Philadelphia Daily News - September 30, 1980
Bitter Taste to Phils’ Win
By Ray Didinger
Dallas Green frowned and pushed aside the heaping plate of spare ribs. He popped open his second can of beer and leaned back in his swivel chair. He looked weary, burned out.
The Phillies had just survived four bitter hours with the Chicago Cubs, crawling from beneath a two-out tombstone to win, 6-5, in the 15th inning. They stayed just a half-game behind Montreal with the finish line now in sight.
Dallas Green should have been very happy. This was the kind of "grind-it-out" win he usually kisses and pins to his lapei. Last nignt, nowever, the Phillies manager was in no mood to celebrate. The victory, like the spare ribs, seemed to turn his stomach.
"I get the feeling," Dallas Green said, staring into the clubhouse, "We're not all together in this thing. I wouldn't be surprised there aren’t a few guys out there who aren't rooting against us... not to win this thing."
THERE WAS AN awkward, uneasy silence in the room. For a moment, everyone was stunned by the enormity of Green's statement. Here are the Phillies, in the final week of a skin-tight pennant race and their manager is openly suggesting there are players who don’t want the team to win?
Green kept staring into the clubhouse, which was deserted except for a few late-showering players. Green looked troubled, like a doctor holding an X-ray up to the light, not liking what he sees. Obviously this was not something that had just crept into his mind. This had been building for a while.
"The last two weeks, I've been checking up on some things," Green said. "I've watched these guys very closely. I've watched how they attend to their business and it's almost back to the same old thing, the we're-gonna-do-it-our-way type of thing. And we've just missed some serious breakdowns."
Green was no doubt referring to last night's game with this last statement. The Phillies were very lucky to escape with a win. They fell two runs behind in the 15th inning, thanks to some shoddy work by reliever Dickie Noles.
If Cub reliever Doug Capilla had not walked the first two men to face him in the bottom of the 15th, then wild-pitched them up a base, the Phillies might well have been sliding down a greased pole, a game-and-a-half behind the Expos today.
Someone asked Green how he picks up these negative feelings from his players. Green never blinked.
IT’S ALL THE little things they continue to do, things they know hiss me off," he said, "Hell, we're fighting for the pennant. This is a time when you have to put everything aside. I don’t care if it's at home, if it's the clubhouse, if it's the manager. You just gotta put it all aside and say, 'It's We, Not I’
"I'm not talking about every guy on this team. I'm not making any blanket statements. I'd say 90 percent of these guys care, they want to win. The rest... well, they can look in the mirror. They know if they care or not."
For a year now, Dallas Green has been a Don Quixote jousting with a roomful of windmill-sized egos. Last September, he took over for Danny Ozark and he inherited the largest male nursery this side of Boys Town. He found a team curled up comfortably in fifth place, more concerned with finding bridge partners than shagging flies.
Green tried the hard-sell approach. He shook pom-poms under his players noses until they sneezed. He bellowed in their ears until his voice gave out. He has brought them back to the doorstep of a division title only to learn the painful truth. They haven't learned a damn thing.
Last night, Dallas Green shook up his starting lineup. He put Keith Moreland, a .329 hitter, in at catcher in place of Bob Boone, hitless in his last 20 at-bats. He put Lonnie Smith, a .336 hitter, in left field in place of Greg Luzinski, who is trying to fight his way out of a two-year slump.
HE PUT DEL UNSER in center in place of Garry Maddox. Unser is a left-handed hitter with good power and Green felt he would be useful against Chicago starter Rick Reuschel. Considering the way the Phillies had been stringing zeroes together like wampum beads, a change in the batting order was not only appropriate, it was imperative.
However, in the hours before this crucial game, the Phillies went into their now-familiar grumbling act. Larry Bowa threw out the first dagger on his 6:35 p.m. radio commentary on WWDB-FM. Bowa, who does not grant interviews to any members of the media except himself, not only second-guessed Green's new lineup, but his honesty.
"Dallas said he's gonna let the veterans go the hilt," Bowa said. "To me, this (benching them) is not letting them go to the hilt... He can't sit Boone and Luzinski for four days, then when we go to Montreal say, 'OK, go get them' again.
"In order for them to find their batting strokes, their batting eyes, they have to play every day. If they're not gonna play every day, then don't just throw them in against the Expos (this weekend).
"Dallas is trying to shake things up, which is very understandable. But, on the other hand, he's talking out of the side of his mouth when he says he wants to stay with his veterans."
MEANWHILE, Garry Maddox' pulled a morning newspaper writer aside before the game and chastised him for the things he wrote about the fly ball Maddox missed in Sunday's defeat. Maddox went so far as to blame the writer for his benching, claiming Dallas Green "manages for the press."
At a time when the Phillies were gasping for every breath in a pennant race, at a time when two rookies were being tossed into the most pressure-filled evening of their lives, two veterans were tripping over their own egos. I mean, doesn't Larry Bowa have anything better to do than throw darts at the back of the manager's head?
When Bowa's remarks were repeated to Green after the game, the manager sat quietly for a moment, rubbing his fingers on the edge of the desk. He was angry but composed.
"What does he mean?" Green said. "I think I stayed with my veterans. I gave them a chance. Hell, I stayed with them almost the whole month of September. I stayed with them through the most crucial series of the season (last weekend against Montreal). It gets to the point where I felt I had to change.
"I can't forget about every player on this team for the sake of a few veterans. Goddamn it, I'm in this for one bleeping thing and that's to win it. I'm beyond the point of caring about people's feelings. We're here to win the pennant and I'll play the guys who I think can do the job.
I THINK THE people I put in there tonight did a good job. In fact, they'll start the next game, too. Lonnie had two hits, two walks. He got us started in the 15th. Keith had two hits, he kept the (winning) rally alive. Del got a big double.
"Garry Maddox got a clutch hit (an RBI single in the 15th) and that tells you something about his character."
Green paused. "I'm not gonna get into a hissing contest with Larry Bowa," he said. "If I were ever to open up on Larry Bowa, he'd never play another inning of baseball in Philadelphia and that's official.
"I feel, deep down, Larry really, sincerely wants to "win. But I think he tries to be more than what Larry Bowa can be. I feel he tries to handle more than Larry Bowa can handle."
Green has tried to change this team's personality, he has tried to cut through the icy exterior with that acetylene torch of a tongue but he has failed. He has reminded these players that most of them are slipping toward the end of their careers, that they may never have another shot at a World Series, that this could be their last hurrah.
The reaction? Well, he had to hold the mirror up to a few veteran noses to see if they were still breathing. The fear Dallas Green had when he stepped into the dugout last September has slowly, but surely, been confirmed. There is something wrong deep within the heart of this team, something that has kept it from fulfilling its vast physical potential, something that has sucked it under each October.
JUDGING BY the way the Phillies have played the last three days, judging by the mood in the clubhouse last night, the demons still exist within this haunted franchise.
"I could quit," Green said. "That's what Danny (Ozark) did after seven years. He just quit, he threw it (authority) over to them. He said, 'Here, do it your way.' Now I can see why.
"Well, these guys aren't giving me any ulcers. They might give a weaker guy an ulcer but they won't give me no bleeping ulcer. We've got six games left and I'm gonna battle like hell to win those six games.
"What people don't know about me is I sincerely want to win. I want to win for Paul Owens, I want to win for Ruly Carpenter. Sure, I want to win for Dallas Green a little bit but, most of all, I want to win for the organization.
"What these guys want... I don't know. I don't think it's just the fat contracts, either. I think it's a total rebellion against authority."
What could be done?
"What will straighten this out," Green said, "is if we win the whole damn thing and then we (the front-office types) are allowed to do what we want to do."
Dallas Green is talking about a shakeup, something you usually don't hear a manager propose when his team is scratching its fingernails on the door to first place. But, then, this is no ordinary baseball team, these are the Phillies, the Boys of Glummer.
It would be fascinating to see the Phillies win this World Series now, just to see that many players ordering champagne to go
Manny of The Hour
By Bill Conlin
Sometimes baseball is a 21-man game, most of the Phillies learned last night in their 6-5 15-inning win over the Cubs.
Most of them learned that when it's on the line and the Expos are already up there on the Vet scoreboard with a 5-2 victory, nobody is interested in how much they make or how many years their contracts have to run. Hardly anybody gives a damn about their public image. Nobody gives two hoots in hell which eight names Dallas Green penciled ahead of pitcher Larry Christenson at 5:30.
Last night nobody gave a damn because it was the bottom of the 15th on Sept. 29. they were two runs down and there were no rolls left on the dice, no more hurt feelings to worry about. Dallas Green didn't care if the guy who won it was the same shortstop who second-guessed him earlier during a WWDB-FM commentary or the centerfielder who told a writer before the game that the manager makes out his lineup card to please the press.
All that crap, the incredible selfishness and pettiness that this team would feel naked without could keep a while on the back burner. When you're down, 5-3, in the 15th and first place is in danger of slipping a game-and-a-half away, you'd settle for an RBI from Jack the Ripper.
AS THE CLOCK edged past midnight, the Phillies were reeling "Cfrough the valley of the shadow of death. In the top of the 15th. Dickie Noles had Cubs to the right of him, Cubs to the left of him and the baseball in front of him. The right-handed reliever fielded Mick Kelleher's double-play comebacker and pegged it wildly off Larry Bowa's glove. The score was tied, 3-3, and now the Cubs had runners on first and third with one out and Green grimly brought in lefthander Kevin Saucier, destined, somehow, to win his seventh game of the season, an escape only Lazurus or Willie Sutton could appreciate.
Scott Thompson drove a sacrifice fly to the warning track in center. Carlos Lezcano doubled over Garry Maddox and the Cubs led, 5-3.
None of the events which led to the morality play in the bottom of the 15th would have been possible, however, without the grudging collaboration of lefthander Doug Capilla. The Cubs' fifth pitcher walked Lonnie Smith and Pete Rose to lead off the inning, then wild-pitched them to second and third. Bake McBride's right-side bouncer scored Smith and moved Rose to third.
Enter righthander Dennis Lamp, who was listed as the Cubs starter tomorrow night. Mike Schmidt popped up to second and that looked like the ballgame.
Two outs... Garry Maddox was the hitter. It was only his second at-bat because Del Unser started the game in center. As promised after Sunday's fiasco. Green played Smith in left and caught Keith Moreland. Unser was replacing Maddox in the lineup, Green said, because he wanted another left-handed bat in the lineup against Rick Reuschel.
Whatever old wounds Maddox felt had been reopened, whatever bitterness he harbored after what he felt was unfair media criticism of his ill-fated Sunday afternoon in the sun, Garry ripped a single to center and it was 5-5. Moreland kept the rally cooking with a single to left.
BOWA, WHO afterward offered some unkind words to the clubhouse at large about the bleeping worst-in-the-league fans – more than 2.6 million of them will have supported this team by Thursday night – walked to load the bases.
That left it to Manny Trillo. In six previous at-bats, the superb second baseman had undressed third baseman Steve Dillard, lashed two singles and driven three balls to the warning track.
This time he ripped a 1-1 pitch to center and it was over. The Phillies had somehow bound up their wounds for another night. Once more. Dr. Jekyll had suppressed the homicidal personality of Mr. Hyde.
Ironically, on an evening when Green turned to his .300-hitting rookies for more offense, the Phils' first three runs were driven in by Pete Rose, who emerged from a 4-for-36 struggle.
"We got real good relief pitching." Rose said, "with the exception of the one (Noles) error. We just didn't have that many opportunities to score. They got good relief pitching, too, except the last inning. The base on balls will kill you, boy, I'll tell you. We scored three runs in the 15th inning and two of them were due to bases on balls. Me and Lonnie both scored and we both walked."
ROSE HEARD THE talk about lineup changes. He says he doesn’t worry much about the lineup as long as his name is on the card. "And I read that even I might not be playing," he said. "But I don't like to see any regular get benched. I could swear I was in the paper and we're still even with them in the loss column. I don’t know what the big deal was. I told (clubhouse man) Pete Cera, Ill let him know when it's time to start worrying, and before tonight's game wasn't the time to start worrying.
"I think we're still in the driver's seat. I really do. I think well play like hell up there."
If the Phillies are in the driver's seat, who's driving. The Dukes of Hazzard?
Trillo never feels like he's in the driver's seat against Reuschel. So he. and thought it might be his night when he smoked the ball in each of his three at-bats against his portly but talented ex-teammate.
"I really was relaxed the last at-bat." Manny said. "After hitting Reuschel so good, I said, 'Could be one of those nights.' Back when I was in Chicago I was really good with men in scoring position and today was one of my biggest hits in baseball. After you see Montreal win, you want to keep close to the pennant race."
Some nights, eight regulars can keep you close to the pennant race. Some nights it takes a revised lineup and a long list of extras against a team which used 21 players and battled like hell.
Some nights, a manager needs guys who are pulling against him, guys : who feel he has been unfair to them, old guys who have been there before and young guys feeling this kind of high-tension electricity for the first time.
That's one down in final-exam week. It is a good thing that Dallas Green will not have time to record the final grades until next winter.
PHILUPS: Lost in the four-hour and 28 minute game but noy forgotten were the seventh inning Tug McGraw bunt which set up an RBI infield out by Pete Rose and the amazing, kamikaze play the lefthander made on an Ivan DeJesus bunt in the eighth. DeJesus popped the bunt between the mound and third. McGraw went after it with a headfirst dive, somehow caught the ball and doubled Mike Vail off second... Larry Christenson blanked the Cubs on two hits until his right forearm tightened up in the seventh and the Cubs tied it with a pair of runs... McGraw, Sparky Lyle and Warren Brusstar turned in strong outings... Former shortstop Dickie Noles blamed his infielder's instincts on the throwing error which led to the Cubs' pair of 15th-inning runs. "If I had taken a crow-hop I would have been OK," Dickie said, "but I tried to throw it like an infielder." Dallas Green said he wasn't as upset by the error as he was when Noles walked tonight's starting pitcher Lynn McGlothen, who led off the inning as a pinch-hitter. "Walking the leadoff hitter has become a bad habit Dickie's gotten into," the manager said... Unbeaten Marty Bystrom goes for his fifth straight tonight... The crowd of 21,127 was a small but tough one. "They gave up on us tonight," Green said. Rose: "Maybe it's because the Eagles lost. I guess they're saving their money for playoff tickets."
Green Sets Up Pitching Rotation
By Bill Fleischman
Since pitchers' egos are usually as delicate as actors and opera stars, it is not a good idea to make rash decisions involving these gentlemen. Especially in the final week of a pennant race.
Dallas Green is the Phillies' manager, the man with the last word in important matters. But Green knows that managers and pitching coaches must be combinations of boss, father, friend and warden. Therefore, Green usually holds a committee meeting with his coaches when it's time to decide issues such as who will pitch in this final week of this Blues Brothers concert, a.k.a. the National League East showdown.
By presumably unanimous decision, here's the pitching rotation Green announced last night: unbeaten rookie Marty Bystrom tonight against the Cubs, staff ace Steve Carlton tomorrow night, rookie Bob Walk Thursday night in the series finale with Chicago, and Dick Ruthven Friday-night in Montreal when the Phillies and Expos are expected to tee off for the N.L. East championship. The Expos are scheduled to counter with Scott Sanderson, Steve Rogers and Bill Gullickson.
YOU DONT HAVE to be Dallas Green, or even Danny Ozark, to realize Carlton (23-9) is pitching tomorrow night to allow Green to bring him back Saturday or Sunday against the Expos. By holding Ruthven (16-10) until Friday, Green has an experienced arm to start the Montreal series and can follow with Bystrom, Larry Christenson or Carlton.
"By pitching Lefty Wednesday instead of Thursday or Friday, I get a shot at using him twice if I want to, or need to," said Green in a raspy voice ravaged by the weather and/or the pennant race. "He's the best we've got.
"It'll give Ruthven an extra two days rest, which I feel he needs, and it'll put him in the Montreal series. It will also allow Ruthven to start the LCS (league championship series against the N.L. West winner), or I can start Lefty if we don't have to use him on Sunday."
With Ruthven not pitching until Friday it will be a week between his starts. This extended rest does not seem to worry either Green or Ruthven.
"He's a professional – he can handle it," said Green.
"It might be the eighth time I've done it this year so I don’t think it will be a problem," said Ruthven.
TOLD THAT GREEN thinks he can use the extra rest, Ruthven replied with a trace of sarcasm, "Whatever Dallas says."
Herm Starrette, the Phillies' pitching coach, provided some play-byplay on how the executive decision was made.
"We came in early today and Lefty and Rufus and I talked," said Starrette. "Lefty said he could pitch Wednesday – he's not selfish, you know – to give Rufus another day's rest. Then he said 'If I have to, I can pitch Sunday in Montreal." Dick said it was all right with him so that's what we decided."
Discussing the extra rest for Ruthven, Starrette said, "Some you help and some you don't help. A fellow who throws like Ruthven I think will be all right. With a regular hard-thrower that doesn't have a variety of pitches, it would probably be rough on him control-wise. But Ruthven has the change-up and breaking ball, so it shouldn't bother him as bad. A kid like Bobby Walk, I'd rather not give him a heckuva lot of rest.
"Before we went on the road, we thought about the same thing. I don't like to juggle a pitching staff around and Dallas doesn’t either. When you come down to the final days like we're going through, you know you'd like to go with an experienced guy like Lefty."
A MAJOR PART of Starrette 's job is intuition – understanding what the-Phillies' pitchers are thinking.
"There are times in a ballgame I'll ask our pitchers "How ya' feel?' Some I don't ask. If I walk by Lefty and he looks at me, I know I should ask him. If he don't look at me, I keep my damn mouth shut cause he's honest, and that's the way we want it.
"You know when a guy wants out of a game. Our problem is, our guys all want to stay in the games, which is good. Take a guy who pitches seven or eight good innings and knows he's getting tired... the guy who tells you he's getting tired is a real pro in my opinion. And Lefty will do that."
While the Phillies' bats have been dozing, pitching has kept them in the pennant chase. Starrette is genuinely proud that his people have been able to grind out the victories in the season's homestretch.
"Everybody's healthy and they know our hitting hasn't been what it will be or should be," he said. "We know we can't give up too many right now, but that's part of baseball. As they say, it's a strange game and it's not over until the last ball is thrown."
LAST NIGHTS Phillies' rally in the 15th inning reminded Starrette of another strange game.
"I was with Eddie Mathews in Atlanta and it was the day before the All-Star break. We were down seven runs, two out and nobody on in the eighth. We scored seven runs and beat 'em, 8-7, in New York. It was the quickest seven runs I've ever seen i my life. As soon as we did this tonight, that game hit my mind."
That Atlanta game sticks in Starrette's mind for another reason. "That's the time Eddie went in an got fired."
There's little danger anyone with the Phillies will get fired. The only firing Starrette and Dallas Green would like to see is under the Phillies' bats.
Tamargo Helps Expos in Pinch
MONTREAL (UPI) – John Tamargo may not get too many chances to help out his Montreal Expos teammates, but when he does get a chance, they certainly pay off.
Tamargo last night cracked a three-run pinch-hit homer in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving the Montreal Expos a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
The triumph enable the first-place Expos to remain a half-game in front of the Phillies in the red-hot pennant drive in the National League East.
"It has to be the biggest hit of my career." said Tamargo, a part-time catcher who has spent most of this season and his major-league baseball career sitting on the bench waiting for pinch-hit situations.
"I once won an opening game in San Francisco with a 10th-inning home run," Tamargo recalled, "but I think this one here can help us win the division and I hope we pull the whole thing off."
TAMARGO’S GAME-WINNER drove home two runs in the persons of catcher Gary Carter, who had reached base on an error, and pinch-runner Tony Bernasard.
"I enjoy pressure situations like this and I get ready for them," added Tamargo who helped make a winning pitcher out of 40-year-old veteran Woodie Fryman.
Fryman only had to throw one pitch in the top of the ninth inning but he got the victory to bring his record to 7-4.
"That was an excellent finish," said Montreal Manager Dick Williams happily. "This pennant race is bringing out some good baseball, With the playoffs and the world series you see these guys play like they're capable of playing.
"It's not a daily thing because you couldn't keep up that pace."
Williams also admitted it did no good to look at the scoreboard to see how the Phillies were doing.
"We have no control over that," Williams said. "We are in control of our destiny. Naturally we hope the Phillies lose and they hope we lose."
The Expo's were trailing, 2-1, going into the bottom of the eighth inning but pinch-runner Ron LeFlore, who was out of the lineup with a fractured wrist, scored the tying run from third base after Rowland Office hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded.
Wallace Reeves and Frank Szczurek, both of Philadelphia, each won $10 plus four tickets to a Phillies game next season on singles last night by Mike Schmidt and Keith Moreland respectively.
Winners of tickets only in the fourth inning of the Phillies-Cubs game were Carmen DiGiandomenico of Upper Darby, Geo. Vance and Louise Cooper, both of Philadelphia.
To date, the Daily News has paid out $19,185.
Today's entry coupon appears on Page 59.