Camden Courier-Post - March 23, 1980
Phils comfortable with Dallas Green’s organization
By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post
CLEARWATER, Fla. – The name of the game was telling the truth. And, Phillies Manager Dallas Green was loving very minute of it.
"Shoot," said one of a half-dozen baseball men sitting around the table of a 4 well-known beachfront restaurant, "I knew Dallas Green when he dressed like a bus driver on duty, tripped over his own feet on the mound and was downright , homely looking!"
Green tilted his head back and laughed like a man enjoying himself completely. He also recognized a compliment, even when it was wrapped in false sarcasm.
For time had been more than kind to the 45-year-old man from Delaware, filling his 6-5 frame in correct proportions, weathering his face with lines of pure character and streaking his hair with just enough silver to provoke just a hint of envy in other men.
Now, tanned and tailored in a dark blue suit, Green looked like he'd just walked off a television sound stage. "Dallas," more than likely.
"To tell you the truth,” he finally answered, "I'm still not a lot different than the guy who used to sit around this town on the final day of training camp wondering whether he was going north to Philly or down to the minors.
"I was always trying to make the team. Every spring I was hoping to be the 24th or 25th man on the squad. And, I don't ever plan to forget what that was like.
This was Green's first spring training at the helm of the Phillies. And, the watchwords of the camp had been organization and discipline.
So impressive was the precision of the daily routines that the generous portions of understanding being handed out to reserve players and hopeful rookies had gone virtually unnoticed.
“Not by me," said outfielder Greg Gross the following day. "I'm not going to put the knock on Danny Ozark, but I'll tell you that the worst thing you can do to guys down here is to take them on the road day after day and not use them.
"Last spring, I made the three-day trip to the East Coast (of Florida) and got to pinch-hit once. Plus, I got very little batting practice because we were on the road."
One of the basic decisions Green made when he took over the team was to discard the popular notion that the Phils should have three locker rooms, one for the starting eight players, one for the pitchers and one for the reserves.
"We got eight guys ready for last season,", said Green. "When they started to get hurt, we expected the bench to step in and fill our needs. But, we'd failed to get them ready. And, that's not fair. Not fair to them or the team."
The manager wasn't just talking about physical preparation. Ozark had a knack for bending over backwards for his starting players and making his reserves feel like unwanted orphans. Until, of course, he needed them.
"Don't be surprised at some of the things I do this spring." Green warned General Manger Paul Owens. "If we're . going to make a run at this thing (a pennant) we're going to need everybody."
Owens, who spent too many years in the field not to know what Green was talking about, waited in delightful anticipation.
And, when the competition began down here, there were changes. The stars of the club didn't just play the first four innings of a game before turning it over to the lesser lights.
There was a constant mixture of people. Larry Bowa might be playing shortstop in Sarasota next to a rookie second baseman, while Manny Trillo was at Dunedin turning a double play with a hopeful veteran like Ramon Aviles.
"Now, instead of getting one at-bat before getting pulled out of seven straight games, I'm getting three at-bats in a game and then sitting out the next day," explained outfielder Gross.
"It gives you a chance to get the feel of a game. You're playing, really getting ready to step into the lineup if you're needed.
"This is great. That's the way the guys feel. I mean, they feel like they're a part of the team and will be ready if they're needed.
"I stepped in last season, but I was lucky. I got hot at the plate and worked from there. I could have just as easily fallen flat on my face, because the old system didn't prepare you."
As the final days of training camp arrive. Green will mesh the starting team. But, until that time, the guy struggling to win the opportunity to sit on the Phillies bench are being given a chance.
Dallas Green was always one of them And, he hasn't forgotten.
Carlton goes five as Phillies blank Houston Astros
By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post
CLEARWATER, Fla. – Steve Carlton, who has silently embarked upon what might be the best spring training of his career, did it again yesterday as the Phillies beat the Houston Astros, 3-0, in Jack Russell Stadium.
Carlton, who went into the game with a 1.50 earned run average, struck out four and walked one as he breezed through five impressive innings. The big lefthander has now worked 9 innings without giving up a run.
Another Philly enjoying a prosperous spring is third baseman Mike Schmidt, whose batting average is a dandy .692 after he stroked a pair of singles in three trips to the plate.
“lt's a good thing he is hitting the ball so well," said Phillies Manager Dallas Green, who was not happy at all the other day when Schmitty informed him that his ankles were sore.
“He told me his ankles get sore whenever he plays tennis," said Green, “and I told him that baseball's gotta come first."
Now 7-3 in Grapefruit League action, the Phillies got a run off Houston knuckleballer Joe Niekro in the third inning when shortstop Rafael Landestoy booted Larry Bowa's grounder, Bowa moving to third on a single to center field by Carlton and scoring on Rose's infield out.
Astro righthander Ken Forsch was on the mound in the seventh when the Phils scored two more runs. Greg Gross singled and scored on a double by Garry Maddox.
When Maddox moved to third on an infield out, Bowa dropped a perfect suicide squeeze bunt in front of the plate to score the speedy outfielder.
Following Carlton on the mound and keeping the shutout in order were Scott Munninghoff and Ron Reed.
Green and General Manager Paul Owens met after the game to discuss squad cuts. They'll be made today when the club travels to St. Petersburg to play St. Louis.
The Phillies, who will send Randy Lerch to the mound today, are currently hitting .298 as a team. Bob Forsch will pitch for the Cardinals today.