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.
McCarver fills in for Boone and babbles a 3-run homer out of the park in the 1st. The Dodgers take five innings to tie it up, before Christenson triples, Johnstone singles, Maddux singles, steals second, Luzinski doubles and that’s that. L.A. strands 12 runners, including the bases filled against McGraw in the 9th, and drops a game and a half out again.
* * *
Then there’s the company we keep. Sheila did recover from her double Pirates disaster to drive to Veterans Stadium with me, and we’re delighted and shocked to not only find Sherman, but Lester, Friendly Fred, Little Me, and even that Texas sportswriter Peachy Calhoun in the same box seat section. With everyone in the same great spirits. Seamus is also there, having somehow been given the tickets at the last minute. Sheila asks him what’s going on and he says, “Later, Doc. When Patriot Act Inc. buys everyone dinner at the best place in town.”
And what a place it is: Le Bec-Fin on Walnut Street, gourmet French food for Bastille Day. Crabcrake green beans, prime petit filet Armagnac, Jerusalem artichoke, pecan sour cream coffee cake for dessert and we’re thinking, when did we die and go to heaven?
The first thing Seamus does after he stands with his glass of pinot is apologize. For keeping us all in the dark, especially me, and I have to say I hardly remember him being my uncle. Patriot Act Inc., the shady corporation who first gave me the 4-D dice and contracted Seamus to keep an eye on me, has apparently been trying to develop a technology called VISTT, or Virtual Internal Sports Time Travel, where fans can pick their favorite team from any major sport and go back in time to “be there” for their greatest moments. If the technology flies it can be a virtual gold mine. This 1977 replay I’ve been enlisted to do? A slimy ruse to get a “beta tester” for the project.
Except now that the other hospital inmates have been trapped in the past with me, Patriot Act Inc. has expanded their research and changed their agenda. “They’ve been in touch with me since my concussion,” says Seamus, “through an audio microchip they planted in my head six months ago. Anyway, after we nab Amy Gulliver at the Dodgers game in Cincinnati tomorrow, if we can just stay together for the rest of the season all our needs will be provided, and we’ll be beamed from one baseball park to another the way you all were when you first arrived.”
“So what’s the catch?” I ask. Seamus pours himself another glass of wine before continuing. “We’re all rooting for different teams here. Patriot Act believes…that whichever club wins the ’77 replay, also has the fans with the strongest rooting interest. Meaning…the member of our group whose team goes all the way will serve as the VISTT model, be allowed to go back to the present and be released from Squallpocket Hospital.”
Stunned silence fills our private dining room. “So what about the rest of us?” Sherman blurts out, “We all go poof or something?” Seamus lets out a deep sigh, and we already know the awful answer.
“TSE, they’re calling it. Time Segment Evaporation. It ain’t pretty. But I’m still negotiating with them, I promise.”
I grab my salad fork, rush up and hold it to his neck. “You better negotiate, buddy boy…”
“And Lester roots for five teams at once!” yells Fred, “We got a better chance of winning at an Attica poker table!”
“The Phillies might even win the World Series,” exclaims Sheila, “and then what? Poor Michael Spano isn’t even here anymore!”
Seamus shares a dry smile. “Patriot Act can do just about anything with their time travel technology. And they’ve already provided for that. Excuse me…” He swings open a back door and Mikey Spano, still in the dripping wet clothes he drowned in back in the Royals Stadium fountain two months ago, stands there with a goofy expression.
“What’s up, meatheads? How ’bout them Phils today?”
L.A. 002 010 001 – 4 14 0
PHI 300 030 00x – 6 10 1
W-Christenson L-Sutton SV-McGraw HRS: Yeager, McCarver
The Buzz Line
(with suddenly more on the line)
at REDS 11-16-1, CUBS 6-13-4
Doctor’s remedy for Reds’ recent woes: Take 4+ innings of Ray Burris and call me in the morning. Despite Morgan still out of the lineup, Cincy collects 16 hits anyway, with Driessen and Foster combining for half of them. Gorgeous George on a pace for 180 RBIs, by the way.
at EXPOS 4-13-0, ASTROS 3-10-0 (11 innings)
Another exciting Houston heartbreaker, on the road again. Down 2-0 to Rogers, they tie it in the 8th on a Ferguson single and Cedeno sac fly, go ahead in the 10th on a Ferguson triple and another Cedeno sac fly. Sambito comes in for the save, which is like Madonna coming in for a Tupperware party. A single, passed ball and two straight wild pitches tie the game again, before the fourth sac fly of the game, by reliever Kerrigan, wins it for Montreal.
at RED SOX 8-14-0, RANGERS 3-9-0
Yaz does it again, smashing a 1-9 HR shot off Blyleven for three runs in the 3rd after Texas takes a brief 1-0 lead. Red-hot Pudge Fisk adds two net jobs (remember those?) and Jenkins notches another walk-free win, his ninth.
ROYALS 21-26-0, at INDIANS 4-9-1
I guess K.C. bounced back pretty well from their doubleheader loss yesterday. Al Cowens hits three solo homers, while Amos Otis whacks two and drives in eight runs. For what it’s worth, Paul Splittorff sucks again, walking seven guys in three innings after he’s given a 14-0 lead, but the Tribe strands 13 runners and his run support is kind of a factor. Next stop for the Royals? Fenway Park.
WHITE SOX 11-13-0, at YANKEES 2-5-0
Back into their pumpkin patch, the Yanks revert to crap mode, unable to hit Steve Stone while Catfish is busy serving up meatballs to Orta, Spencer and Essian. Good thing they get the Twins next.
at ORIOLES 6-12-0, TWINS 2-7-0
Five straight Bird hits in the 1st off Thormodsgard decides this one. Bostock triples twice off Flanagan, but nobody else does squat, and the O’s inch in front of the Rangers again.
American League through Monday, July 14
National League through Monday, July 14