It’s All About the 8-Track

Dr. Sheila sort of had a lead about where to find Lester. He grew up all over the midwest, but according to her notes he was the happiest on his dad’s farm outside of Elk Horn, Iowa.  So that would be our first far destination.

Lucky for us, the Dodge Coronet had an actual 8-track player mounted on the dash, and a box of 8-track cartridges the last owner had left in the trunk.

Unfortunately for Dr. Sheila, there were no Mozart ones.

“Deep Purple? How can you listen to this?”

“Because they’re better than Renaissance, that’s how.”

“It’s a long drive to Iowa, Mr. Gip. Can’t we just talk?”

“That’s all we do is talk. I need killer tunes if I’m driving. And you can just call me Buzz from now on, okay?

She straightened her glasses and sighed. It was pretty weird sharing a motel room with her last night, even with separate beds. She tossed and snored too much, probably worried about a supposedly nuts person like me attacking her, but smart, snooty doctors have never been my type so she didn’t have to worry .

Anyway, we finally settled on an 8-track of Aretha’s greatest hits, but the tape started gurgling and crunching and strangling inside the cartridge halfway across Indiana, and I had to pull off the road to dig the whole thing out of the dashboard with her eyebrow plucker.

Which was actually just fine, because it forced me to try the AM radio, and I found the White Sox-Indians game on WMAQ Chicago, complete with Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall calling the action, and was I ever in heaven! Dr. Sheila could whine all she wanted to now, because I wasn’t going to hear a word.

Game of the Days

Not only is Caray the second different radio guy in two days to yell “Holy cow!”, but I forgot what an absolute fun announcer he is. I don’t give a crap how much he roots for the home team, listening to him is like sitting in a bleacher seat with your drunk buddy, and he calls every game like a September battle for the pennant.

For now, neither of these outfits have a pennant to worry about. The Tribe’s been scuffling for a while, but the White Sox took a long, unexpected dive after the opening week thanks to splotchy pitching and even splotchier fielding, and now batle the Indians daily to stay out of last place.

Today sounds different, though. Soderholm gets them going with a 3-run blast off Bibby, and after a Bannister error helps the Tribe get two back right away, a Gamble single, Zisk triple, Essian double and wild pitch give the Sox three more in the 5th. Gamble powers one out of the park in the 7th and it’s 7-2 and game over, right?

It would be if Kravec were pitching, Chicago’s only reliable starter so far. Instead it’s the knuckleballing flutterations of Wilbur Wood, and Cleveland starts their 7th with three straight singles to knock him out. A Dade sac fly cuts it to 7-4, but Fromaster Gamble slams another homer in the 9th and it’s 8-4 going to the last of the 9th.

I hardly notice as Bell works a walk off Dal Canton to begin things. Norris bats for Rico Carty but Hamilton comes on to bring up Fosse instead. Who singles. Dade singles off closer LaGrow and as Harry says, from one who knows, “the bases are drunk!” John Lowenstein (Funkyball’s Twitter poster boy), owner of many clutch hits so far, buys himself a special one and spanks a grand slam to tie the game! Holy cow, it’s another LaGrow meltdown!

Three innings of impending Cleveland victory follows. Pruitt doubles but Garr throws Bochte out at the plate to end the 10th. Lowenstein does it again with a triple to lead off the 11th but LaGrow gets out of that one. Finally in the 13th (isn’t it always the 13th?) Lowenstein singles with one out, gets moved along, and Bochte rips a single for the win. Bibby goes all 13 innings because believe it or not, pitchers were sometimes allowed to do that. As it turns out, all four AL games on this first day of action are 1-run thrillers, but the only one without contenders is the best of the bunch.

“Did you hear that game, Doctor?” I ask my passenger. She’s half asleep, gazing out at the passing trees, mumbles”You can call me Sheila…” and falls back asleep.

CHX 300 030 101 000 0 – 8 14 2
CLE 200 000 204 000 1 – 9 16 1

W-Bibby L-LaGrow HRS: Soderholm, Gamble-2, Lowenstein GWRBI-Bochte

Other June 3rd Action:

at RED SOX 5-10-1, TWINS 4-12-0
Carew gets a standing O from the Boston faithful, and he thanks them with a double and two singles to launch his new streak. The Twins also have a 4-3 lead going to the 8th, when reliever Tom Johnson hits Rice and gives up a turnpike shot to Butch Hobson for the ballgame.

W-Willoughby L-T. Johnson SV-Campbell HRS: Lynn, Hobson GWRBI-Hobson

at YANKEES 5-13-1, ROYALS 4-12-2
An exasperation fiesta. KC leaves 15 men on base, the Yanks 12, and after Torrez takes a 5-2 lead to the 9th and gives up a quick single and double, Lyle comes on with his gas can and nearly explodes it, getting pinch-hitter Zdeb on a 6-4-3 to end the game.

W-Torrez L-Colborn SV-Lyle HR: Chambliss GWRBI-Piniella

at ORIOLES 4-8-0, RANGERS 3-5-0 (10 innings)
In the fourth straight 1-run AL game won by the home team, Palmer pitches a no-hitter for the first four innings, has a terrible 5th inning, lets Texas tie in the 9th, before the Birds save his shorts with a single and three walks in the last of the 10th. Toby Harrah doesn’t even homer.

W-Palmer L-Alexander HR: L. May GWRBI-DeCinces

at PIRATES 4-10-0, DODGERS 1-3-1
The Candy Man does—again. Solo shots by Stennett and Oliver are all that he needs as L.A. drops back to .500 again.

W-Candelaria L-Hooton HRS: Lopes, Stennett, Oliver GWRBI-Stennett

CARDS 5-12-0, at PHILLIES 3-8-2
Christenson is obviously lobbying for the Steve Stone award, as he’s clearly one of the most pathetic starters around. Now 1-4, he’s given up 83 hits and 51 runs in 63 IP. Schmidt briefly wakes from his season-long coma to knock in all three Phillie runs.

W-Metzger L-Christenson HR: Reitz GWRBI-Brock

ASTROS 4-10-0, at REDS 3-5-1
Thank God for J. R.  Bench bombs a 3-run homer off him in the 1st and he’s basically unhittable from there. Watson provides yet another game-clincher with a winning blast off Gopher Man Sarmiento in the 8th.

W-Richard L-Sarmiemto HR: Watson, bench GWRBI-Watson

CUBS 6-12-0, at EXPOS 2-6-1
The Windy City nightmare is over; Bill Bonham wins his first game in nine tries. If he was pitching the way he’s supposed to (like Resuchel, I mean), the Cubs would be close to .500.

W-Bonham L-Bahnsen HR: Gross GWRBI-Biitner

June 4th Action:

at RED SOX 7-10-1, TWINS 2-8-1
Two more hits for Rodney (average holding at .448) and another bad Twins loss. In a year famous for horrible starters, add Pete Redfern to the list (0-7, 8.80) who gives up five quick runs to ice this one early. Minnesota hits into four DPs to kill every rally they start.

W-Jenkins L-Redfern HRS: Lynn, Scott GWRBI-Evans

ROYALS 10-14-1, at YANKS 6-9-1
Weird game all around. Catfish issues a solo shot in each of the first three innings, but Zeber and Stanley homer to put New York up 5-3, Stanley’s coming after a strike three pitch gets away from Porter to keep the inning going. K.C. is embarrassed, comes back with five right away, helped by a Chambliss 2-base error. Down by four with the tieing run at the plate in the 9th, Littell whiffs Reggie to end the game and keep K.C. a half game out.

W-Pattin L-Hunter SV-Littell HRS: Cowens-w, Porter, Zeber, Stanley

RANGERS 2-9-0, at ORIOLES 0-6-0
Blyleven curves the Birds to death for his second shutout and fifth win in six decisions. Incredibly, no Orioles were injured in the making of this defeat.

W-Blyleven L-Flanagan HR: Bevacqua GWRBI-Bevacqua

WHITE SOX 8-11-0, at INDIANS 0-4-0
That’s more like it. Kravec spins the first Chicago shutout of the year, and lefty Lowenstein comes off the bench.

W-Kravec L-Waits HRS: Soderholm, Zisk, GWRBI-Essian

DODGERS 4-8-0, at PIRATES 3-8-1
Sutton has a 4-0 lead into the 9th when the Bucs almost pull off another miracle. Hough gets Stennett and Oliver with two aboard for the sweaty save.

W-Sutton L-Rooker SV-Hough GWRBI-Martinez

at PHILLIES 10-14-1, CARDS 7-10-1
John Urrea, one of the unexpected aces of the St. Louis staff, allows the following in the last of the 1st: Hutton walk, Henber walk, Luzinski homer, Johnstone double, Schmidt walk, Boone homer, Maddox double, Bowa single, wild pitch, and double by pitcher Kaat before he’s excused for the day. Far-worse pitcher Eastwick then throws seven innings of 1-run ball but Philly hangs on. You explain it.

W-Kaat L-Urrea SV-McGraw HRS: Hernandez, Luzinski-2, Boone GWRBI-Luzinski

at REDS 9-13-0, ASTROS 5-9-0
Homer-mad Cincy hits none, Watson and Cliff Johnson get two apiece, and somehow the Reds still win. Oh right, Lemongello started.

W-Capilla L-Lemongello HRS: Watson-2, Johnson-2, GWRBI-Geronimo

at EXPOS 12-15-1, CUBS 8-13-1
And NL is totally splitsville for the two days, as Montreal turns around a 5-0 deficit with a 7-run 3rd off Burris and slap the Cubs upside the head from there.

HRS: Ontiveros, Speier (grand slam!) GWRBI-Cash
American League through Wednesday, June 4

Boston 29 20 .592
Kansas City 29 21 .580 0.5
Baltimore 27 23 .540 2.5
Texas 28 24 .538 2.5
New York 24 24 .500 4.5
Minnesota 21 28 .429 8
Chicago 20 28 .417 8.5
Cleveland 20 30 .400 9.5

National League through Wednesday, June 4

Pittsburgh 32 21 .604
St. Louis 28 23 .549 3
Philadelphia 27 23 .540 3.5
Los Angeles 25 24 .510 5
Cincinnati 26 25 . 510 5
Houston 25 27 .481 6.5
Montreal 21 28 .429 9
Chicago 19 32 .373 12

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