Wilmington Evening Journal - October 23, 1980
’81 Phils’ graffiti: Wait till last year!
By Al Cartwright
LEFTOVER NOTES from the World Series, originally scribbled on the back of my wallet-sized photograph of Denny Doyle:
• Ah, long-last victory, world class. It first was symbolized, traditionally, by the Phillies hurling their bodies upon each other in the general vicinity of the pitcher's mound as cops, horses and dogs – it seemed Security had thought of everything but flame-throwers – kept the howling stands at bay. And when the athletes unraveled and gamboled into the clubhouse runway, there was the delightful scene of the groundskeepers congratulating each other. You win a World Series, it is felt all the way down to the toes – and the hoes – of the organization.
• In the clubhouse, in the executive suite, at the very-post-game Stadium Club party, grown men were hugging and kissing each other. That was the way I discovered that Bill Giles, the Phils' executive vice president in charge of attendance, hadn't shaved since morning.
• Why does Steve Carlton remind me of Sesame Street's Big Bird, with tics?
• For all the hitting the Kansas City Royals did against Carlton, they may as well have been swinging U.L. Washington's toothpick.
• I thought Dallas Green was a little hasty in removing Carlton after a walk and only the Royals' fourth hit of the night in the seventh inning. My feeling was that Carlton's arm, tiring as it might have been, still had to be stronger than McGraw's. Maybe it was, but Dallas Green struck again – correctly.
• McGraw made me a believer – in him. I started the season cussing the Phillies for hanging on to what I thought was a washed-up relief pitcher. What they needed – what every pennant-winner must have – was a great short-inning man in the bullpen. So it turns out to be McGraw, pitching like all the old bullpen heroes of baseball condensed into one. And the previous season, he seemed to serve up nothing but grand-slam home runs and 400-foot putouts.
• I also was the guy who thought the Phillies were nutty for not trading Larry Bowa for Ralph Garr, and then Manny Sanguillen, when they allegedly had the chance. Whatever happened to those two guys?
• Business as usual on the message board, despite the drama of the situation. The award to Commercial Most Likely to Be Unheeded had to be a tie between "Buy U.S. Savings Bonds" or, flashed after the Phillies had put out a couple of bases-loaded fires in the scary top of the eighth, "Fever Soccer at the Spectrum."
• The message board also came up with the typographical error of the year, misspelling the name of Bowie Kuhn, who is only the commissioner of baseball.
• The crowd chanted a heart-warming "Let's Go, Bull!" with each pitch when the slumped Greg Luzinski batted with people on base in both the fifth and the seventh. The Bull didn't go anywhere but out: a ground ball and a strikeout. You may have seen the last of the one-time home-run menace in a Philadelphia uniform. Or maybe that's what the "Let's Go, Bull!" meant – let's go to the Chicago Cubs, say.
• I don't know if it's true what they're saying about you, Mary Carpenter, mother of Phillies owner, mate of Phillies board chairman, but if it is, I'm proud of you. On the way past the NBC telecasting booth after the game, you stuck your head in the doorway and ripped Joe Garagiola for what you and a lot of others thought was series-long favoring of the Kansas City team. They tell me Joe didn't mind being scolded, but what really cut him was when you called him "Mr. Graziano."
• What is this new thing of spectators throwing beach balls out of the stands and on to the field, with resulting delays? Every, time I see. one, it reminds me of Espinosa's fast ball.
• Happy Chandler, the former baseball commissioner and former governor of Kentucky, takes delight in reminiscing about Ruly Carpenter. No, not the resident Ruly, but his late grandfather, who put the Carpenters in the major-league business when he bought the Philadelphia franchise. "He and I were great note-swappers," drawled Happy. "He was a fine man for our game.”
• That was a nifty play in front of the Phillies' dugout in that roaring ninth a foul pop bouncing out of Bob Boone's glove and being caught by Pete Rose for the out before it hit the ground. If they get one more player in the act, they can put on a "Sweet Georgia Brown" record and do a Harlem Globetrotters routine.
• Can't believe anybody ever peaked and valleyed to Willie Aikens' extremes in the same World Series.
• One lunch-time last June, when the Phillies appeared to be a one-pitcher club going nowhere, Dallas Green kept a date with a gaggle of newspaper persons at Bernie's for an informal nosh. "I don't know about this club," he frowned. "They don't appear to have the killer instinct. Something's missing." Whatever it was. Dallas Green probed and found it.
• Why does Dallas Green remind me of John Wayne? It can't be because he manages the Texas Rangers, because he doesn't.
• • •
Al Cartwright's column appears Tuesday and Thursday in the Evening Journal and Saturday and Sunday in the News-Journal.
Unique world champions
Only Philadelphia-area fans love controversial Phils
By Thomas Boswell, Washington Post
"We never had this many people at a parade in Cincinnati, not even if you counted the squirrels and pigeons. – Pete Rose
PHILADELPHIA – The sun shone brighter here yesterday than it ever has before. All 105,000 people gathered in JFK Stadium would have agreed: First prize, at least in baseball, is now two weeks in Philadelphia.
"Ben Franklin must be rollin' over for this one," said Tug McGraw, the glowing relief pitcher who now has had a merchant marine tugboat named after him.
The Phillies are the champions of baseball for the first time since their birth in 1883, and, by a delicious irony that only cynical, often-burned Philadelphia area fans might understand, they have the Phillies all to themselves. Nobody else seems to want them.
Other underdog champions who have won their World Series rings in far less valiant fashion than these Phillies have been appropriated by the nation.
The 1969 Miracle Mets, the last crew to win a title with so many visible holes in their hull and so much desperately needed good fortune, were adopted by the entire country, as fiercely as New York tried to hug them to death.
But, it now appears, nobody much, except Philadelphia area fans, really has a feel for the Phillies.
Mostly, it has to do with suffering. The real kind.
Few teams in baseball history have accomplished more with less, or done it more dramatically than these Phillies. And few have been more worth examining and appreciating. But, they are a team that fits few existing tastes. They are as hard to pet and chuck under the chin as the bare-fanged attack dogs that ringed the Veterans Stadium field as the Phillies wrestled and pounded each other while barreling to their clubhouse after their Gama Six triumph over Kansas City here late Tuesday night.
In the cheerful, youthful world of athletics, the Phillies are frequently neurotic, often ingrown, always complex and as psychologically kinky as the old grandfather who keeps complaining, to anybody who still will listen, about some insult he suffered years and years ago and can't forget.
When the Phillies clinched their division title, they held one of the most disturbing victory celebrations ever seen. They smashed champagne bottles into garbage cans so violently that players were ducking flying glass. The team split Into three parts. Some, like Larry Bowa and Ron Reed, were filled with vindicated anger, screaming and cursing amid the spraying wine. Some, like Mike Schmidt and Tug McGraw, were just numb and perplexed, sitting almost silent at a far end of the locker room, looking at a side of their mates they knew well but would have been just as glad had it stayed hidden. And some, like Steve Carlton and Nino Espinosa, sequestered themselves in a small room and had nothing to do with anybody.
Rookie Lonnie Smith climbed atop the lockers and led an obscene chant directed against the fans and press. Then, most of the players started to chant their version of the country's standard preseason predictions: "One, Pittsburgh. Two, Montreal. Three, St. Louis. FOUR, PHILADELPHIA!!”
Observers who have been from high school and college athletics through every major American professional sport on to the Olympics had never seen so much unfocused, intense anger where, presumably, only delight ought to be expected.
It is not a joke, you see, that the Phillies went 97 years without winning a world title. To outsiders, it was grist for humor. But to the Phillies it was a professional and personal insult that kept redoubling. Perhaps no other athletes have been asked, so often and so casually, "Why do you guys always choke? Why do you lose the big one? Why don't you have any guts?"
No fans boo like Phillie fans. No sporting press examines in more depth or picks at scabs by force of habit more diligently than Philadelphia's.
The charnel atmosphere around this team has been unique for years. The Boston Red Sox are happy folk by comparison. The Red Sox are romantic, bittersweet quasitragedy. The Phillies, if you happen to be one, really were sad. For decades they have been the voodoo dolls that this festering city of Rizzo and racial division have poked long needles into as a diversion.
So, yesterday, Philadelphia embraced the Phillies. It was the kind of loving reconciliation that comes after years of marital friction. The Phillies can be forgiven if they returned the kisses with mixed emotions. Less than a month ago, Bowa said, "These are the worst fans in the world." And Schmidt said, "I wouldn't give these fans credit for anything, not even if they deserved it."
It is because the Phillies have been genuinely troubled that their growth in the last two months, or less, has been so dramatic. They really have changed.
Anyone who has tried to go on a diet, or give up smoking or, on a more serious level, tried to change and improve the way he deals with his work or his family, knows that, after long struggle, the final step is often sudden. One day you're nibbling fudge, just like you have all your life, and the next you're doing situps, just like you've resolved to a hundred times.
"I've seen subtle changes all season," says Dallas Green, who may have had as fundamental an effect on his team as any manager of recent years. "But who knows why a team finally turns a corner and starts playing like a champion, starts playing like you always thought they could. You wait and wait.
"It's only in the last 10 days that they've really sniffed it," Green said earlier this week.
It's possible, although such things can't be measured, that no team in baseball history has had a month of October as harried, as consistently dramatic and as wonderfully out of character as these champion Phillies. Their accomplishments are twice as stirring because, as Bowa says, "We're a good team, not a great team," or in Rose's phrase, "We ain't the '61 Yankees or the 76 Reds, but we been gettin' it done."
Even a bare outline of what the Phillies did in the 19 draining days from Oct. 3, when they invaded Montreal for three games, through their five-game war of attrition with Houston in the playoffs, down to their six nail-biting affairs with the Royals, is storybook stuff.
The Phils, whose modest 91 regular season wins would not have gotten them into the playoffs most seasons, battled the Expos – the most physically imposing of all baseball's contenders – on their own Canadian phony turf. The Phillies came in tied and won two of the homeliest games on record to clinch. Oh, they looked pretty in the box scores, but if you were there, it was tough to imagine the Phillies progressing much farther. When they made five errors and had four runners trapped between bases in their clinching victory, it almost seemed like a bad joke, as though the Phils were being set up for yet another embarrassment.
After the muscular Expos, the Phils had to face the fragile but sneaky Astros, a gang of heady players (like stubby Rafael Landestoy and Luis Pujols, or scarecrows such as Enos Cabell) whose main job was to give minimal hitting support to the best ERA pitching staff in baseball. That's when the magic really started. The final two victories in the Astrodome were through-the-looking-glass stuff. Recapitulation would be endless. Just say that with each hairbreadth escape, the Phils believed more and more that their wheel of karma finally had made a complete revolution, that they had lived through their baseball incarnation as donkeys and beasts of burden, and that, now, they were reborn as thoroughbreds.
That brings us to a World Series that no one understands.
Royals Manager Jim Frey was asked what the key was to the Phils' victory.
"I have no idea," he replied.
Before Game Six, Royals leader Hal McRae was asked for general comments.
“We're better than they are, I don't have any doubt of that," he said. "But, down three games to two, I wouldn't tell a friend to go out and bet on us.
"If I met a Phillie a week from now, he'd admit to me, 'cause I'm another ballplayer, that we're the better team. At five of the nine positions (counting designated hitter), we're clearly stronger. We're not worse at any position. The pitching's about equal. We have more power, more speed."
Then how come you're probably going to lose?
"If I were them, I'd have the champagne cold," McRae said. "I can't say why."
Can't or won't?
Who can say? This Series had such a heaping up of incident and drama that it was hard to find the thread of plot, if there was one. The dense vegetation of detail was fascinating, but almost indigestible. After all, this was a Series where the umpires came to both dugouts before the top of the ninth Tuesday – as horses and dogs were being prepared to march out – and told the players, apparently seriously, "Animals are in play." After all, this was a Series where the last reporter out of the Vet, stranded at 3 a.m., was courteously taken back to his hotel in a paddy wagon. Said the police sergeant at the wheel, "Helluva night. We won the ballpark and lost the city."
Twice, Frey took Larry Gura out early in the seventh inning after only 82 and 77 pitches and both times Dan Quisenberry couldn't hold the slim leads. Twice, third base coach Gordy MacKenzie sent Darrell Porter home on gambles and twice he was out by decisive margins in games the Royals lost by one run.
Twice Willie Mays Aikens hit a pair of homers in one game, a series record. But twice in pivotal Game Five he made bad defensive plays to open up two-run Phillies innings in a 4-3 Royal loss. One play, he waved at a vital Del Unser smash that went for double. Yes, twice with a man on first Unser got a pinch-hit double that ignited a come-from-behind, game-winning rally.
Twice in the third inning of the last game the Royals botched simple infield plays in the two-run Phils' rally that proved the Series winner.
And, twice in the sixth game the Royals loaded the bases – in the eighth and ninth innings. Twice, McGraw escaped. On the most thrilling play – Frank White's foul pop up the Phillies had to catch the ball twice, with Rose grabbing it knee-high after it squirted out of Bob Boone's glove.
Mostly, fans will say the Royals lost because of a pair of slumpers named Willie Wilson and White who were 6-for-51 between them with zero RBI. They made the final two Royals' outs.
No one will want to forget the two best players in this Series, the pair of third baseman who probably will be their leagues' MVP. Schmidt hit .381; Brett hit .375. The reason, perhaps, that Schmidt, not Brett, ended up with a diamond ring and a Series MVP Award was that the Phillie slugger stepped up with 25 men on base, while the luck of the draw only put 12 men on base as Brett came up.
The Phils had a pair of hidden heros, veterans who were in the doghouse much of the year and were frequently considered over-the-hill.
Larry Bowa hit .312 in the playoffs, .375 in the Series and started a Series record seven double plays. True to form, he never stopped moaning and gripping about all the rotten things the world is constantly doing to him. When a sense of persecution is the driving force that got you to the big leagues, you can't afford to outgrow it.
Bob Boone hit .412 and called a fine Series, employing Phillie scouting reports to keep (in Green's words) "their rabbits – Wilson, Washington and White – from multiplying on the bases."
No other Series has ever had so many men on base per game, or had so many stranded. The Phils and Royals had the highest combined team batting average in history while the Royals also set a six-game mark for drawing walks.
In six games, 169 men reached base, but only 50 scored. That was the source of nervous Angst. Both teams could start a fire, but neither could consistently fan it into a blaze. Those last two bases-loaded failures by the Royals were the perfect final note for a Series in which the Royals set a Series mark (54) of leaving runners stranded.
Perhaps Brett said it best. Asked if he dreamed about key at-bats in his sleep, Brett answered, "During the game, I don't think, and at night I don't dream."
And now, after 97 years, those other champions, the Philadelphia Phillies, can stop dreaming, too.
500,000 turn out to honor Phillies
PHILADELPHIA – Chanting, shouting, delirious with championship fever, more than half a million fans paid tribute to the team that won the World Series for the first time in its 98-year history.
The fans lined the city's main north-south artery yesterday for a parade to honor the Phillies, who clinched the world championship baseball title Tuesday night over the Kansas City Royals.
The caravan, with a high-school band blaring at the lead, ended at John F. Kennedy Stadium, where 85,000 fans gathered for the Phillies' victory ceremony.
Spectators lined the sidewalks four and five deep. Thousands waved pennants and held homemade signs aloft. Tons of confetti streamed down from rooftops as fans screamed in a glorious din for the Phillies.
Fathers hoisted little children on their shoulders. Construction workers watched from scaffolds and tipped their hard hats for a job well done.
At Broad and Snyder streets, a south Philadelphia intersection that was swamped after the victory, Phil DiBattista surveyed the scene and remarked, "It's really bringing the people together, just like when the Pope came up Broad Street. The Pope came and gave us love. And now the Phillies are giving it to us again," he cheered.
Phillies Manager Dallas Green and Paul Owens, director of player personnel, lifted their arms throughout the parade as players Pete Rose, Larry Bowa and Tug McGraw shouted "We're No. 1" to the delirious fans.
The parade's most popular player was McGraw, the relief pitcher who sauntered in many times in both the National League playoffs and the World Series to shut down the opposition.
He beamed and waved as he saw signs, "McGraw for President," and "Tugadelphia."
At the stadium, Gov. Dick Thornburgh told the excited throng, "Nobody competes with the Phillies today. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, today is the baseball capital of the world."
Mayor Bill Green said, "This is the greatest baseball team in the world and you are the greatest fans in the No. 1, and nobody does it better."
The crowd cheered, but the constant refrain was, "We want Tug," until the relief pitcher was introduced to a standing ovation from the fans.
Mike Schmidt, voted the Most Valuable Player in the Series, told the crowd, "Take this championship and savor it, because you deserve it."
Center-city banks were closed during the parade, and there were empty desks in the public and parochial schools.
"A lot of classrooms are empty," said a school spokesman. "We don't have hasn't happened in 98 years, and, well, kids will be kids."
Phillies winning formula:
Little things made the big difference in World Series
By Phil Hersh, Field News Service
PHILADELPHIA – In the big picture, it was the little things that enabled the Phillies to win one of the closest World Series in history.
It was close enough that the Philadelphia crowd may have affected the outcome of two games. Close enough that the way a team went about defensing one bunt was critical. Close enough that foul home runs were remembered. Close enough that George Brett's hemorrhoids came out of the bathroom closet.
So it didn't go seven games. Of the six that were played, the losing team had the tying run on base in the ninth inning of all but one.
"With all those people watching, I hate to make the game boring," said reliever Tug McGraw, who seemed to make the end of every Philadelphia victory more dramatic than the one that had preceded it.
Had George Brett heard his teammates above the crowd in Game One, he might not have thrown to second as catcher Bob Boone scored unnoticed from third. Final score: Phillies 7, Royals 6. Had U.L. Washington heard his teammates above the crowd in Game Six, he might have learned that Lonnie Smith fell flat on his face going around third before scoring as Washington held the ball. Score at the time: Phillies 1, Royals 0.
Had Willie Aikens tagged first base in Game Five, there would have been no one on base when Mike Schmidt homered; had Hal McRae's fly ball not drifted foul seconds before it reached the stands later in that game, two teammates would have scored ahead of him. Final score: Phillies 4, Royals 3.
Had pitcher Rich Gale not been confused when the Royals changed assignments on Pete Rose's bunt with runners on first and second in Game Six, Gale would not have watched dumbfounded as the ball rolled for a single. Score at the time: 0-0. Had Rose not been in the wrong place at the right time in the ninth inning of that game, he would not have caught Frank White's foul pop after it bounced out of catcher Bob Boone's glove with the bases loaded.
"Normally it's his ball, and with a man at third, I'd be the cutoff man," Rose said. "But with all the cameras over there by the dugout, all the equipment and stuff, I thought there was a chance he might trip or something. I stayed there. I normally don't do that."
It was an unusual World Series in other ways. The Phillies started two rookie right-handers, both of whom surrounded themselves with baserunners. The Phillies won both games. Royals Manager Jim Frey chose percentages over experience. Twice he started right-hander Rich Gale – a 26-year-old who had won 32 major league games, none of them in the previous six weeks – rather than left-hander Paul Splittorff – a 34-year-old who had won 137 major league games, the most recent on the final day of the regular season.
Frey's handling of his pitchers will be the hot-stove topic of the Series. He twice removed Larry Gura in the seventh inning of games the starter seemed to have under control, twice using reliever Dan Quisenberry ahead of his time. "For the most part I was an eighth-and ninth-inning pitcher," said Quisenberry, who lost both games.
"Basically, it came down to me blowing two leads and Tug blowing one," Quisenberry said. "We lost it mainly because of me, but I pitched the best I could."
No pitcher consistently got the best of the hitters in this World Series that Phillies' slugger and Series Most Valuable Player Mike Schmidt predicted would have no 1-0 games. It had no complete games, either.
The Phillies batted the Royals .290. No Philadelphia regular failed to produce. The lowest average hitter, Manny Trillo drove in the winning run in Game Five. The eighth batter, Larry Bowa, hit the ninth hitter, Bob Boone, .412.
But the Royals, who left a record-tying 54 men on base, had two great gaps in their batting order: Willie Wilson, .154 with a record-breaking 12 strikeouts, and Frank White, .080, seldom were on base to get Kansas City's running game moving.
Credit Philadelphia advance scout Hugh Alexander for some of Kansas City's failure. Wilson, who had 230 hits, could do nothing with a steady diet of inside pitches. White had similar holes in his strike zone that Alexander picked up.
As Wilson came up with two out and the bases loaded in the ninth inning of Game Six, Alexander sat in the stands thinking, "Don't let that kid make me look bad now." Wilson didn't have the slightest chance.
Phillies controlled Royal ‘rabbits’
By Ray Finocchiaro, Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA – They held a parade here yesterday for the world-champion Phillies. Everybody was here, everybody was happy and everybody got a glimpse of their new-found heroes. There was nary a boo to be heard.
There was a parade in Kansas City, too, yesterday. The wire services reported a snowstorm of ticker tape for a noon parade downtown as thousands of fans celebrated the return of their non-conquering heroes from a World Series loss to the Phillies.
Windows in tall buildings were opened and workers dropped hand-fuls of shredded paper as the players passed below in convertibles.
Willie Wilson did not feel like celebrating the Royals' No. 2 status. The Royals' fleet outfielder had been labeled the World Series goat for his lackluster offensive show, which included a Series-record 12 strikeouts, including the one that ended the Series Tuesday night at Veterans Stadium.
Wilson batted .154 for the Series, .100 right-handed and .188 from the left side. He had four hits, scored three runs and stole two bases. It was not the kind of performance expected from the man who made the Royals go from the leadoff spot with his hitting and speed.
As Phillies Manager Dallas Green said after the final game, "The key was we kept their three rabbits off the field Wilson, Washington and White."
Fellow rabbit U.L. Washington batted .273. Second baseman Frank White was shackled at .080, but at least he sparkled in the field. Wilson had little to offset his disappointing Series performance but a running catch of a Bob Boone drive in Game Three that had short-memoried writers thinking back to Willie Mays' spectacular catch on Vic Wertz, though Wilson's play was something Garry Maddox does with his eyes closed – and sunglasses up – week after week.
After the final game, Wilson tried to shake off the goat's horns, but his blend of anger and remorse did little to convince the skeptics.
"I know a lot of guys who would've liked to be here," Wilson said quietly, not having to mention that his 230 hits and outstanding AL playoff performance against the Yankees played a big part in getting the Royals here in the first place.
"It was terrible to be here and play bad. All people will remember is the end, not the season. And who knows whether I'll ever get into another Series to live it down."
There was anger mixed with the pain. "Every time we lost, it was me (to blame)," Wilson said. "I didn't blow a four-run lead or a two-run lead in the ninth inning. Horsebleep! It was all horsebleep! We played 25 men all season long and then all of a sudden it was me who was supposed to lead everything off.
"If we lost, it was because I didn't get on base. If that's the case, we should be called the Kansas City Wilsons. Sure, it's my job to get on base and it would've been a lot easier to score runs, but I don't want to be singled out as the reason we lost.”
Brett, the Royals' focal point all year in his elusive bid for a .400 season, seemed to disappear as a vital factor after Dickie Noles dusted him off in Kansas City last Saturday. When the Series was over, people talked to Brett about Wilson pathetic plate performance, perhaps to salve some of Brett's own failings.
"That wasn't the guy who had 100 hits from both sides of the plate this year," said Brett of his teammate. "I don't even know the Willie Wilson I saw in this Series."
Dan Quisenberry, the Royals' top reliever during the season with 33 saves and 12 victories, was more willing than Wilson to accept the blame.
"Basically it came down to me blowing two leads and Tug (McGraw) blowing one," Quisenberry said, taking time to be serious between one-liners that dropped from his lips like his feared sinker-ball did during the season.
"We lost it mostly because of me, but I pitched the best I could. I'm not the kind of guy who is going to tear his guts out. I have peace of mind."
But not Wilson.
"I might be embarrassed for the rest of my life," he said. "I've got feelings and they're hurt. The World Series was not fun to me at all because every time someone talked to me, they didn't ask about a catch. It was always, 'You struck out 12 times.’ It was all negative, nothing positive."
It is a prospect that is not likely to change soon. It will follow Wilson through the winter and into spring training. When the games start to count again and Wilson starts rapping hits and stealing bases again, then maybe the stigma will be forgotten.
"I don't know what it was, whether I was pressing or if it was something mechanical," Wilson said of his Series fiasco. "I don't even want to figure it out. It's over, man. I just want to forget."
Soothing words from the fans and snowstorms of ticker tape won't bury Willie Wilson's embarrassment. He will be the only one who can do that and it will have to be done next summer with his bat and legs. Which is the way he and the Royals got to the Series in the first place, wasn't it?
100,000 fans honor Royals at parade
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City Royals General Manager Joe Burke said he hadn't "seen anything like it since World War II," as some 100,000 baseball fans lined downtown streets here in a ticker-tape parade honoring the team.
The Royals returned home yesterday after their World Series loss and vowed to sweep to the world championship in 1981.
"The Royals are taking it one step at a time," Frank White, the team's golden-glove second baseman, told a throng of screaming supporters at a rally in a downtown park. "This year, the American League pennant. Next year, the World Series."
The team, along with coaches and Royals officials, attended the rally after snaking through the downtown area in an emotional homecoming. They arrived home on a late-morning flight after the Phillies won 4-1 Tuesday night to take the World Series in six games.
The scene resembled a snowstorm as the parade passed between tall buildings on some downtown streets. Office workers threw open their windows and dropped handf uls of shredded paper on the players, who rode below in open cars. Police conservatively estimated the total crowd for the welcoming festivities at 100,000.
One woman had kept her children out of school to join the celebration. "It's important that they learn that it's okay to lose – that's why we took them out," she explained, referring to the team's World Series loss.
Star third baseman George Brett rode in the parade on a horse decked out with a black-and-silver saddle.
Brett, loose and joking with the crowd, offered to play a song in honor of the fans, on a trombone borrowed from a member of a high school band. "It may not sound good, but it's my version of, 'The Greatest Fans in the World," Brett said before blowing a few sour notes.
Fans at the rally and along the route held up dozens of signs for the players to read. One seemed to sum them all up: "Roses are red, Royals are blue, the Phillies won, but we love you."
Refunds available for Series Game 7
PHILADELPHIA – Ticket holders for the unplayed seventh game of the World Series are entitled to refunds, a spokesman for the Phillies announced yesterday.
To obtain refunds, fans may either mail the tickets to the Phillies at Box 7575, Philadelphia, Pa. 19101, or obtain refunds in person at two Phillies ticket locations.
Starting Monday, refunds will be made at the Veterans Stadium ticket office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or at the ticket office in the lobby of the Girard Bank, Broad and Chestnut Streets, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The deadline for ticket refunds is Nov. 17.