Philadelphia Inquirer - March 5, 1980

Carlton stands his ground as the other pitchers run

 

By Jayson Stark, Inquirer Staff Writer

 

"l don't know if Steve totally understands what it does to the ball club if you say, 'You don't have to do this, and he doesn't have to do that.'... Pretty soon you've got 37 different things that guys dont have to do. Then you look around and nobody's doing any thing."  - Dallas Green, Oct. 23, 1979

 

"He does everything else.... I think you (writers), have a hangup with running. That's all you guys wanted to talk about all winter."  - Dallas Green, March 4, 1980

 

CLEARWATER, Fla. – At 1 p.m. yesterday, 21 men gathered on a baseball field for what was sure to be America's biggest running event since the Wanamaker-Millrose Games.

 

None of these men was named Sebastian Coe, Ivory Crockett or Lasse Viren. But one of them was Steve Carlton. And Carlton, as has been well-established, has not been heard lately quoting passages from "Running and Being."

 

But it was time for the activity described on Dallas Green's spring-training schedule as "Supervised Running... Pitchers with Starrette -Field No. 2."

 

And so, when the time came, Carlton strolled on over to Field 2, along with everybody else on the Phillies who throws baseballs for a living.

 

Pitching coach Herm Starrette gathered his charges around him for instructions. Carlton edged decidedly toward the back of the pack.

 

The group queued up at the left-field foul line. Starrette gave the word. Twenty pitchers began sprinting across the outfield.

 

Carlton appeared to be getting kind of a slow start. In fact, Carlton got such a slow start that he never started at all.

 

The rest of the pack was clear into deep center, huffing and panting. Carlton remained preoccupied. Apparently, the schedule he looked at had read, "Supervised Twirling of Bat – Field No. 2."

 

The other pitchers kept sprinting, and Carlton kept twirling. Finally,, the group pumped toward center for the fourth time, and Carlton decided it had been pretty well demonstrated he was running on empty.

 

He paced off toward the clubhouse, even trotted a couple steps. Then he signed a few baseballs, posed for a picture and disappeared into the locker room. So much for the Dallas Green edict: "A Rule for Paul Thormodsgard Is A Rule for Steve Carlton."

 

Even if Green had never put it quite that way, it had been he who first made the suggestion last fall that Carlton consider running along with the other pitchers. Green's notions were that 1) running is good for you, and 2) rules don't mean much if not everybody has to follow them. Notion No. 1 was still big on Green's maxim list yesterday. But what of Notion No. 2?

 

Well, Green didn't abandon the all-for-one theme completely yesterday. In fact, he hired a sign-painter to design two huge signs which read, " 'WE.' NOT 'I.' " And he hung them in the clubhouse, along with the Phillies' division-championship banners from 1976 and 1978.

 

It sure couldn't do any harm. And neither. Green tried to explain yesterday, could Carlton's failure to join the Clearwater Road Runners Club.

 

"It doesn't mean anything," Green said. "Lefty and I have talked about it. I go back again to what I've said. I challenge anybody to do what Lefty does, to go through the (conditioning) program Lefty goes through. I've tried it myself. I can't do it.

 

"I've explained to Lefty that I want him to reenter our program. But I was watching Lefty, and he did some running. It was not the total pitchers' running, but he got some running in."

 

Carlton, for the record, did complete a mandatory lap around the field before the workout, motoring in 43d out of 43 guys. He also broke into an occasional trot while roaming the outfield during batting practice, trying to deflect fly balls with his trusty bat.

 

Carlton's antics could not be found in the "Grind It Out Handbook." But Green dismissed them with the concession that "you've gotta have fun." He also said Carlton's reluctance to run "would be different in my mind if I knew Lefty couldn't get in shape…. But Steve Carlton's in the best shape I've ever seen him come into camp."

 

"Steve is vehement about why he doesn't want to run," Green said. "Those theories are between he and I. But I understand them as a baseball guy.

 

"Look, he does everything else. He worked on fundamentals. He bunted. He fielded off the mound. He did the exercises. He moved around the complex. He shagged balls. 1 think you guys just have a hangup about running."

 

But Green's players know who really started this stuff. And some were wondering about the impact of Carlton's refusal to go along with the program.

 

"It doesn't bother me if he doesn't run," said Larry Bowa. "But the thing is, Dallas has been talking all this team-oriented stuff. It just seems to me that this is completely against his philosophy.... But now what's to stop other guys from saying, 'I don't want to run'? It could be a snowballing effect."

 

 

NOTES: Rookie pitcher Marty Bystrom's chances of making the team took a turn for the worse, thanks to a hamstring pull. Bystrom hurt himself running last week, and Green said it will be "a while" before he will be able to do anything.... Green said it might take time for the "We, Not I" philosophy to sink in among the troops. "Today's the first time they ever thought about it," he said.... After an announcement directing all non-playing personnel to leave the clubhouse, Dave Rader started for the door. He was dragged back.... Lonnie Smith, who got stuck in the snowstorm, was the only player missing.