Camden Courier-Post - March 28, 1980
Injured writer learns how other half lives
By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post
CLEARWATER, Fla. – Why do I feel like apologizing?
I'm the one sitting here in agony with a left ankle that looks like it came off an elephant. I'm the one who endured an hour of torture during what is so erroneously termed "therapy treatment" in the Phillies' trainer's room.
Yet, here I am doing the death scene from Swann Lake and feeling guilty about not fully understanding how much the Phillies suffered last season and not appreciating what they put up with sometimes just to get back onto the field.
It's Tug McGraw's fault. Grinning like some half-crazed assistant to Dr. Frankenstein as trainer Don Seger and his assistant, Jeff Cooper, keel-hauled me into one of those infernal creations of modern medical technology.
"Now you know," crooned Tug.
"Welcome to the club," said Bob Boone.
"No players allowed in the trainer's room while the press is getting treatment!" ordered outfielder Mike Anderson.
I never realized that they always give you the treatment before giving you the treatment. But, it almost became worth in when Steve Carlton actually spoke to me. His lips moved and everything.
But, let us start this book of revelations at the beginning. Which in this case was an early-morning lob shot in desperate need of being chased. Tennis anyone?
There is something to be said for the sensation of expecting to come down upon one's left foot and landing instead on an ankle. Most of it unprintable. Suffice to say it hurts like hell.
"Severe sprain," said Seger as he probed the fleshy tennis ball that had somehow gotten inside my ankle. "We'd better do something about that swelling."
Cooper, a slim young man with a mustache to match, nodded in agreement and declared that a vacancy would occur at one of the machines in 15 minutes.
Carlton entered for his pregame rub, took one look at the limp I was attempting to perfect on the way to the waiting room and said, "Hey, I can wait. You go ahead."
It was truly a day for the unexpected. I could see the headlines – Carlton Breaks Silence, Expresses Concern for Media. Heck, I liked the guy before he spoke to me.
The wait seemed long. But only because players who had spent hours, days and weeks with similar problems kept pointing to the ever-expanding lump and asking, "what did you do, swallow your chewing tobacco?"
Looking back, I can honestly say I deserved this outpouring of concern. For, in the course of my duties as a journalist, it had always been my practice to report "undergoing treatment" in an almost casual and unconcerned manner. Now, I know better.
They put your entire leg in this rubber boot, secure it tightly and then flip the switch to a contraption that whines sporadically like a miniature trash truck as it's in the process of compacting.
Only, in this case, it's compacting my leg by filling up with ice water, the idea being that it reverses the flow of blood away from the injured area through pressure and low temperatures.
Heroically, I lay back in the beach type lounge chair and followed Cooper's instructions to wiggle my toes during the 15-second intervals when the water pressure abated.
Less than a half-hour later, I was a total wreck and offering to confess to any crime in order to gain freedom.
Give me aspirin. Give me something to read besides the ceiling. Give me a minute without pressure from the boot Give me a cigarette. Gimme a break. Get me outta here!
"You can't keep me in this thing for another half-hour," I told Cooper.
"Do you know how to get out?" he asked with a smile. "That's what I thought."
Players go through this twice a day for weeks on end. Boone read a novel with the machine pumping out water that was 30 degrees colder. I mean, you gotta really be into pain.
And, as Seger shaved the ankle and taped it with a mastery that is worth spraining an ankle just to witness, I thought of what it must be like to be an injured athlete and having to put up with this every day.
"We'll do it again tomorrow," said Seger.
I'm sorry guys. I just didn't know. Until now.
Phillies continue to hit
By Ray W. Kelly of the Courier-Post
CLEARWATER, Fla. – Mike Schmidt's three-run homer and a two-run round-tnp-per.of f the bat of Garry Maddox highlighted a nine-run rally yesterday as the Phillies topped the Chicago White Sox, 12-5, at Jack Russell Stadium.
The latest in a series of high-offense afternoons enabled the Phils to claim a 10-4 record, best of any National League team in the Grapefruit League.
Lefthander Steve Carlton picked up his second win of the spring despite being roughed up for the first time since arriving here.
It wasn't a good day for Lefty," said Manager Dallas Green. "He knows it. He was just a little lazy (with his pitches) and a little loggy. He'll have those days once in a while."
Although happy with the big rally, Green continued to stress the need for consistency in the offense. "If the big inning comes, I'll take it," he said. "But, I'm not the kind to wait around for it to happen. The two homers were nice, but they weren't the only things that got us all those runs."
Maybe not, but having Schmidt sizzling at the plate with a .464 batting average and five homers certainly adds to the possibility of an explosion.
Chicago jumped on Carlton for a pair of runs in the first inning as Kevin Bell and Greg Pryor wrapped doubles around Mike Colbern's single. Pryor's hit-run grounder off the glove of Schmidt at third added a third Chicago run in the fourth.
Then it all came undone for southpaw Rich Wortham, who just got a piece of Pete Rose's infield hit and watched Maddox reach base on an error.
Schmidt, who belted two homers against the Mets the preceding day, uncorked a rocket that was still high, wide and screaming when it cleared the wall in left-center field at the 380 mark.
A walk to Bob Boone and singles by Greg Gross and Lonnie Smith loaded the bases for Larry Bowa, who answered a fan's taunt, "what are you doing batting eighth?" by lashing a single to right.
Three runs crossed when Rose singled to center and the throw from the outfield went wild. Maddox put a 9-3 label on it with a two-run bolt over the wall in left.
Continuing to act like this is his year, Smith singled home a Philly run in the fifth to make Lamar Johnson's two-run homer off Rawly Eastwick in the seventh seem even less significant.
Green keeps waiting for the inevitable "down period" for his team, but it may never arrive. Especially not after he told a gathering of 36 players the other day, "there are only 11 guys here who won't make the club. So, show me right now who wants to be with us."
NOTES: Green is considering taking a gamble on Bob Boone's durability. He may take just Keith Moreland as backup catcher and take another hot bat north with the club... Bud Harrelson has a pulled groin muscle... Reliever Warren Brusstar's shoulder has taken a torn for the worse. "I'm disappointed for him," said Green. It's crying time.... The No. 2 spot behind Pete Rose in the batting order remains up for grabs. Manny Trillo got fouled op concentrating too much on the hit-run and now Bake McBride and Larry Bowa may get the call... Toronto is in town today. Randy Lerch will play host... The first television game of the year is scheduled for tomorrow when the Phillies host the New York Yankees at Jack Russell Stadium. Air time on Channel 17 is 1:30. Sunday's game with the World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates, from Bradenton, is also scheduled oq Channel 17 at 1:30 p.m.
Baseball talks are broken off
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) – A scheduled three-day negotiating session between representatives of major league baseball owners and players turned out to be a two-day waste of time, says the bead of the players' union.
The talks, aimed at formulating a new four-year basic agreement between owners and players, broke off abruptly yesterday, and today's session was canceled.
The meetings will resume Sunday in Palm Springs, Calif., with the help of a federal mediator requested by the owners.
Two days later, the Players Association's executive board plans to meet in Dallas to determine if and when a strike will be called.
"I regret they saw fit to waste yesterday, today and tomorrow," Players Association executive director Marvin Miller said yesterday. "There was no bargaining Wednesday or today."
Miller had met for about two hours Wednesday with Ray Grebey, the chief negotiator for the owners. He said it was Grebey's decision to recess the talks until Sunday.
Grebey said the owners asked the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to participate in the negotiations, and reiterated their contention that the season should open on schedule April 9 whether or not an agreement has been reached.
Miller, who worked for the Mediation Service in 1946-47, said he had no objection to its participation, but he questioned the timing of the owners' request.
"I think this may well be a kind of stalling mechanism on the part of (the owners)," he said.
Miller hinted that the owners may have asked for the mediator shortly before the players' strike decision is due so that players might delay any action until they can reassess the situation.
Grebey has continually refused to comment on the specifics of the negotiations, but insists they have been productive.
Players who ha ve attended the sessions say otherwise.
Mark Belanger, player representative for the Baltimore Orioles, was visibly disgusted with the situation following yesterday's brief session.
"I've been at all but two or three of these meetings, and nothing's been accomplished," Belanger said.
The talks – about 30 in all – have been hung up on several owners' proposals, some of which Miller contends don't belong on the table.
"They came in with a demand that no player can be offered more than a one-year contract if he has less than five years of service," Miller said. "They don't have to offer more than (a one-year contract) now. They want us to take over management's responsibility."
The major issue to be resolved is an owners' proposal to adjust the amount of compensation a team receives after losing a free agent.
Under the owners' plan, a team signing a highly-sought free agent would be required to give up a player, rather than an amateur draft choice, in return. The agent's new team could protect only 15 of its players from that selection process.
Such a change would "break the back of the free agency system," Miller said, since few teams would be willing to give up a regular in return for a free agent.
Other major issues yet to be resolved include whether players should continue to be entitled to a piece of baseball's television revenues, and whether a player's time in service or his performance should be considered more important when an arbitrator rules on a salary dispute.
More than 800 players from 22 of the 26 major league teams have voted to authorize a strike on or after April 1, with only one dissenting vote so far. Miller planned to meet with the remaining teams by the end of this week.