It Ain’t Always This Sunny in Philadelphia

By Mikey Spano

So you haven’t heard much from me lately. Kind of what happens when you fall into a ballpark fountain and drown, and the clowns who zapped you back in time in the first place do some kind of sci-fi CPR and bada bingo—you’re alive again! Don’t you hate that?

Before I get to the latest Phillie disasters, I thought I’d tell everyone how I ended up with so much attitude. See, with my team winning in ’08 and looking damn nuclear this year before we hit the ’77 road, I should probably be more like Lester, one of those sprout and cucumber eaters who just rolls with everything. But that ain’t my makeup.

My dad Marty—may he rest in peace with his Alka-Seltzer—grew up in the 1950s and rooted for Richie Ashburn, who was awesome, but also Bobby Del Greco and Don Ferrarese, and the Gene Mauch team that lost 23 straight in ’61, and the Gene Mauch team that crashed like a tray of beer glasses in ’64. So by the time he lost his truck hauling job when I was three or four in the mid-’70s when the Phils were good but kept losing playoffs to the Dodgers, he had already started smacking me around the apartment. Now his dad—old Grandpa Vinny—followed some really bad Phillie teams for over 30 years, and felt so cursed he changed our family name from Spanelli to Spano.

But this drowning thing’s woken my ass up a bit, and me the Phils are both getting a second chance here. Actually if you count me getting put away for beating up those two high school teachers and Sister Katherine at reform school, it’s my third chance.

In other words, when Bull Luzinski grounded into those two horrible DPs yesterday in L.A., the first off Tommy John and the second off Hough when they were down 3-2 in the 8th with runners on the corners to kill our team for the day, all I did was turn and shake Sherman’s hand. And when Bull hit into another one tonight in St. Louis with the bases loaded in the 8th and Buddy Schultz on the mound, all I did was buy Lester a 16-ounce cup of Bud.

Nope, it ain’t always sunny in Philadelphia, but I’m through with the booing and the bashing. It’s really no fun being a jerk all the time, and you might not believe it but I got soft spots in here. Doesn’t everyone? Even that Mussolini guy was on his mama’s boob once.

PHL 000 000 020 – 2 8 1
L.A. 100 001 10x – 3 8 0

W-John L-Christenson SV-Hough HR: Yeager GWRBI-Garvey

PHL 000 100 000 – 1 8 0
STL 113 010 10x – 7 12 0

W-Underwood L-Kaat HR: Cruz GWRBI-Hernandez

The Buzz Line

YANKEES 10-12-0, at WHITE SOX 5-9-1
The other Monday game (besides Phils-Dodgers) finds the Yanks bombing the best Chicago pitcher Ken Kravec for nine runs in the 3rd inning, but then are unable to hit the immortal Dave Frost the next five innings. Figueroa falls apart in the 8th as the Chisox score five, but Tidrow throws a scoreless 9th.

PIRATES 5-8-0, at DODGERS 2-7-1
And with the Phillies stumbling, Reuss throws a rare beauty and the Bucs find themselves in first place again! Dodger pitching has been mostly fine all year, but their hitting is another story. Letting the suspect Reuss beat them is worrisome, and if they fall to Odell Jones tomorrow they might need a vibe transplant.

at ASTROS 2-4-0, REDS 1-10-2 (14 innings)
Kings of the Bizarro Line Score, the Astros chalk up another one. Two Cedeno singles and an unearned run in the 1st is all they can muster off Seaver for eight innings, but Concepcion, Geronimo and pinch-hitter Ray Knight all single off Niekro in the 9th to tie. The game goes on forever with Borbon dueling Sambito, until Watson smacks a walkoff blast, his 15th game-winning hit of the year, tops in both leagues.

at CUBS 4-13-2, EXPOS 3-6-2 (11 innings)
Banhsen has the Cubbies hoodwinked for six innings, but a scoring error on Cash and homer by Trillo tie the game. Garrett puts the ‘Spos ahead with a blast off Krukow but Murcer ties it again with a tater of his own. Kerrigan is on for the 11th, but a single, two walks and Biitner single win it.

YANKEES 8-16-1, at ROYALS 7-10-0
Another textbook ’77 Yankee game: Huge early lead (7-0 on Colborn), runner-stranding offense takes over (against mediocre Gura), starting pitcher combusts (four runs off Torrez in the 5th, three more in the 8th with the help of arsonist Lyle), before a Rivers double and Chambliss triple in the 9th eek it out.

at TWINS 9-12-2, RED SOX 7-14-1
Curse alert! Curse alert! Down 1-0 in the 2nd, Hobson doubles but gets tagged out on the hidden ball trick. Two batters later Evans whiffs and gets injured for three games. Scott gets hit by a pitch during 4-run rally next inning and gets knocked out for a game. Rick Miller takes his spot in the lineup, gets plunked in the 9th and injured for 15 games. Meanwhile Reggie Cleveland blows a 5-1 lead as the Twins score eight unanswered runs despite having Gary Serum and Bill Butler on the mound, and Minnesota wins their unheard-of fourth straight at home.

at RANGERS 5-7-0, ORIOLES 3-12-2
You want more curses? Well, the poor Birds are dropping out of their tree. They score three off Dock Ellis in the 1st, then strand 13 runners the rest of the way while Grimsley gives up the lead in no time to put Texas only three and a half off the pace. Since sweeping the Yankees in the Bronx on June 29th, Baltimore is a ghastly 8-19.

American League through Tuesday, July 29

New York 58 44 .560
Boston 57 44 .570 0.5
Kansas City 57 47 .553 2
Texas 55 48 .534 3.5
Baltimore 49 52 .485 8.5
Chicago 45 57 .440 13
Cleveland 44 58 .436 14
Minnesota 43 58 .420 14.5

National League through Tuesday, July 29

Pittsburgh 61 43 .587
Philadelphia 59 43 .578 1
Cincinnati 59 46 .562 2.5
Los Angeles 55 45 .550 4
St. Louis 52 48 .520 7
Houston 46 58 .442 15
Montreal 42 60 .412 18
Chicago 35 66 .347 24.5

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