Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - September 9, 1980

Buc bullpen blows another one, 6-2


By Charley Feeney, Post-Gazette Sports Writer


PHILADELPHIA – The Pirates' relief staff is on the skids, and the situation is serious.


Last night it was Enrique Romo who couldn't hold the Phillies, who rallied for four runs in the eighth inning to defeat the slumping Buccos, 6-2.


The defeat, the fourth straight for the Bucs, dropped them 2½ games behind the Eastern Division-leading Montreal Expos, who were idle. The Phillies, in second place, move to 1½ games behind the Expos.


Moments after Tug McGraw struck out Phil Garner with the bases loaded in the Pirate ninth, Ed Ott and plate umpire Gerry Crawford got into a shouting match. Although there were no punches thrown, the incident will go before National League President Chub Feeney.


Before Ott singled of McGraw's glove to fill the bases in the ninth, he thought he should have received a walk on a 3-1 pitch.


Ott flung his bat away and started for first base. Crawford called "strike two." Crawford, according to Ott, told him to get back in the batters' box. When Garner fanned, Ott trotted toward the Pirates' dugout on the third-base side of the field. Crawford walked toward the runway behind home plate leading toward the umpires' dressing room. They exchanged words, and later Ott ripped Crawford in front of newsmen.


"He (Crawford) called me a bleeping cry baby," Ott said.


"I don't have to take that from him. He's living on his old man's reputation. Somebody has to take care of daddy's little boy. I'll probably get a 15-day suspension for this.”


Crawford's father is former National League umpire Shag Crawford, who retired a few years ago.


Ott's remark about his possible suspension was in reference to Feeney's ruling in the Bill. Madlock incident on May 1 in Pittsburgh. Feeney suspended Madlock for 15 days for hitting Crawford with his glove during an argument Madlock was also fined $10,000.


Chuck Tanner, who has watched his top relievers, Romo, Kent Tekulve and Grant Jackson, give up game-winning hits in three of the last four losses, watched his team lose after telling them in a pregame meeting that the "season won't end with this series.


"I told them to walk high." he said. "Our relief pitchers will come back. They've done the job most of the season. They'll do it again."


The Phillies, who snapped a three-game skid, broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth. Romo, who had just replaced starter Don Robinson, gave up successive singles to Bake McBride, Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski for the go-ahead run. After Manny Trillo advanced two runners with a bunt, Tekulve relieved and walked Garry Maddox intentionally, filling the bases for Larry Bowa, who bounced a two-run double over Milner's head at first base. Milner threw his arms up in the air in disgust at Bowa's artificial-turf hit.


McGraw, who replaced starter Bob Walk in the seventh, after Mike Easler's RBI double tied the game at 2-2, executed a suicide-squeeze bunt for the fourth run of the inning. The Pirates managed to get a inning-ending double play on the bunt.


"When was the last time you bad a squeeze?" McGraw was asked in the Phillies' clubhouse. "In my hotel room in Los Angeles," he replied.


McGraw, who has 17 saves, had not won a game before last night despite a earned-run average that is now 1.90.


McGraw put a scare into the Phillies' fans before getting his win.


With two out and Dave Parker on first base via a single, McGraw thought that Milner had swung on a 2-2 pitch. McGraw jumped in the air as Crawford called no swing. Milner walked on the next pitch and then came Ott. Later came the verbal explosion between Ott and Crawford, who admitted he shouted back at Ott.


It was a noisy ending to what was a routine game for seven innings.


Milner homered in the fifth to give Don Robinson a 1-0 lead. Mike Schmidt's homer in the sixth tied it. Later that inning, Easler missed a tumbling, one-handed catch of Manny Trillo's looper to left. Maddox's singled scored Trillo for a 2-1 lead.


Easler argued with second-base umpire Andy Olsen, claiming he had possession lone enough of Trillo's ball before he dropped it on his third roll on the turf.


Under baseball rules, a fielder must keep possession of his catch until he comes to a stop, whether it is running or rolling on the turf.


NOTES – Willie Stargell moonlighted last night as a photographer for the Philadelphia News. Willie was expected to give the money paid to him to the Sickle Cell Anemia Fund. Photography is Stargell's hobby. He took pictures at the last Super Bowl. Stargell's left knee is still sore and he hopes he can play this weekend in Montreal.

Ott rubbed wrong way by Crawford


By Bruce Keidan, Post-Gazette Sports Writer


PHILADELPHIA – On the chance you are planning an afternoon tea, something fun and intimate for a few dozen friends, we offer this morning the following piece of advice:


Do not invite Gerry Crawford and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Not unless the china is unbreakable. Not unless your friends get a big kick out of language that would make a dockwalloper blush with envy. Not unless you feel three weeks is too long to wait for Ali vs. Holmes.


Crawford, you will remember, is that umpire who earlier this season was tickled by the rub of a glove, a happening that cost the Pirates' Bill Madlock 15 days off and $5,000. Last night, in the final inning of the Pirates' 6-2 loss to the Phillies, Crawford and the Pirates renewed acquaintances. This time, it was Ed Ott's turn in the barrel.


Ott came to the plate in a bad humor after watching the Phillies rough up Enrique Romo and Kent Tekulve for four eighth-inning runs that blew away what had been a tightly knotted tie. But hope still bubbled: A Dave Parker single and a walk to John Milner had resulted in runners at first and second with two out, and Phillies ' reliever Tug McGraw was having trouble locating the plate.


McGraw, it will be recalled, is the Pirates' favorite stretch-run batting-practice pitcher. A year ago, they collected two grand-slam home runs against him in the space of a week. Just seeing his smiling face kindles warm memories in the Pirate dugout. And sure enough, Tug promptly threw three straight balls outside the strike zone to Ott. Which is when the trouble started.


Ott took the next pitch and appeared unhappy when Crawford called it a strike. He took the 3-1 ; pitch and made his displeasure manifest when it, too, was ruled a strike.


"Two Phillies told me as I was walking off the field that it was definitely low," Ott said later, "so I couldn't have been all wrong."


Reluctant to depend on Crawford for largesse, Ott took matters into his own hands, lining a single off McGraw's glove to load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Phil Garner. McGraw then rewrote the old script by hurling a screwball past Garner for a game-ending, called third strike. But Ott's evening was not yet over.


As Crawford disappeared up the runway toward the umpires' dressing room of Veterans Stadium, Ott marched after him, screaming all the way.


"He started screaming to me from out on the field," an irate Crawford told reporters later. "He called me a bleeping orifice. And I'm not taking that from anybody. I came right back at him."


Witnesses said Crawford turned and marched back toward the field. He screamed back at Ott, who was restrained and shoved away by Milner.


"He said I said something about him in Pittsburgh," Crawford steamed, "and he's a liar. If I had something to say, I'd say it right to his damn face, and you can go tell him that, too."


The game was over when the incident occurred, but Crawford confirmed that he had ejected Ott nonetheless. "And I'm filing a report that he charged me after the game," Crawford said.


This intelligence was promptly relayed to Ott. "Am I ejected?" the catcher asked. "Well, we'll see about that. That's Gerry's style, to write a report. He'll probably have me hitting him, knocking him on the ground. Gerry's real good at making up reports."


Ott said Crawford previously called him "a bleeping crybaby" during a game in Pittsburgh. Told that Crawford denied that, Ott explained: "He's a lying sack of expletive. And you can tell him I said so."


It is Ott's plan to use Crawford's report to National League president Chub Feeney as a fulcrum to voice his own complaints about the umpire. "He's doing me a favor," Ott said. "This way I can go in front of the league president and tell him exactly what an umpire called a player. Let's see what Crawford says under oath."


And doubtless we shall see. But for the Pirates, it may be a matter of only slight interest. Unless they can right themselves very quickly, they will spend October watching umpires on their living-room television screens.