CLEVELAND—So here we are, standing in line for grandstand tickets against the Rangers, trying as usual to not tell local fans they’re about to see an awesome game, when there’s this weird flash and clap of thunder.
But the sky is sunny and clear.
We swap curious looks for a second, then hear two things land with loud thuds, just around the corner. “Hold this please,” says Lester, handing me his scorebook, and walks off to investigate. I pay for the tickets, pass them out to Amy, Fred, and Sherman, then suddenly hear Lester yell, “Get away from me!” We turn, and see him running across the parking lot in the general direction of Indiana.
“Oh no…oh no…” says Amy, her pale face even whiter. She nudges Sherman and Fred, and suddenly they’re each taking off in a different direction.
Standing five feet away, her hair bun off-kilter, white coat wrinkled and stained with mustard, and her glasses crooked on her face, is Dr. Sheila. Before I have a chance to split, she’s grabbed my arm.
“Not you, Mr. Gip. You’re staying with me.”
“How the hell did you—”
She opens her hand. Shows me a set of glowing dice, larger and more blinding than the ones that Patriot Act Inc. gave to me.
“5-Ds. But I’m afraid we have a problem.”
She pulls me around the corner to the dumpster, where none other than Seamus the Sweeper Headley is lying unconscious inside a trash dumpster.
“He’s alive but he’s hurt. We have to get him to a hospital.”
“Screw that, I’ll miss the game!”
She gives me that calm, fake smile she’s always good at. “No more games, Carlton. We’ve been trying to get these new dice made for weeks so we could find you. And now we have, so I think the first thing we need to do is get you back to the ward for a little rest.”
“But what about my friends? You can’t just leave ’em—”
“Exactly. Which is why I’ll be coming back.”
I try to slip free but she keeps a grip on my arm, tosses the dice against the wall—
And nothing happens.
“Gee,” I said, “Bummer.” She grabs them again, tried another roll. Dead. Looks at me with panicked eyes.
“Where’s your dice? Still have them?”
I glance around, take two steps backward and drop them into a storm drain. She gapes at me.
“They didn’t work that good, either.”
“That’s great, Carlton. That’s just wonderful. Now what do we do?”
“Well, Doc…Guess we’ll just have to take in a ballgame.”
Game of the Day
Dr. Sheila doesn’t let me out of her sight for the whole game, but I don’t mind, because I always thought she was nice and not too bad to look at for an uptight doctor, and I believed that even when I thought the hospital was a trailer park.
As the game goes on she starts to forget that Seamus was sent to a local hospital, and that we have no “magic” dice left to transport us around to games, meaning for the most part we’re stuck on the ground here in 1977 until the season ends. I can think of worse punishments.
I mean, Dock Ellis against Dennis Eckersley on a warm Ohio afternoon? How do you beat that? The Indians haven’t been hitting spit lately, and it’s 3-1 when Larvell Blanks gets them on the board with a long homer to left that bonks around some empty seats. It’s only thre fourth hit Dock’s given up, and he tosses out a few more harmless ones until Paul Dade walks to start the Tribe 9th. Barker comes on to face homer threat Charlie Spikes, and he walks too. Fosse bunts them over, bringing up Kuiper.
Little Duane narrowly missed a homer in the 7th, and this time pounds a double down the right field line, scoring two and knotting the game! A wild pitch gets him to third and Moret is called in to get pinch-hitter Pruitt to line out.
The Eck had settled down after a rough first few innings, but loses it quick in the 11th. Washington and May open with doubles. Beniquez bunts May over, Horton singles, and after Monge gets the nod to face Wills, John Ellis pinch-hits and crushes one out of the yard for four Texas runs. Moret gets Cleveland in order, and the Rangers have pulled out another one. No team in the AL is playing as good as them right now, and with a rotation of Blyleven, Ellis, Perry and Alexander and with the Hargrove and Harrah .OPS Twins, they have to be a strong pennant candidate.
Dr. Sheila was all anxious as we left the park. Seamus was drugged up at the hospital, and now she had to think about how to get the other patients back and earn their trust. I said I’d help her, but it would take a lot of traveling and ballgame-watching to get it done.
“And I’m sure you brought a bunch of money along,” I said.
All she did was stare at me.
TEX 200 100 000 04 – 7 11 1
CLE 000 010 002 00 – 3 8 1
W-Moret L-Eckersley HRS: Ellis, Blanks GWRBI-May
Other Sunday Action:
ROYALS 5-12-1, at RED SOX 4-11-1
Major Bosox meltdown. Reggie Cleveland’s up 4-0 on Leonard, of all people, when Mayberry homers in the 7th. And Porter homers in the 8th. And with two outs in the 9th Joe Lahoud gets a pinch single, Poquette and Cowens hit back-to-back triples and Brett singles in the winner.
W-Leonard L-Cleveland HRS: Mayberry, Porter, Rice, Hobson GWRBI-Brett
at YANKEES 2-6-0, TWINS 1-7-1
Well, as reported on last night’s Tweetcast, Carew singles in the only Twin run to stretch The Streak to 46 games, but a two-run homer by that man Zeber in the 7th gives the Yanks the game. Minnesota leaving 12 on base helps.
W-Gullett L-Goltz SV-Lyle HR: Zeber GWRBI-Zeber
at ORIOLES 13-15-0, WHITE SOX 1-4-1
Every bad roll the Birds got in the last week is reversed, as they drive Barrios out of the game with a six-run 5th and cruise from there.
W-Grimsley L-Barrios HRS: Downing, Murray, Singleton, Dauer GWRBI-Singleton
at PIRATES 4-8-1, ASTROS 3-8-0
Then we have Houston’s daily torture with the Pirates, and the third straight game they’ve dropped to them by one run and with a late lead. Unable to pummel Odell Jones like they should, Parker finally gets around to getting on base for the fourth straight time, driving home Oliver with a clinching double.
W-Jones L-Andujar SV-Gossage GWRBI-Parker
at PIRATES 7-10-1, ASTROS 6-10-1
Make that four straight one-run losses to the Bucs and eight out of nine for the year. This time Houston ties the game 6-6 in the 9th after being unable to pummel the awful Larry Demery for eight innings, then loses it anyway on a freakish Fernando Gonzalez double off Forsch in the last of the 9th.
W-Gossage L-Forsch GWRBI-Gonzalez
at REDS 2-5-0, CARDS 1-5-1
With Seaver nearly matching him, Bob Forsch takes a 2-hit shuout to the 8th, when Griffey singles with two outs and Foster parks one. Ouch.
W-Seaver L-Forsch HR: Foster GWRBI-Foster
CARDS 4-12-1, at REDS 2-7-0
Mirror image nightcap, as extra spot starter Gary Nolan gets the call and takes a 2-0 lead to the 7th. Templeton singles in a run there, then belts a 3-run job off him in the 9th. Hrabosky makes things interesting by putting two Reds on with one out, but Bench raps into a DP to end it.
W-Schultz L-Nolan SV-Hrabosky HRS: Templeton, Bench GWRBI-Templeton
at PHILLIES 4-9-2, CUBS 3-9-3
Reed should have an easier time beating Krukow than this, but it’s a fight all the way, mostly because Schmidt fails in nearly every one of his clutch at bats. Schmitty has a been a serious disappointment all year, but if he finally starts hitting, look out for Philly.
W-Reed L-Krukow SV-Garber HRS: Wallis, Trillo GWRBI-Maddox
CUBS 6-8-2, PHILLIES 3-8-0
Dan Warthen starts for the Phils, Schmidt leads off, and the Cubs are unimpressed.
W-Broberg L-Warthen SV-Sutter HRS: Trillo, Swisher, Hebner GWRBI-Swisher
at EXPOS 6-17-1, DODGERS 4-8-1
Tommy John is miserable again, Charlie Hough is worse, and L.A. is lucky Montreal only plates six runs with all the hits they get. Cey has a wretched game, whiffing four times and booting a double play ball with a webbed foot to launch the Expos’ winning rally in the 7th.
W-Stanhouse L-Hough SV-Kerrigan GWRBI-Cromartie
American League through Sunday, June 1
National League through Sunday, June 1