Allentown Morning Call - October 21, 1980

Phils’ position ‘frightening’


By Gordon Smith, Associate Sports Editor


PHILADELPHIA – "Everything seems so right that it's frightening," Mike Schmidt said yesterday as he leaned on a bat at Veterans Stadium, where the World Series could end tonight if the Phillies win. 


"All I have heard since Sunday night s game ended is that WE have Carlton going next... WE can't miss now... WE are playing at home... WE have got them now.


"Honest to God," the Phils third baseman continued. "Everything points so strongly to us wrapping it up in Game 6 that it all seems too easy." 


It's true, too. It all appears so cut-and-dried that one begins to wonder, perhaps, if Steve Carlton has to bother showing up for the first pitch at 8:15. 


The one-time Phutile Phillies are within one victory of burying – once and for all time – the theory that they've been chokers so many times they'll take the gas pipe again. 


The deck seems so stacked in their favor that players like Schmidt are beginning to overthink.


"I try not to let Lefty's (Carlton) reputation as the best pitcher in baseball make me relax," Schmidt said. "We can't relax for the slightest second against the Royals. They didn't get to this thing by a proxy vote, you know." 


Overwhelming favorite aside, however, tonight's World Series return to the Vet will probably have all the drama that has made this classic one of the finest in history. 


One run separates the combatants. The Phillies have scored 23; the Royals 22. Prior to the 4-3 Game 5 victory in KC Sunday, giving the Phils a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven game matchup, they'd each scored 19.


Every game has been an out-and-out barroom brawl. Three games were decided by one run. Each team won a game by two runs. Carlton or no Carlton, there isn't any reason to believe tonight will be any different.


"Neither team has been able to come up with the? really big inning to ' blow a game apart," said Kansas City Manager Jim Frey yesterday. "And, really, I don't see it happening. Both clubs are getting super pitching, and both clubs have shown the ability to come from behind." 


Carlton hasn't really been sensational in either of his last two starts one in Houston in the National League playoffs; one in Game 2 of the Series. 


"Lefty pitched over 300 innings," said Phils' Manager Dallas Green. 


"I felt he needed the extra rest this time. That's why we went with Marty Bystrom in Game 5. 


"Improper rest affects his arm speed. He doesn't have the extra pop," the manager continued. "He's still got enough to get the job done, and that's all I want.


If Green can get as little as six innings out of his National League Cy Young Award candidate (it's a certainty he'll win it), then he won't complain. 


"Tug (McGraw) is so adrenalized he can go again for us if needed," Green said. "And (Ron) Reed can give us help if needed. I'm not worried about our pitching." 


Rich Gale, Carlton's pitching foe tonight, doesn't talk like a man being thrown to the lions. "I said before the series that if we are going to win, then we will have to beat Carlton at least once. I expect him to pitch better than he did in Game 2. 


"But," Gale continued, "this is the chance of a lifetime for me, and I'm going to grab it. Pitching in a World Series game… well, what can I say. Is there any kid in this nation who hasn't dreamed about such a thing?" 


Gale doesn't believe the intimidating Philadelphia fans can bother him. "We've had that stuff all year, everywhere we've played," he said. "Believe me, I don't even hear the crowd normally." 


Hummm. "Normally." Wonder if Gale has any idea what he's going to hear tonight. Philadelphia police have tripled their security contingent of foot soldiers and mounted police. From City Hall to the Phillies offices, everybody is concerned for the stadium surface and, really, for peoples' safety, if and when the Phils win the Series. 


"It's going to be worse than anything we've ever seen out of New York,." theorizes Phillies' General Manager Paul Owens. "I'm really frightened. I hope and pray our fans have the good sense not to wreck the field for the Eagles. If everything goes right, we'll have two major sports champions this season in Philadelphia." 


There is reason to expect the offense tonight to come from any one or two of several players. The Phillies' Larry Bowa and Bake McBride are red hot with the bat. and Schmidt hasn't been exactly cold. His explosiveness is. of course, much more pronounced at Veterans Stadium, where it's easier to hit home runs than it is in many parks, including Kansas City.


The Royals' George Brett is everything that was advertised. One actually gets the feeling Brett is going to get a hit every time he swings the bat. His ability is something the likes of which nobody has seen since the great Ted Williams retired from the game. 


Brett is by no means at the top of the Most-Valuable-Player candidates list, however. That distinction, among the Royals, is shared by first baseman Willie Aikens and outfielder Amos Otis – the guy Kansas City keeps trying to replace in centerfield but who just gets better each time talk begins anew.


Otis is 11-for-20, including three homes runs, good for seven runs batted in. Aikens, who has four home runs and eight RBIs, is 8-for-18. One more homer and he ties Reggie Jackson's World , Series record of five. 


Designated hitter Hal McRae has nine hits in 20 plate appearances. Brett is 7-for-20, and Clint Hurdle 5-for-12.


McBride is 7-for-19 with four RBIs, and Bowa is 8-for-20. Schmidt, 7-for-18, has five RBIs, and has scored six runs, more than anyone else in the Series. 


Although neither team is hitting superbly with runners on base, each, team is getting a lot of hits. The Royals are 53-for-176, and the Phils 50-for-168. for unusually high averages of .301 and .298, respectively.

No-talk Phils are unpopular winners during this Series


By John Kunda, Executive Sports Editor


PHILADELPHIA – The Phillies most likely will win the baseball championship of the world tonight... if not tonight, surely tomorrow night. 


And that's fine – for the franchise… fine for the millions of fans in Eastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey who have waited so patiently and rooted so hard for so little reward all these years. 


The 1980 Phillies stand a tar better than even chance of healing past heartaches. Stand by for a celebration that could knock William Penn right off his perch at City Hall. 


To be perfectly honest, though, if the Phillies do finally win a World Series title, it's going to be strictly a hometown success. 


Outside of this area, almost nobody gives a hoot about the Phillies. And those who do, have nothing favorable to say. The outsiders would rather see this team fall flat on its egotistical, arrogant face. 


Don't get me wrong I'd love to see the Phillies win. I want them to win. Pardon the homer expression, but they are "our" team. It would be nice to have a champion around the house. 


I want the Phillies to win for Ruly Carpenter, for Paul Owens and for Dallas Green. They are solid baseball men who are respected by their peers. 


But the monsters on the field? You've got to wonder who created them. 


They are not a popular bunch, and I don't mean just in Kansas City, where the Phillies' road show was looked at like an outlaw gang riding in to shoot up the town. The team's bad-guys reputation has spread beyond Kansas City. 


The World Series is a showcase – the bad as well as the good. Like the man from Boston said: "I thought the Red Sox were tough to deal with, but these guys (the Phillies) make the Red Sox look like All-Americans." 


Some may point an accusing finger at the media for creating the monsters. They will say the meddling media caused it all. 


There may be some truth to that, and the players know the media people who like to stir the pot. It doesn't seem right, though, for them to carry the grudge nationally. 


Why should the writers from Kansas City, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco or wherever be subjected to blatant arrogance from a kid pitcher who, instead of shoving his way past a group of writers, should be calling them "mister." 


Why should Dallas Green have to stand in front of hundreds of writers making excuses for his players when they don't show up for a press conference at which the other team is represented? 


It's been said here before that professional athletes are in a public profession. Yet, so many of them – especially this bunch – seem to want to be left alone. 


Privacy is fine, to a certain degree; but it can't be total. 


Not all the Phillies have this negative, anti-social attitude, but there are enough of them to tarnish the image. 


Thank goodness for Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, Tug McGraw, Manny Trillo, Lonnie Smith and others. Without, them, the world would know very little about the Phillies. 


The Philadelphia press has learned to live with it. The local guys put up with the no-talks. They keep their fingers crossed that the no-talks also turn out to be the no-stars. 


But the biggest star on the team, Steve Carlton, also happens to be the biggest no-talk. Talk about carrying a grudge… Carlton hasn't said a word to a writer in eight years. 


Carlton's going to pitch tonight. He should win. He is the game's premier pitcher and he'll have the comforts of home. 


But somebody else will have to do the talking for him.


Carlton took all kinds of heat from the press in Kansas City. It is custom for the next game's pitchers to appear before the press. The Royals' Rich Gale was there; but, of course, Carlton was not. 


A Kansas City TV commentator thought he'd do his commentating in front of Carlton's empty locker stall, showing his viewers that while Carlton does, indeed, have a locker stall, there is no Carlton to be seen. 


While the TV guy was doing his thing, Carlton emerged from the shower. The pitcher knocked over a stool and ran the TV guy off, mike in hand. 


Another K.C. sportscaster begged Carlton for an interview. "Would you talk now, Steve?" the sportscaster asked. 


Carlton turned his back. "It was like I wasn't even there... like I didn't exist," the sportscaster said. 


Some Philadelphia writers swear they heard Carlton speak during the victory celebrations in Houston and Montreal.


While the Phils celebrated in Houston, Carlton, his uniform wet with champagne, stood with his wife and watched with a smile. At one moment, he supposedly said: "Beautiful." 


Another writer claimed to have heard Carlton say, "great champagne," during the celebration after a win over Montreal. 


He's the man who'll probably win the Cy Young Award. I wonder what he'll say about that? 


Yes, it would be nice to see the Phillies win it all. It would be nice for the front office people who wheeled, dealed and nursed this group along. And nice for the Faithful who waited all these years. 


Besides, if they do win it, the long-range plan would be complete. Perhaps some of the negatism would disappear. And even a player or two.