now, having played the final game of the season at Royals Stadium, Quisenberry tried to reach down deep and share, with those who cared to listen, what these moments held for him.
"I don’t like the thought of cleaning out my locker," said Quisenberry. "That’s kind of a scary thought, That's not much fun,”
And to tell the truth, Quisenberry hadn’t thought about it much. He hadn’t thought about what had happened, or what would happen. He simply was caught up in the reality — and the crush — of the present.
"I guess that's what makes the World Series so awesome,” said Quisenberry. "There's so much importance placed in the now of everything.
"As far as the game pressure, it hasn’t been what I thought it would be. I haven't had to take a lot more deep breaths than I've ever had to.
"But the off-field pressure is tremendous. Before the games, after the games.
"Normally, I'm a good spectator, a fan," Quisenberry said. "But I guess because I’ve been in every game, I haven't been able to sit back and watch any of them.”
For most Royal fans, the game Sunday was one they probably would rather not have watched. As in games one and two, the Royals had a lead. As in games one and two, the Royals lost that lead, this time in the ninth inning when the Phillies scratched out two runs on Mike Schmidt’s hit off George Brett 's glove, Del Unser’s double just past Willie Aikens’ glove and Manny Trillo s hit off Quisenberry’s glove.
Goodbye 3-2 lead, and hello 3-2 Series deficit. And it’s off to Philadelphia, where the Phillies and ace pitcher Steve Carlton await Kansas City and Rich Gale in game six Tuesday night.
"You know,” said Quisenberry, looking up at the Royals’ bullpen vulture “doll” sitting atop his locker, "that stands for me coming in a game where we were behind and we got a win.
“I’d like to see another reliever get a win," Quisenberry said. "That’s it. I’m taking the vulture with me to Philly. He might break, but he's going.
"I’d like to give that vulture to someone else."
TV Coverage proves heart-thumper
By Lee Winfrey, Knight-Ridder Newspapers
The National Broadcasting Co. deserves a Gold Glove award for its television coverage Sunday of the fifth game of the World Series.
The network's alert camera work more than compensated for a few isolated lapses by its announcers.
Tug McGraw and his wife, Phyllis, were the stars on camera, providing the two most unforgettable television images of the hard-played game.
NBC captured their two big scenes one after the other in the last half of the ninth inning.
First there was McGraw, patting his thumping heart with his hand after Kansas City's Hal McRae almost hit a decisive home run off him, the ball narrowly falling foul.
Seconds later, there was Mrs. McGraw, shown in the stands, her head bent down as though she could not bear the tension of watching, her lips moving in silent prayer.
Her supplication was answered when McGraw struck out Jose Cardenal. ending the game and giving the Phillies a 4-3 victory.
Earlier, NBC’s 12 cameras snooped everywhere, capturing the rear foot of the Royals’ Willie Aikens edging illegaily beyond the rear boundary of the batter's box, and taking note of the tooth pick that the Royals’ U.L. Washington always holds in his mouth.
Perhaps the press of time was to blame for a stone left unturned here and there by the announcers. They don’t have much time to talk, and sometimes the game can get complicated.
In the fifth inning, for example, the Phillies’ Marty Bystrom vainly tried to pick off a runner at first. Ron Luciano, former umpire providing expert commentary for NBC, said Bystrom ’s unsuccessful move would have been a balk in the National League, but not in the American League. He said the American League’s balk rules were being followed Sunday, but he didn't explain the difference that exempted this play.
Reached by telephone later, Luciano said Bystrom leaped off both feet, twisted in the air toward first base and threw. That was all right Sunday, said Luciano, but he indicated Bystrom better not try it in the National League’s regular season.
Luciano likewise couldn’t squeeze in a full explanation in the fourth inning when the Phils’ Bake McBride bunted and was ruled safe at first. Several replays indicated McBride s foot and that of Kansas City first baseman Aikens hit the bag practically simultaneously.
Explaining the rule of thumb that an umpire uses in such cases, Luciano said on the air, “He was behind it and the foot closest to you gets it.” Luciano later was asked what he meant.
When two opposing feet seem to hit a base at the same time, Luciano explained, "Pick the front foot (closest to you), and you're usually right." Since humans normally see close objects better than distant ones, the foot closer to the umpire probably is the winner in hairline cases. McBride’s foot was closer to the first-base umpire and Luciano said the umpire was in "perfect position.”
Tony Kubek was off-base when he tried to create a controversy over a great catch McBride made on McRae against the right-field wall in the fifth inning. Kubek went on and on with his opinion the ball had bounced off the wall before McBride gloved it in foul territory. The replay seemed to show emphatically that the catch was legitimate.
McGraw aside, Phillies able to find emotional middle ground in Series
By Gib Twyman, Sports Writer
Tug McGraw was in his element. Microphones jabbed into his face. The media sat in front of him, notepads soaking up every word. McGraw, the Phillies' reliever, was sitting back, pushing the buttons on the Automatic One-Liner Machine.
You want George Carlin?
When are you going to cut your hair, Tug?
“I’m never cutting my hair until this (World Series) is over," said McGraw. “They’re my universal antenna, bringing in the good karma from the universe.”
How about David Letterman?
What kind of pitch were you trying to throw George Brett in the Royals rally in the ninth?
“Truthfully, I thought about one from the Dickie Noles School of Pitching (a Noles pitch had forced Brett to dive to the ground Saturday). But then I thought, 'Nah get Mr Frey (Jim Royals’ manager) all riled. And I'm tired. I was out late with my wife last night. Who needs it?’”
How about Bob Hope?
What did Jose Cardenal say to you when the bat slipped out of his hands past the mound?
“I tell ya, I know enough about Spanish to know that it wasn’t what you will hear in a Spanish church. I’ve been told off in Spanish enough times to get the general idea of what he was saying.”
The show went on long after the Phillies beat Kansas City 4-3 Sunday at Royals Stadium and took a 3-2 lead in the 77th World Series.
McGraw essentially was alone now, only a couple of people standing with him. For a moment he let the Tug-Steve Martin-McGraw facade drop.
“I’ll tell you, humor can be misleading," he said. "It’s not always what It may seem on the surface.”
The other Phillies spoke similarly of the Series tension. “When you see Tug McGraw acting crazy, most people don’t understand… that’s his way of expressing nervousness,” said shortstop Larry Bowa. “When he gets tight on the mound, he’ll make a funny face. An infielder makes a good play behind him, he’ll scream at the guy, ‘You better make it — that’s what you’re paid to do.’
"One time in Atlanta, a guy got a big base hit off him. Tug turned around and laughed at the guy. I was beginning to wonder how to take that. I asked him in the dugout, ‘How can you laugh when the guy beats you like that.' That’s when I found out how much it bothered him. That’s the way he handles it.”
Mike Schmidt said, “When you see Tug coming off the field slapping his glove on his leg, it could be we just tied the game or we’re ahead 10-0 or we're way behind. You never know the difference with him. That’s just the way he acts.”
Schmidt said the pressure gets to everyone. “There ain’t nobody out there who can tell you he’s completely relaxed in a World Series game. Heck, I’m not even totally relaxed in the 58th game in July.
“There are 40,000 screaming people out there and millions of people watching TV — I don’t think anybody in the stands ever gets completely relaxed.”
The more they talked, the more the Phillies seemed to be seeking the emotional middle ground. The Phillies may have a 3-2 lead in the 1980 World Series, they seemed to be saying, but they are not convinced they have it clinched. To think so would put them on thin psychological ice for game six Tuesday night in Philadelphia.
“We are not excited because we haven’t won anything yet,” said Bowa. “They don’t play to see who wins three games. The only thing that counts is winning four.
"Maybe if we had won a World Series before, we would start sounding like we were close. But we haven’t. Wait till we win No. 4, then we can yell and holler."
Said Schmidt, “We don’t feel any special confidence or anything after winning today. All we can think about is go out and play like crazy the next game. That team over there is too good to do anything else.
"They ain't gonna let nobody win a World Series from them easy, now."
Bowa said, “Last year Baltimore got up 3-1 and maybe they thought it was a piece of cake. Then Pittsburgh came back to beat them 4-3.
“The Royals are highly capable of winning two straight games from us. They just got through doing that here. That’s why now we have to devote all our energies to winning the next game.”
It was Pete Rose, however, who early in the week stood at the batting cage and said, “Whoever gets that third victory — they’ve got the hammer.”
After the Phils’ victory Sunday he said things were going to be tough for the Royals. “The real difference between them and us now is that they’ve got to pull out all the stops the next game. Whoever it takes, whatever it takes, they’ve got to do it. They can’t be saving a guy like, maybe we can.
“We can take more chances, hit and run, steal more. They’re gonna have to sacrifice maybe, play more percentage baseball. At least I would think. They don’t have a cushion.”
But Rose also said, “If they win Tuesday night, you can throw out all that home-field advantage and who's pitching against who and all the rest of the stuff.
“When it comes down to one game, it’s anybody's game. I don’t care where you're playing or against who.”
On the subject of fans, Rose said it didn't bother him that he took the brunt of booing at Royals Stadium. “Nah, no way,” he said with a grin. "'They’re great fans. They didn’t say anything bad to me when I’d come off the field.
“Just booing. Booing never bothered anybody. Anytime you wear a gray uniform, you expect to get booed. It’s when you get booed in a white uniform you need to worry.
When I hear them boo, I just take it they’ve read about me and feel like I’m someone that might beat their ballclub. If you remember, I used to get booed louder in Philly than anywhere before I came over.
“People don’t always like confident people. They don’t like Jimmy Connors or Muhammad Ali or me. They get on me for spiking the ball at the end of an inning. But if Steve Fuller does it after a Chiefs’ touchdown, that’s OK. I’m just happy we made the out. It’s just a way to get the ball out of my glove.”
It’s just Pete Rose’s way of tossing off the pressure. The same way Tug McGraw laughs it off.
Usually doing home repairs this time of year, Unser hammers away for Phils
By Danny Robbins, Knight-Ridder Newspapers
When the Phillies are in a pinch, which is most of the time, it is — as the scoreboard at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia often proclaims — "Del Time."
Del Unser, Phillies’ pinch-hitting machine, has lived through 12 other seasons in the major leagues and it never has been this way for him in October.
“I’m usually filling up the house with ail the little repairs," he said, “and my wife makes a list because I’m not home for so long. I’m usually back into racquetball, maybe playing a little golf.”
Suddenly, Unser’s time has come. A guy who can say he once played (four years) for the Washington Senators, a guy who once was pretty much unwanted and close to retirement (1978), he is now a legitimate World Series folk hero, or close to it, anyway.
“He’s spoiling us,” Larry Bowa said after Unser delivered another crucial pinch hit Sunday in the Phillies’ 4-3 escape from Royals Stadium. “He’s setting some very high standards. If he makes an out, we’ll get on him.”
Unser’s contribution Sunday was a double in the ninth inning that skipped down the right-field line, scoring Mike Schmidt and tying the score.
“I hit it as good as I can hit a ball,” he said, “just over (first baseman Willie) Aikens’ glove. I don’t know if he had time to react.”
He did not, and thus Unser had his second pinch hit of the Series. If he gets one more, he’ll tie a World Series record.
In game two, Unser muscled a pinch-hit double and ultimately scored the tying run.
“With some pitchers, you just see the release point better,” said Unser, who has collected both pinch hits against Royals’ Dan Quisenberry. “I really believe hitting against Tekulve (Pittsburgh's Kent, like Quisenberry also a submarine pitcher) a lot gives us a distinct advantage now. The shoulder comes down, and it alters your perception. I’ve hit the ball hard off Tekulve. But it’s hard to get the ball up in the air off him, just like it is with Quisenberry.”
Last week, Unser, 35, did his thing against the Astros’ Ken Forsch, when the Phillies won the National League pennant in Houston. He came up in the eighth inning with runners at first and third two outs and the Phils down by a run. Forsch had just struck out Mike Schmidt, but Unser golfed his first pitch into right field for the single that tied the score.
“That one was a little quail,” said Unser jokingly, “and this one (Sunday) had a bad hop to it."
He is right, to be sure, but he also is selling himself short. It can't be easy when you sit and wait. Unser and other pinch hitters stay loose during games by swinging bats in the clubhouse, watching the game — and the pitchers — on TV. But, ultimately, they go in cold.
“We are up and back (on the walkway to the clubhouse) a lot,” Unser said.
When he was the Phillies' designated hitter in game four, Unser managed only one hit in four at-bats.
“When I’m starting,” he said, “I probably make the mistake of taking too many pitches. When you get one chance, you take advantage of anything you can get."
And Unser keeps making the most of his chances.
”I think the big thing that has helped Del,” said Greg Gross, who has a similar role with the Phillies, "is that he started those six games on the last home stand. He got 25, 30 at-bats in five or six days, and that can give you a better feeling at the plate. You always feel better if you get some at-bats.”
Whatever has taken place, Unser has become a force in a World Series the Phillies are one game away from winning.
“Right now, it's warming up," he told the mob at his locker Sunday. “Early on, this (the Series) seemed a little anticlimactic after the Houston series. Now we’re on the verge of winning something, and it’s getting exciting.
There has to be a special feeling for Unser, too, because he has been around baseball all his life and never has been around a team that was even dose to this position. His father, Al, was a wartime major-league player and scout, and now has a sporting-goods store in Decatur, Ill., the family home.
“Oh yeah, I was born and raised in a clubhouse — well, not born. My mother would take offense at that," said Unser. “We were nomads a little bit. But we always came back to Decatur. There were eight kids, a good home life.”
The elder Unser was at Royals Stadium for game five.
“I don't think it means more to my dad than it does to anyone’s dad on the club who loves baseball," Unser said. “But I know he feels wonderful for me, just like my mom does. My whole family feels good — and tired.”