Here I was kicking back on the porch with a Marlboro, halfway through my third bottle of Shiner’s Bock, when all of a sudden there was a rogue lightning flash and these five runaway baseball freaks just appeared in my back yard.
Think I’m kidding? You readers all know my stuff. You know it’s against my newspaper religion to make something up. Yet here’s this white guy with an afro haircut calling himself Buzz claiming that he and his weirdo friends are here from the future and they need to get to either the Astros or Rangers game because something “amazing and far-out is gonna happen,” like one of them life-and-death matters you always see on TV.
Well, I told them that little old Jewett, Texas happens to be smack dab between both of them towns, which got the scary-looking girl all worked up. “That means we have to go to both games!” she honked, so I told her my Chevy 4X4 doesn’t work all that well when you cut it in half. What I didn’t tell her was that I’d rather watch a Leon High wrestling practice than get in my car and drive to some crowded, overcooked sport event, but their desperate faces and overall bizarre patheticness was working on me. To make a short story long, it was decided we’d shoot up to the Rangers game because I used to drink shots with their press box guy in college, not to mention there’s a Rusty’s Pulled Pork Palace to sell your soul and half your stomach to on the way up.
Game of the Day
ARLINGTON—My former good buddy sticks us down the left field line, which isn’t too bad a view here as long as you can swat the bugs away with your program. Lester the four-eyed future person is making noise like he wished we were at the Astrodome seeing his Cardinals shoot for 12 straight wins, but watching a game in that place is sort of like doing a two-step in a coffin, and I’ll take a nice 85-degree night anytime.
It’s Marty Pattin for the Royals, suddenly a half game out, against Dock Ellis for the Ranger boys, and after Harrah and Hargrove walk in the 1st, Claudell Washington ropes a double down the line. Toby scores easy but Hargrove gets his rump roasted at the plate by an Amos Otis chuck.
The 1-0 lead is tacked to the wall and for the next six innings and never falls off. Marty and Dock buzz through the lineups, with the Yanks beating up on the Bosox on the out-of-town board, and everyone in the place knows that if Texas wins, they can be two and a half out of first.
Think George Brett gives a crap? Nope. With one gone in the 8th, he does what he does, sling-shotting a triple into the gap. McRae gets him in right quick with a deep fly to center, and it’s 1-1.
I spring for chile dogs for my stowaways, because it looks like we got a long one coming. Except Joe Zdeb, who went in for defense for K.C., singles to start the 10th. Brett doubles him to third with one out, and Barker’s in to face McRae. Hal insults us with a Texas leaguer, but Zdeb is holding up and doesn’t score! Barker then whiffs Porter, but throws one past Sundberg and the Royals go up 2-1.
But this Toby Harrah, I can’t get enough of the man, and I only read about him when the Babbler sports desk remembers to publish the box scores every other day. Littell, who whiffs the first three Rangers he sees, hangs one a little too high and Toby pops it into the bleachers for dinger no. 17 and another tie game!
The 11th and 12th are scoreless knuckle-chewers, Barker and Littell settin’ up the pins and knockin’ ’em down. Singles by Otis and Patek in the 13th, though, put Royals at first and third, two outs, with Tom Poquette up. Barker stretches, throws, and the ball bounces past Sundberg for another wild pitch and a 3-2 K.C. lead!
It ain’t over till the fat peanut vendor runs out of bags, though. With Mingori now in, Patek hurls an easy Bevacqua grounder into the seats to start the Ranger 13th. Beniquez flies out and Horton is walked on purpose. Campaneris grounds into a force and it’s backup catcher John Ellis for the last call. Amy the weirdo-girl stands and begins screaming Ellis’ first name for some reason, but John grounds out to second, and the Royals somehow are back in first place. They had fireworks scheduled and blow them off anyway, and this Fred guy that’s with them stares up at the explosions with his sunglasses still on and starts saying a bunch of poetry nonsense and I can’t wait to get back to my truck.
* * *
We zoomed back down the road, thankful the Pulled Pork Palace was open past midnight because my new friends wouldn’t let me stop on the way, but the dangest thing happened. First light I stopped at, old Buzz who was sitting up front with me was suddenly not there, and his friends who were bouncing around in the way-back were gone with him! I guess you can chalk this up as my very own UFO abduction story, except with nutty baseball fans from the future instead of aliens. Or maybe I just drank one too many Shiner’s. I’ve been known to do that.
K.C. 000 000 010 100 1 – 3 10 2
TEX 100 000 000 100 0 – 2 11 3
W-Mingori L-Barker HR: Harrah
YANKEES 10-14-0, at RED SOX 4-8-2
Reggie makes up for his overall dumbness yesterday by collecting a walk, two singles and cannonball of a homer off lesser Reggie Cleveland, Nettles adds a blast, and Gullett survives being down 3-1 early as the Yanks take the last game. Martin also wises up by sticking Paul Blair in right for the last four innings. Boston’s first hotel room on top of the league is vacated after one day.
W-Gullett L-Cleveland HRS: Jackson, Nettles, Scott, Evans GWRBI-Zeber
at ORIOLES 4-9-2, INDIANS 3-10-0 (10 innings)
Typical Eckersley game. Up 3-1 late, unravels, and gets a no-decision as Kern gives up a Bumbry single and steal and two-out Kelly single for the Birds’ first win in a bit. Even more amazing is that Maddox and Skaggs come back, and their daily injury is only for one game, to Lee May.
W-T. Martinez L-Kern HR: Bell GWRBI-Kelly
Twins host the White Sox tomorrow, with Carew gunning for 40 straight.
at ASTROS 5-8-0, CARDS 3-8-0
I think my Twitter avatar reported that Niekro was pitching this one, but it’s actually Andujar, who actually stops the St. Louis win streak at 11 with a tough 7+ innings. The Cards take a 1-0 lead in the 1st but a Terry Puhl double kicks off a big three-run rally in the 3rd that swings the game. Houston moves over .500 again and get this: they pass the Dodgers.
W-Andujar L-Rasmussen SV-Forsch GWRBI-Puhl
REDS 13-16-0, at PIRATES 5-15-0
Yikes. Kison gets scorched by the Red-Hot Machine, giving up three triples, a double, three singles, a walk and a Morgan homer in the 4th and 5th and gets yanked. The Bucs try and make it interesting with late rallies against the barfy Reds pen, but it ain’t enough.
W-Billingham L-Kison HRS: Morgan-2, Driessen, Stargell-2 GWRBI-Griffey
at CUBS 8-14-1, DODGERS 5-11-0
I think we can officially say the Dodgers are slumping. Smith gives John a 2-0 lead in the 1st with a Sheffield Avenue shot, but the Cubbies roar back for Mike Krukow, who gets Chicago’s first win by a rotation starter not named Reuschel or Renko.
W-Krukow L-John HRS: Smith, Baker, Mitterwald GWRBI-Buckner
at EXPOS 8-15-1, PHILLIES 4-7-3
Montreal bombs another lefty, this time Kaat, and Full Pack Stanhouse wins his very first game of the year after five heartbreak losses.
W-Stanhouse L-Kaat HRS: Bowa, Valentine GWRBI-Stanhouse
American League through Monday, May 26
National League through Monday, May 26