Pirate Plunge into a Red Abyss

Noticed a whole bunch of folks wearing Reds hats walking around the last few days here at Cedar Point Park, what with their ball club storming the National League bastille and all. And with Cincy home for three with first place Pittsburgh, including a Fourth of July double-dipper tomorrow, there was no way Crazy Amy was missing that action.

I tried to fall asleep earlier in my maintenance shack so I could get up at the crack of dawn, but somebody was snooping around it in the middle of the night and I had trouble falling back asleep. It wasn’t any night watchman either because he didn’t have a flashlight, and there was a creepy deep breathing I’d never heard before.

So I was plenty spooked when I creaked the door open this morning and peeked out. Got my behind out of the park and onto a bus for Cincinnati, my Egg McMuffin shaking in my hand while I ate it.

Boy, was Riverfront Stadium ever packed! It was one of those matinee games with camp groups making a racket, and business dudes in their shirtsleeves skipping work, and I’d never seen so many killer sideburns in one place in my life. My hopes of seeing Bill Plummer play weren’t in the cards, especially the way Bench has been hitting, but I didn’t care. The pennant race tension was more than entertaining.

Game of the Day

It’s a battle of lefties, Reuss and Capilla, neither guy doing squat lately. Capilla sets the Bucs down on three ground balls in the first, while Reuss gives up a Griffey single but gets Rose to rap into a DP. Not-so-gorgeous George Foster then leads off the Reds 2nd with a laser beam of a homer into the upper deck, his 34th of the year (on pace for 65, by the way), and the stadium goes mental.

Reuss bears down right away and gets the next six hitters on ground outs, but loses it all over again in the 4th. Griffey and Rose open with line singles, and Foster works a walk. Bench whiffs even though I’m up on my seat screaming for him, but Driessen walks in a run, Concepcion singles in a second one, Geronimo walks in a third, and pitcher Capilla slices a single into left for two more! It’s 6-0, strangers are hugging, and I barely notice when someone comes up behind me and puts their hand on my shoulder. I spin around—

“What happened to your friends, Miss Gulliver?” says a tall guy with mirrored shades and a bandage on his head. I’m standing there looking right at Seamus Headley, in all his creepy glory. The bastard must have spotted me when I checked in on him at the Cleveland hospital, and since then snooped around my shack and followed me down here!

“I have no clue where they are, so get lost.” He grabs my arm, sits me down and takes the empty seat beside me.

“Don’t get excited,” he says, “All I want do is find Buzz Gip.”

“And not Dr. Sheila? Didn’t you guys time-travel here together?”

“Let’s just say…we don’t see eye to eye. The Pirates aren’t out of this thing yet. Finish enjoying the game and then we’ll find a place to talk.”

There isn’t much left to enjoy. Pittsburgh opens the 7th with two singles and Sarmiento comes on to retire pinch-hitter Pops Stargell, give up an RBI single to Stennett but escapes with just one run scored. Fryman and Hume pitch the 9th, the crowd explodes, and our Reds are a mere half game out of first!

“Didn’t know you were a baseball fan,” I say to Seamus as he escorts me out, a bit too roughly for my tastes.

“I was once,” he says, “Damn strikes ruined the sport for me, along with other things… What say we go find a cozy nook?”

We followed a mob up the street into an area with bars and restaurants. One little opening, that’s all I needed. One chance to put a knee in his crotch and lose him in the crowd.

Except…I guess it wouldn’t hurt to hear his story. Until today I didn’t know he could even talk.

PIT 000 000 100 – 1 9 0
CIN 010 500 00x – 6 9 1

W-Capilla L-Reuss HR: Foster GWRBI-Foster

Other Action:

at DODGERS 5-7-1, CUBS 3-9-0
Seven straight wins for L.A., and they’re suddenly a game out themselves! The Great Ray Burris Revival lasts exactly one start, as he goes into the 5th here with a 3-zip lead and doesn’t come out alive.

at PHILLIES 4-6-0, EXPOS 3-10-0
Christenson wins a game for a change, even though he’s his usual awful self. Homers by McBride and Schmidt and a sweaty save by Garber ice the win and put the Phils a game and a half out.  I’m sad that poor Mikey Spano had to miss this.

RANGERS 4-12-1, at ROYALS 1-6-0
K.C. blows a golden chance to inch further ahead of Boston, but Blyleven shuts them down, whiffing nine and giving up nearly nothing until a McRae solo shot in the 9th.  Seems like Splittorff hasn’t thrown a good game since he started shaving.

YANKEES 6-12-0, at ORIOLES 2-4-1
Gullett is sharp, Flanagan is combustible, clutch Piniella picks up two singles and a homer and the Yanks are back to within three again.

TWINS 5-10-0, at WHITE SOX 3-7-0
Stone shoots for his fourth straight win after ten opening losses but Thormodsgard easily outpitches him. Chicago has swooned again after a promising couple of weeks.

Everybody plays two on the Fourth of July with these same matchups, including the Astros in St. Louis, and the Red Sox in Cleveland.

(better late than never)

21-10 Reds
18-11 Dodgers
19-13 Phillies
16-12 Pirates
15-15 Cards
11-17 Astros
11-18 Expos
7-22 Cubs

17-11 Orioles
18-13 Yankees
17-13 Red Sox
17-14 Royals
16-14 White Sox
12-16 Rangers
12-17 Twins
9-20 Indians

American League through Thursday, July 3

Kansas City 46 34 .575
Boston 44 33 .571 0.5
New York 42 36 .538 3
Baltimore 41 36 .532 3.5
Texas 41 38 .519 4.5
Chicago 35 42 .455 9.5
Minnesota 33 44 .429 11.5
Cleveland 29 48 .377 15.5

National League through Thursday, July 3

Pittsburgh 47 34 .580
Cincinnati 46 34 .575 0.5
Los Angeles 44 33 .571 1
Philadelphia 45 35 .563 1.5
St. Louis 41 36 .532 4
Houston 35 43 .449 10.5
Montreal 31 47 .397 14.5
Chicago 25 52 .325 20

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