Pittsburgh Press - September 9, 1980
Phillies Win A Battle In War With Pirates
By Dan Donovan, Press Sports Writer
PHILADELPHIA – Tug McGraw wore a camouflage shirt into the Philadelphia Phillies' clubhouse.
"It feels like I'm more in a war than a pennant race," McGraw said.
And the Phillies finally won a big skirmish with the Pirates. The Phillies broke open a tense 2-2 game with four runs in the eighth inning last night, defeating the Pirates, 6-2, a big win not only because it kept the Pirates mired in a 5-16 slump, but also because the Phillies proved they could beat the big, bad Pirates.
"The Pirates have dominated us somewhat," Phillies Manager Dallas Green said. "This win was a big win in that you want to beat the team you have to beat in the standings."
The Pirates are two games behind the Phillies, who now have climbed within a half-game of the Montreal Expos. The Phillies know the war is far from over, but a win tonight with chief cannon Steve Carlton pitching would severely wound the Pirates.
The Pirates still lead the season series, 10 games to five, and McGraw Clearly remembers the 1979 season, when the Pirates overran the Phillies. He was among those trampled, as, within the space of a week, John Milner and Ed Ott won games by hitting grand slams against him.
Coincidentally, when McGraw relieved starter Bob Walk with the score tied, 2-2, and a runner on second in the Seventh, the upcoming Pirate batters were John Milner and Ed Ott.
"Don't think I didn't know it," McGraw said. "And 40,000 fans knew it and reminded me of it. I knew Milner and Ott wouldn't hit grand slams, because the bases weren't loaded."
McGraw walked Milner and Ott flied out. Phil Garner hit into a fielder's choice, ending one of those tense late-inning threats on which the Pirates used to capitalize.
"The Pirates are still scratchin' and clawin' at you until the final out," Green said. "But tonight they didn't get the big hit they always seem to get against us. And they didn't get the big out they always seem to get against us, too."
The Pirate bullpen failed to get the big out in the eighth. Bake McBride hit a solid single to right, and Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski chinked Romo with broken-bat hits, scoring a run.
A sacrifice bunt by Manny Trillo and an intentional walk to Garry Maddox brought on a confrontation between Pirate reliever Kent Tekulve and Phillie shortstop Larry Bowa with the bases loaded.
Bowa hammered the ball into the artificial turf, and it bounced so high over first baseman Milner's head, all he could do was wave his glove and swear at it.
Two runs scored and McGraw drove another home with a squeeze bunt.
"I know they're going to say we didn't hit the ball very hard," Schmidt said, "but I seem to remember some of the same hits beating us in Three Rivers Stadium."
True, Pirate Manager Chuck Tanner did talk about the cheap hits, more to exonerate his bullpen than to diminish the Phillies' win.
The bullpen is the latest faction of the Pirates to go sour. In three of the last four games, Tekulve, Grant Jackson and Romo have been victimized.
"Two broken-bat hits and a high chopper beat us," Tanner said. "I can't criticize my bullpen. Without them, we wouldn't be here. They're leading the Rolaids competition (as the bullpen with most wins and saves). They're pitching as well as they did last year, but you can't expect them to be perfect all the time."
McGraw was hardly perfect in the ninth. With a runner on first and two out, he thought Milner swung at a third strike and leaped off the mound, his arms upstretched.
But home plate umpire Gerry Crawford and third base umpire Nick Colosi ruled Milner didn't swing.
McGraw eventually walked Milner, fell behind Ott and surrendered a single before striking Garner out to end the game.
"I let it all hang out when the game ends," McGraw said. "Whatever is in me, I let it all bust loose. When it wasn't the end of the game, I had to regroup and build it all back up again. It took me two batters to do that."
McGraw is pitching much better than he did last year, when he finished with a 5.14 earned run average and a record-tying four grand slams.
This year he has 17 saves, a 1.90 ERA, and, though yesterday's was his first win, be considers that a good omen.
"In 1973, I didn't get my first win until August (for the New York Mets)," McGraw said. "That year we went to the seventh game of the World Series before we lost. I didn't get my first win until September this year, so that means well probably win the World Series."
McGraw will continue to wear his camouflage jacket, especially if the Phillies play the Dodgers in the playoffs.
"I bought it in Los Angeles when Davey Lopes said he'd kill me, even if it took eight years, after I hit Bill Russell with a pitch," McGraw said. "I asked Davey to wait to the end of the eight years so my wife could get the extra time in the pension. It's quite a compliment for him to think I'll still be around for eight years."
PIRATE NOTES – Tanner predicted the National League East will take the fewest victories to win the title since 1975, when the Pirates won with 92 wins and predicted that "since streaks follow streaks," the Pirates were due to go on a seven- or eight-game winning streak.
Bake McBride broke out of a hitting slump with four straight hits last night. Mike Schmidt hit his 37th home run and 22 have come at home. Five of his homers have come off Pirate pitching.
Tonight's game matching the Phils' Steve Carlton and John Candelaria will start at 8:15.
Crawford-Ott Feud Festers
By Dan Donovan, Press Sports Writer
PHILADELPHIA – Ed Ott was thrown out of a baseball game after it was over. If that's possible.
The Pirates' 6-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies last night was well over and home plate umpire Gerry Crawford admitted he was well up the runway under the stands before he returned to the field to jaw nose-to-nose with Ott and throw him out of a game that was, by this time, several minutes over.
The incident had a firm base in history and, when the story of the 1980 Pirate season is written, Crawford will be a big part of it.
Crawford is the umpire Bill Madlock poked in the face with his glove. In later games, the Pirates accused the umpiring crew Crawford worked with that day of bending over backwards to help the other team. And last night Ott charged that Crawford "has a chip on his shoulder for the Pirates."
Ott said he contemplated hashing the whole thing out with Crawford before the game began.
"In the first inning I wanted to come up to him and tell him I'm not a crybaby," Ott said, "He called me a bleeping crybaby in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago. He called a ball up at my chin a strike and I said something, and I didn't use any profanity. Going off the field, he tells people I'm a bleeping crybaby. I take that personally. I never argue unless I think I'm right."
Ott came to bat in the ninth with two runners on base, two outs and the Pirates trailing by four runs. He knew his job was to get on base and bring the tying run to the plate. When Philadelphia pitcher 'Tug McGraw fell behind 3-0, Ott took the next pitch. Thinking it a ball, he started to throw his bat and take first base.
Crawford called it a strike.
"He said something to make me mad, I'm not sure what it was, so I said something back to him," Ott said.
Ott took the next pitch, throwing his bat to the batboy before realizing Crawford called it a strike, too. "The 3-0 pitch could have been a strike," Ott said. "I thought it was high, but I dipped my shoulder down and it could have been close. The 3-1 pitch was definitely low."
Ott and Crawford jawed again and Ott, knowing he would have to swing at the 3-2 pitch, walked to the pine tar bag to cool down as much as to fix his bat.
Ott reached first, singling off McGraw's glove, but when Phil Garner was called out on strikes to end the game, Ott spouted off. By the time he reached home plate, Crawford heard him and came out of the runway to answer back.
Ott ran from home plate to the runway, almost bumping into Crawford before teammates and umpires separated them.
"He called me a bleeping bleep," Crawford said. "I don't have to take that from anyone. He wanted an argument, so he was going to get one."
Crawford belongs to the umpiring school promoted by his father, Shag Crawford. Instead of walking away from arguments, umpires in the Crawford school give it right back to the players.
"Crawford is living on his father's reputation," Ott said. "I feel sorry for him. In the first inning, he said Greg Luzinski walked on a ball he foul tipped.
"Crawford said if Luzinski did tip it, he didn't hear it and the sound must have been drowned out by the fans," Ott related. "Then, after the game is over, he says he hears me saying things when he's 25 feet up the runway and 40,000 fans are screaming because the Phillies won a big ballgame. What is he, far-hearing?"
Pirate Manager Chuck Tanner was halfway to the clubhouse and didn't see the post-game ejection. He sympathized with Ott's frustration in the ninth.
"Eddie wanted to get on base so badly," Tanner said. "He wanted to win a game in the pennant race."
Philadelphia Manager Dallas Green said the argument indicated how frustrated the Pirates are with their 16 losses in the last 21 games.