Nice to Be Sort of Home

LOS ANGELES—I’m what you call a private guy, which you’d probably find hard to believe if you’d spent even half of a seder around a table at the Wayman house. We would talk about everything but our stool problems, and sometimes even those too if Aunt Lolly was out of the room.

What I’m getting at is the three thousand bucks no one on the ward knew I stuffed in my Dr. Scholl’s shoe the day I checked in there, just for emergencies like this. I was wandering around the middle of the country all last week thinking I was getting a blister, until I remembered I had the dough wrapped around a toe and bought myself a plane ride back out here. Hannah wasn’t home and the curtains were shut and the place out in Reseda was all locked up, but I found a way to get inside anyway and will probably just live the bachelor life until she gets back.

The Pirates are out starting tomorrow for another big series, but we still had one left with the Expos so I revved up the old Buick in the garage and got on the 101 freeway around four so I’d have plenty of time to sit in traffic and not move on the way to the Ravine.

Game of the Day

Hard to believe Dodger Stadium is the oldest park in the league today after Wrigley. I can remember my first games there in ’62 like it was a month ago. I’d skip Sunday Hebrew school with my friend Sidney and we’d take buses over from the valley and nab bleacher seats. They had a real exciting team that year, one of their best, and if it wasn’t for the goddamn Giants we might’ve beaten the Yanks in the Series a year before we did. But whatever.

Now—I mean, in this strange version of ’77—we’ve been winning again after a rough month, and the race is getting closer than the beef counter aisles at the Farmer’s Market. Even the Reds are trying to sample the merchandise. Tommy John’s on the hill again vs. Don Stanhouse, and Tommy’s been a blessing, but ten minutes after the game starts it seems like he might be able to drag a rocker out there.

That’s because Reggie Smith socks one into the bleachers after a Lopes walk. And Garvey creams one out after a Cey walk. And Baker follows that with a moon launcher. We’re talking wham-bam-bam, thank you Stan.

Except Montreal is no bag of French fries. Tony Perez belts one after a Valentine single in the 2nd. Carter knocks one silly in the 3rd, and it’s 5-3. John and Stanhouse both settle down from there, but in the last of the 6th Oates singles with two gone. John hits for himself and tattoos one in the gap, where Valentine does all kinds of sloppy business with it and by the time he looks up, Oates is chugging across home.

A double and three singles in the 7th make it 8-3 and finish off poor Stanhouse for the day. Other than me, never seen a guy with worse luck. At least he just pitched like an imbecile today, because usually he loses because his team doesn’t hit. Andre Dawson wallops a solo one in the 8th, and—

Hold on a second…Is that Buzz Gip down in the walkway? With Dr Grossinger still? They actually hunted me down like a dog? This is an outrage! And who’s that farshluggineh kid with them?

Okay, Lopes just homered to put this thing away, we’re back in the race big time, and Ach! I gotta get the hell out of here—

MTL 021 000 010 – 4 8 2
L.A. 500 001 21x – 9 12 0

W-John L-Stanhouse HRS: Perez, Carter, Dawson, Smith, Garvey, Baker, Lopes GWRBI-Smith

Today’s other mishegoss:

PIRATES 17-22-1, at CUBS 4-7-0
So Pittsburgh got a day off for some reason in the middle of this series. Think it helped? The top four hitters in their lineup are on base 18 out of 24 times. Mop-up man Jim Todd tries to start a fight during the Bucs’ second 5-run inning in the 7th by hitting Stennett and Oliver back-to-back, but instead the next four guys settle for two doubles and two singles. Not the way I want to see them coming to L.A.

W-Rooker L-Burris HR: Garner GWRBI-Parker

PHILLIES 9-16-0, at ASTROS 3-7-1
Good things look possible for Houston when Cabell hits a 3-run smash in the 1st off none other than Carlton. Nine unanswered runs later off Lemongello, McLaughlin, Sambito and Dixon, it’s just plain tragic. For the suddenly first place Phils, it’s eight wins in a row!

W-Carlton L-Lemongello HRS: Boone, Cabell GWRBI-McBride

at WHITE SOX 9-14-1, YANKEES 3-9-1
The Yanks at least are winning once in a while, but seem to turn in at least two hideous games a week. Here’s one. Torrez is garbage, dishing out four 2-run innings, while the offense takes another quaalude at the hands of Ken Kravec. At least they’re headed back to Kansas City, where they swept the Royals last time.

W-Kravec L-Torrez HRS: Zisk, Soderholm GWRBI-Zisk

Game One:
at ROYALS 3-10-3, INDIANS 2-14-1 (12 innings)

W-Leonard L-Waits GWRBI-Brett

Game Two:
at ROYALS 12-21-1, INDIANS 5-17-0

W-Mingori L-Dobson HRS: Porter, Mayberry, Otis, McRae GWRBI-Brett

On the other hand, K.C. recovers nicely from skunking away two straight to the Tribe. Brett is having an awful first game, going 0-for-5 and butchering two grounders, then singles in the game-winner in extras after lefty Waits walks Cowens to pitch to him. In the nightcap, George, McRae and Porter go a combined 9-for-14 with five extra base hits and nine RBIs. In a losing cause, Bell goes 8-for-11. In a REAL losing cause, Cleveland hits into ten double plays.

ORIOLES 4-11-0, at TWINS 2-4-0
The first fine Flanagan floor show in many fortnights. He has a 2-hit shutout going to the 9th when Borgmann doubles and Ford homers, as the Twins offense is totally euthanized by Birds pitching in the sweep and the Orioles hop back into third place.

W-Flanagan L-Thormodsgard HR: Ford GWRBI-Bumbry

at RANGERS 4-8-0, RED SOX 1-5-0
Waiter? I’d like another five-team race please. Thank you. This time Doyle Alexander is the crafty veteran who shuts down the Bosox. Bernie Carbo collects three singles and a homer in the leadoff spot, but the rest of the Beantown brigade? Other than a late double by Scott, nobody else reaches base. You’d think their upcoming weekend trip to Minnesota would cure this problem.

American League through Thursday, June 19

Boston 37 26 .587
Kansas City 38 27 .585
Baltimore 35 28 .556 2
New York 34 29 .540 3
Texas 34 31 .523 4
Chicago 27 35 .435 9.5
Minnesota 27 37 .422 10.5
Cleveland 23 42 .354 15

National League through Thursday, June 19

Philadelphia 38 27 .585
Los Angeles 36 28 .563 1.5
Pittsburgh 37 29 .561 1.5
St. Louis 36 29 .554 2
Cincinnati 35 30 .538 3
Houston 29 36 .446 9
Montreal 25 37 .403 11.5
Chicago 22 42 .344 15.5

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