Philadelphia Inquirer - March 3, 1980
Today, we find out who runs the Phillies
By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Phillies officially report to spring training today. And among the missing from last year will be Pete Mackanin, Tim McCarver; Larry Christenson's bicycle and 30 pounds of Greg Luzinski.
Outside of that, though, except for an assorted Paul Thormodsgard and Lerrin LaGrow, the cast of characters is going to look awfully similar to the gang that slipped quietly into a playoff-free October last year.
This may not be by Paul Owens' design. And it certainly wasn't the dream of every season ticket-holder. But that's the way it is, and since manager Dallas Green can't manage anybody he doesn't have, he will philosophically live with it.
"I don't anticipate a trade right now," said Green after an unofficial workout was crummy-weathered out yesterday. "I just can't see it. Hey, it might happen. Paul has been working. He's been on the phone every day. But I just don't see anything right now."
If it isn't going to be new personnel that makes a difference in the 1980 Phillies, it will have to be preparation or hypnosis or a series of terrific biorthythms or something.
Green figures his best shot is preparation. So he is promising a spring training in which the first objective will be something other than getting done early enough each day to secure the best tee times at Clearwater Country Club.
"I believe you win and lose ball games with fundamental baseball playing," Green, "unless you can overpower guys or outpitch them. And we've proven we can't do that anymore."
So Green will launch promptly into Operation Fundamental tomorrow, when everybody who reports today will begin working out. Former manager Danny Ozark used to deal with fundamentals, too. In the course of an Ozark spring, you could always count on everybody to practice hitting a cutoff man at least once. The problem was, not too many practiced it twice.
Green's drills on a certain fundamental might span the same 15 minutes each day that Ozark's did. But, he says, "if I don't like what I see one day I may come back a second day and do it again."
Besides that, other matters are to receive attention this spring, such as:
• Does Luzinski have to look like a Bull to play like one?
Luzinski checked in this spring looking more like Richard Gere than Dom DeLuise. His perm hairdo is straightened, his contact lenses replaced with slick pink-tinted glasses, his figure reduced from defensive tackle to quarterback dimensions.-All of this might not get him back to 35 homers and 130 RBIs, but at least now nobody will blame it on his weight.
• Will Warren Brusstar, Dick Ruthven and Christenson be able to spend more time on the mound than in their doctors' offices?
All three participated in Green's special Walking Wounded Camp last week. Christenson was largely treated as though his collarbone had never shattered. The other two threw a little but were approached a lot more carefully.
"Ruthven looked good," said pitching coach Herm Starrette. "I couldn't see any difference in the way he was throwing from when he was healthy. In fact, he started breaking off curveballs, and I had to get on him to stop. I said, 'This is the only time I'll ask you not to throw them good.'
"Brusstar threw three times without pain," Starrette said. "But we won't really know about him until the second or third time he throws in a game, Starrette said.
• And, of course, there is the inevitable question: Will Steve Carlton be seen running windsprints, right there alongside Doug Bird, Carlos Arroyo and Scott Munninghoff?
Carlton ran last Tuesday, his first day in camp, then stuck strictly to his Gus Hoefling Stretchomatic program thereafter. Coming is the day he will have to do it; and that is also the day we find out how strong Green's hand may be with this team.
"This spring is probably more important to me than to any other manager in the game right now,” Green said, "because of our team situation.
"I think I've got to break down in the players' minds that I'm not quite the ogre that maybe they thought I was in 1979, and that all my screaming and yelling and cussing are not always meant to be a negative thing.
"In September I felt I had to do things that probably over a full year I might do a little differently at times. In general, I'm not gonna change, I don't think. I think the players can know that. But at the same time, if we get things going, there will be less need to contribute quite as much screaming, yelling and cussing as I did the end of last year."
NOTES: Because of yesterday's rain, wind (25 miles per hour) and cold (50 degrees), activity was limited to a bunch of indoor calisthenics.... The Phils will have 22 pitchers in camp.... Green said none of the 46 invited players is expected to be late.