Monthly Archives: August 2010

Seamus Headley and the Ticking Clock

PHILADELPHIA—First, the ball game. If ever a team has their Thang going, it’s the Phillies. With Schmidt, McBride and Boone all injured and having to face Don Sutton with the awful Christenson going for them, winning is still no problem. Continue reading

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Escape from New York

Friendly Fred back at ya, hitch-hikin’ my butt out of the Big Dark Apple. Here I was for the last month, fixin’ on catching this Son of Sam clown and I forgot the whole damn city was losing its power last night. There was serious looting all over my grandma’s neighborhood, and I got stuck in a crowd that was trashing a Sam Goody’s, and then fires broke out and I SWEAR I had nothing to do with any of it but then the riot cops were there throwing us into wagons and I had to knock one down with a tape deck just to get away.

The real bummer is that the Yanks just got to half a game out yesterday, have one more game with the White Sox tonight, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to the Stadium with the place ringed by nasty-ass cats in uniforms and helmets. Screw that. I’m going down to Philly instead for the end of that righteous Dodgers series. See ya on the flip side tomorrow…

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Teke Experience

My plan was for us to get to Philly as soon as possible, because I had a good hunch Sherman, Little Me, and our former, faster car would be there for the big showdown with his Dodgers, but Sheila had other ideas. She’s suddenly become a nervous nellie about the Pirates, realizing they had some meaning in her buried past, and taking in their Sunday doubleheader with the Cards was her way of “facing her fears” or some junk. So go ahead, babe, knock yourself out… Continue reading

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Perfect Place for a Coma

MONTREAL—Olympic Stadium is two-thirds full for the series finale with the first-place Dodgers, but the team’s lackluster play since April has drained most of the spirit out of their home.

I am all right with that, because ever since Seamus announced he was Little Buzz’s long lost uncle, we’ve all been in a bit of a coma, and an Expos game provides the matching hypnotic atmosphere. The light in here is an odd grey, kind of half inside and half outside, and whenever fans stand the yellow, spring-bottom seats pop up, shooting a hollow, metallic echo around the park. Sherman is oblivious, of course, because he’s too focused on his team’s league-leading action, but I’m too distracted to even score it. “Lester?” asks the boy, “How many whiffers does Twitchell have now?” He loves to use the word whiffer and say the name Twitchell, and after the third time he asks the same question I just make up a number that will satisfy him. Continue reading

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Notes on a Midnight Massacre

Today I’m honored to feature a special guest post from The Common Man, who along with Bill of The Daily Something comprises one half of the excellent new blogging sandwich called The Platoon Advantage.  Travel back with Mr. Common as he explores the most notorious transaction of 1977…

by The Common Man

It’s called “The Midnight Massacre” and “the darkest day in New York Mets history.” June 15, 1977. In the span of 24 hours, the Mets made three deals and traded away two of their star players, Tom Seaver and Dave Kingman, both of whom were feuding with club management. Utility infielder Mike Phillips also got dealt. In return, the Mets brought back a great deal of younger, cheaper players, who they hoped could form the basis of the next decent squad. Continue reading

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And Speaking of Vacations…

For most of this coming week I will be off camping in the great mountainous north with the Funky Family.  Tune in Monday for a special guest blogger in my absence, and on Wednesday and Friday, when Blaster, our automated ’77 posting robot, will put up my next two regular entries, barring a disturbance in the digital force.  Peace!

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How We Spent Our All-Star Vacation

It’s hard to believe I had never made it to Cooperstown, living on the east coast my whole life, but the three-day All-Star Series and a bunch of free time with Sheila finally made it possible. Forgot to mention last time that we had just enough money left to buy a used VW van from some hippies outside of Cleveland, which is how we putt-putted our way to Philly for those Pirates games.

But now we wanted a little alone time to just enjoy the country roads, and what better place to do that than the Hall of Fame? Ernie Banks and Al Lopez are getting inducted next month, along with a couple of Negro Leaguers Pop Lloyd and Martin Dihigo, and it would be nice to be back for that, but that weekend would also be extra crowded.

What nobody tells you about Cooperstown is how incredibly beautiful the lake and little village are. We ended up sleeping in back of the van on a futon, not being able to afford the fancy inn we were parked in the lot of, but definitely had our fill of the local sights. Best of all was Doubleday Field, a gorgeous little ball park where some high school kids were playing. Looking at the trees and a church steeple and houses right outside the fence, we felt like we were back in the late 1800s or something.

Sheila was starting to get restless there, though. She was itching to find out how her Pirates were doing, and wasn’t getting good reception on her SuperPhone. Then she learned in a bar that the Cubs had beaten them in extra innings, putting her in a gross mood the whole night.

So today we kept moving, and ended up over in the even more gorgeous Berkshires to see the Boston pops play at the Tanglewood Music Festival. Or I guess I should say hear them play, because that’s where the grooviest adults get a picnic together and sit on the huge lawn for the show.  We camped out next to two couples who swore they had even seen The Who perform Tommy there seven years ago  One of the guys said he would kill to see the Beatles do a reunion show at Tanglewood sometime.  “They got about two years to pull that off,” I said, and Sheila poked me in the ribs to shut me up.

Sheila and me shared a bottle of Mateus and some take-out fried clams, and I have to say it was pretty nice even though I couldn’t tell you Arthur Fiedler from Cecil Fielder. The cool thing was that the lawn was littered with a half dozen or so Red Sox fans, following their game with Chicago on transistor radio earphones. I only made three bathroom trips but still caught a lot of the scoring details by checking in with the same fans.

Then the Sox were behind again, and I was suddenly the one bummed out. I told Sheila it was time to get serious tomorrow about rounding up the nutty troops, or at least tracking Seamus down, because he seemed to be the key to getting us out of this weird decade.

“Are you sure Carlton?” she asked, gazing at me through the amber, heart-shaped sunglasses she had found in back of our van. “I suspect I’m beginning to…I don’t know…dig the scene here.”

I stared at her for one second, then took another bathroom break.

The Buzz Line
Gip wraps up each and every day’s games, no matter where he is on the 1977 map.

at PHILLIES 8-9-0, ASTROS 7-12-2
The Astros need to undergo deep hypnosis to convince themselves they’re in the Astrodome at all times, because they sure can’t win anywhere else. This time their Cruz and Watson homers are topped by Luzinski and McBride homers, and they’re down 6-2 when they go into orbit for five runs off Lonborg and Garber in the 8th. Only to have Forsch boot a grounder with one gone in the Phillie 8th and Schmidt pop another homer for yet another dramatic late win.

DODGERS 7-13-2, at EXPOS 5-11-3
The L.A. losing streak lasts one game, as they smash open a 3-3 game with four runs off Schatzeder and Atkinson in the 7th, capped by Baker and Cey bleacher bombs.

at PIRATES 8-13-0, CUBS 1-6-1
Back to Buc business, although Stargell gets injured for six games after popping the game-winning homer in the 2nd inning. The big shock is Odell Jones going the distance with a 6-hitter. Oh right, it’s the Cubs.

at REDS 6-8-1, CARDS 2-8-1
Bench takes over the home run lead with his 34th and 35th off the suddenly bad Bob Forsch, loser of five in a row. Seaver, on the other hand, is now 13-2.

WHITE SOX 7-15-4, at RED SOX 4-7-1
Despite Alan Bannister’s best efforts to throw the game away, Chicago holds on behind their only reliable starter, Ken Kravec, and another big blast from Richie Zisk. Bannister butchers all four of his fielding chart plays, then turns an impossible DP in the last of the 9th to put the game away.

ROYALS 3-8-0, at ORIOLES 1-8-2
Uh-oh. K.C. takes a game and a half lead for the first time in a while, as Colborn beats Grimsley and the Royals out-extra-base-hit the Birds 5-2.

at YANKEES 6-10-2, RANGERS 4-9-1
Figueroa and dem Yanks do it again, and are now a half game behind Boston. Rivers is tried in the 5th hole and responds with two singles and a homer off Dock Ellis. Reggie also goes yard in this must-win, due to Torrez pitching tomorrow.

at INDIANS 5-10-2, TWINS 4-7-1
If you play it, they will come and lose. Minnesota scores two out of the gate, but Zahn gets raked for five runs in no time, Bibby gets the CG, and the Tribe is suddenly one game away from leaving last place.

American League through Friday, July 11

Kansas City 50 36 .581
Boston 47 36 .566 1.5
New York 47 37 .560 2
Texas 44 41 .518 5.5
Baltimore 42 41 .506 6.5
Chicago 38 45 .458 10.5
Minnesota 34 49 .410 14.5
Cleveland 33 50 .398 15.5

National League through Friday, July 11

Los Angeles 49 34 .590
Philadelphia 50 36 .581 0.5
Cincinnati 49 37 .570 1.5
Pittsburgh 49 38 .563 2
St. Louis 43 40 .518 6
Houston 38 47 .447 12
Montreal 34 50 .405 15.5
Chicago 27 57 .321 22.5

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