Happy Birthdays to Lester

To celebrate Lester’s 25th birthday (He arrived this day in 1985, but who says we can’t celebrate eight years early?) Seamus reprogrammed the bus coordinates to take us to all five of his teams’ ballparks. Don’t need to tell you we were on edge, because there was a chance he’d be emotionally pulled in five different directions and could absolutely lose it before the day was over. But Seamus had a special white jacket all ready, and Sheila was on hand with her special observation notebook. And wearing those hot glasses I like…

DR. GROSSINGER’S REPORT:

CHICAGO—Patient Lester, who suffers from acute schizo-rooting due to being shuttled between divorced parents throughout the midwest for his entire childhood, appears to be at his happiest in sunny Wrigley Field. His spirits are apparently buoyed by his Cubs’ last two wins against the muscular Reds, but events go sour quickly, as 16 Chicago hits only produce four runs in the first of two games, while Cincinnati scores five in the 1st and wins going away. The Cubs then manage 11 runs in Game Two, but it is unfortunate that the Reds score 17 on 23 hits, with potent athletic specimen George Foster swatting three home runs. Coupled with one in the first game, he has now struck 44. Patient Lester takes the two losses with good humor, and it is on to…

ST. LOUIS—Where humor leaves him, to be replaced by a quiet depression. Leading 3-0 with their Pirate-slayer John Urrea pitching, Lester’s Cardinals are beaten about the head with Stargell and Ott home runs, then a 2-run Oliver home run in a 3-run Pittsburgh 8th that decides the first game. Tekulve survives a brutal 8th to only allow one St. Louis run, and Jackson saves it in the 9th. Lester is kept away from alcoholic beverages between games, and it is the proper decision, for one Larry Dierker starts Game Two and allows another Stargell homer and two by the diminutive Garner in the first four innings. Terry Forster throws miserably for the Pirates, but thankfully–I mean, oddly enough, St. Louis can only score one run at a time, and Pittsburgh completes the sweep to become the first team to reach 60 wins. Lester refuses to leave the stadium lavatory for a full hour, and Mr. Headley is forced to retrieve him and get us off to…

MINNESOTA—Where Lester seems refreshed by the cooler high plains air, and the sight of marginally talented Paul Thormodsgard rendering the Orioles impotent. Flanagan is also sterling for them, but a 7th inning single from Wynegar is all the scoring in Game One and color returns to Lester’s face. By the end of Game Two he is beaming, as McGregor gives up 15 Twins hits in less than five innings and the shocking 4-game sweep is complete. (Poor little Carlton Gip is most distraught after his Orioles drop two games below .500, but I have scheduled an imminent session at a Toy Barn as treatment.)

KANSAS CITY—Lester’s mood brightens further, as Paul Splittorff is dazzling again, snuffing the Indians 7-0 in the first game with the help of a bases-clearing Cowens double. Cowens homers to begin the second affair and the Royals go up 3-0. They lead 4-2 in the 5th when everything that can possible go awry for Doug Bird and Steve Mingori does. Six runs later, the Clevelanders are ahead to stay. Lester is notably surly at this juncture, and blames everyone in the traveling party for the loss…Mr. Headley expedites us to our final destination, which is…

CHICAGO—And Comiskey Park this time, for one game with the Yankees. This contest turns out to be a case study in the New Yorkers’ erratic fortunes, for after surrendering three hits and one run to the first three White Sox batters, Catfish Hunter retires the next 13, and 19 out of 20. Paul Blair hits a 3-run home run off Steve Stone, but as they often do, the Yankees waste countless opportunities to add to their advantage. An Essian solitaire blast makes it 3-2 for the visitors, but after a Bannister single begins the 8th, Sparky Lyle is summoned. The Chicago manager leaves his lefties in to face him, because as Lester explains, he knows how hideous Lyle’s outings under pressure have been. A single, double and single produce the tying and winning runs, as Lester is not only elated but his thesis proven correct.

“We will take a 4-5 record any day,” he says, bedding down at the rear of the bus by approximately 11:16 p.m. Serious incidents were averted, and it is apparent that a very full day of sunshine and ballpark activity has been rewarding therapy for him—even though I still find him crazier than a neutered squirrel.

Sheila H. Grossinger
Chief of Psychiatry
Squallpocket State Hospital

Final Data

CIN 501 100 002 – 9 11 1
CHI 100 002 100 – 4 16 0

CIN 205 230 005 – 17 23 0
CHI 401 000 303 – 11 11 2

PIT 000 000 230 – 5 11 1
STL 020 001 010 – 4 7 0

PIT 310 612 001 – 14 16 0
STL 110 101 011 – 6 15 1

BAL 000 000 000 – 0 5 0
MIN 000 000 10x – 1 9 0

BAL 211 100 100 – 6 15 0
MIN 023 331 02x – 14 21 0

CLE 000 000 000 – 0 7 1
K.C. 050 100 01x – 7 13 0

CLE 020 060 000 – 8 15 1
K.C. 300 102 010 – 7 10 1

NYY 000 030 000 – 3 8 0
CHX 100 000 12x – 4 8 1

The Buzz Line

PHILLIES 3-7-1, at DODGERS 1-6-0
Sutton is halfway decent for a change, but halfway ain’t enough against Steve Carlton, winner of six straight and 13 out of 14. The Phils’ deep bench strikes again, as third-string catcher Barry Foote bombs one out.

EXPOS 9-11-3, at ASTROS 3-7-2
EXPOS 10-22-0, at ASTROS 6-12-1 (16 innings)

Steve Rogers smokes in the first game, and the nightcap has a faint resemblance to the classic 1986 Astrodome playoff with the Mets. Expos go ahead 6-4 on a Perez single in the 12th, but Enos Cabell ties it with a 2-run shot in the last of the 12th. With no one left in the Astro pen but Gene Pentz, Montreal scores four in the 16th for the win. (But no pennant.)

RED SOX 2-3-0, at RANGERS 0-2-1
at RANGERS 7-14-0, RED SOX 3-9-0

Blyleven gets no love, giving up just solo shots to Carbo and Yaz and losing because Aase totally shuts down his teammates. Texas fares better against Spaceman Lee in Game 2, even though Carbo (#26), Fisk and Hobson hit three more solo shots off Adrian Devine for all the Boston scoring. The Sox dinger total is at 154, on a pace for 237.

RUN DIFFERENTIALS FOR YOUR WEEKEND!

+104 Cincinnati
+86 Pittsburgh
+81 Los Angeles
+59 St. Louis
+12 Philadelphia
–23 Houston
–90 Montreal
–219 Chicago

+87 New York
+58 Texas
+50 Boston
+41 Kansas City
–19 Minnesota
–29 Baltimore
–52 Chicago
–94 Cleveland

American League through Sunday, July 27

Boston 57 43 .570
New York 56 44 .560 1
Kansas City 57 46 .553 1.5
Texas 54 48 .529 4
Baltimore 49 51 .490 8
Chicago 44 56 .440 13
Cleveland 44 57 .436 13.5
Minnesota 42 58 .420 15

National League through Sunday, July 27

Philadelphia 59 41 .590
Pittsburgh 60 43 .583 0.5
Cincinnati 59 45 .567 2
Los Angeles 54 44 .551 4
St. Louis 51 48 .515 7.5
Houston 45 58 .437 15.5
Montreal 42 59 .416 17.5
Chicago 34 66 .340 25

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