Last Train Out of Riverfront

SOUTH OF CINCINNATI—I’m really not a complicated girl. I mean, I got issues just like your annoying sister-in-law or seventh grade gym teacher, and yeah I tend to stick on a guy and follow him around until I get arrested, but it’s part of the simple rules I got growing up. Meaning figure out what you want and go after it like a rabid dog, else you won’t go nowhere in life.

So when Sherman accidentally reminded me that Elvis only had a little over a week to live, you bet your bunion I was going to try and save him this time around. My mom keeled over and croaked when she heard the news on the TV back in real ’77. I found out later she was at the counter making sweet potatoes, and I was in my room with my Etch-a-Sketch and was wondering why she went to sleep on the floor.  I started having troubles after that and one thing led to another, but I did end up with all her Elvis albums and 45s and memorized lyrics for almost every one.

Anyway, I hitchhiked down to Cincinnati yesterday, and hid out in Riverfront to watch my Reds stink against the Phils and make plans for how I was going to pull Operation Elvis off. The problem was that Bill Plummer, my official hearthrob for the season, was starting for injured Johnny Bench, and watching him squat all game was way too distracting for me to think about Memphis.

Game of the Day

Today it’s even worse, because Plummer is catching Tom Seaver, the best pitcher in the universe, and like Bill he’s just a hunk -a-hunk of burning love. The Reds only give him one run for six innings, on a two-out Driessen single in the 1st, but Tommy is ON. Through six he gives up singles to Hebner and Hutton and nothing else.

Rose starts out 6th with a base knock off Lonborg, Griffey and Driessen single with one gone to make it 2-0, and a double by Geronimo sub Mike Lum brings in two more. Luzinski tags a solo shot in the 7th, but this girl’s far from worried. Even after Johnstone smacks one to start the 9th it’s just 4-1, and Seaver mows down McBride and Luzinski to put Philly on the gallows trap door.

Except Schmidt, that guy with the white man curls and real scuzzy moustache, walks. Hebner singles. Just get Bob Boone, Tom, come on!!

Nope. Boone ropes a ball between Lum and Foster for a game-tying two-run triple! Bastard! Seaver gets Bowa to end it, but what a disaster. The Reds then start the last of the 9th with a Concepcion single and walk to pinch-hitter Armbrister. Here’s my boy Plummer, and I’m screaming, and screaming…

…and he whiffs. And despite a Morgan bloop single to load the bases after that, Rose grounds into a force to send us into extras.

With Manny Sarmiento on the hill. This is is usually a great or awful thing. Well, Randy Lerch singles to start the 10th, if that gives you a clue. Johnstone singles with one out, and one out later, Luzinski powers a ball off the facing of the upper deck, his second homer of the game. Schmidt, Hebner, and Boone follow with doubles, and Sparky leaves Manny out there to rot.

Danny Ozark likes that idea, and leaves Lerch out to rot because he knows the undermanned Reds don’t stand a chance of coming back. Smart guy. Even after three singles, a double and wild pitch to start the last of the 10th, Armbrister, Plummer and Rick Auerbach all go down on strikes and I’m outta this funeral parlor.

I find a local train yard and hop into a slow-rolling boxcar moving south. Munching on a fast-food burger I have time to think about all this.

Elvis was still touring early in the summer, and now he’s down in Memphis getting ready to go off on another one. I know he’s in awful shape and popping all sorts of drugs and he probably has security up the yin-yang but I don’t care a fartin’ fig. ‘Cause I’m going to Graceland…Graceland…Memphis, Tennessee I’m goin’ to Graceland.

PHI 000 000 103 5 – 9 14 0
CIN 100 003 000 3 – 7 13 0

W-Lerch L-Sarmiento HRS: Luzinski-2, Johnstone GWRBI-Luzinski

The Buzz Line

at PIRATES 8-13-0, EXPOS 3-9-0
Another day, another grand salami, from Bill Robinson this time. Montreal battles back to 4-3 against Reuss, but Tekulve, Goose and believe it or not Larry Demery come on for the shutdown relief tag team. Oh yeah, and Robinson homers again later on.

at CARDS 10-22-0, CUBS 4-9-0
The universe is back in order. All it takes is another Ray Burris start (5 IP, 14 H, 6R) and a rare 4-for-5 performance by Lou Brock. Actually the first eight spots in the Cards lineup collect at least two hits apiece. For the season now, Bean and Cheese Burris is 1-15, 8.75. With Manager Herman Simkus recovering at the Betty Ford clinic, I guess I should take the liberty of finding a new fifth starter.

at ASTROS 3-10-1, DODGERS 2-4-0 (10 innings)
All bad things must come to an end, and Houston snaps its eight-game losing streak as the Dodger bats are mesmerized by the soft pitching stylings of Bo McLaughlin. The winner comes off Sutton in the 10th on a Bo single, Ferguson double and one-out single by Bob Watson, Lord of the Game-Winners.

at YANKEES 11-14-0, RED SOX 5-7-2
Well, that’s more like it. Alston double, Munson single and Reggie moonshot in the 1st off Don Aase. Alston double, rare errors by Lynn and Doyle and a 3-run Rivers poke off the glove of Dewey Evans and into the seats and it’s 9-2 Bombers after two. Gullett falls apart yet again but waits until the 8th, three innings after a Nettles homer makes it 11-2. It’ll be Catfish vs. Reggie Cleveland in the finale.

at ROYALS 5-16-1, WHITE SOX 3-7-0
A game that easily could have been 10-0, but K.C. leaves guys all over the map, hits into double plays and makes stupid errors to keep it close. Littell saves it for Colborn even though Gamble whacks his 27th.

at ORIOLES 3-8-0, INDIANS 2-6-1
A great pitching duel between Eckersley and Palmer goes Jim’s way, narrowly (Drago with his first save!), and the Birds are back up to .500.

at RANGERS 6-9-1, TWINS 4-8-1
Gaylord gets a garbage win to go to 16-4, and like the Royals game, Texas should have scored plenty more off Pete Redfern, but they’ll take the win any day and are just four games out again.


American League through Saturday, August 9

Boston 64 47 .577
Kansas City 63 50 .558 2
New York 61 51 .545 3.5
Texas 61 52 .536 4
Baltimore 56 56 .500 8.5
Chicago 49 62 .441 15
Cleveland 49 64 .434 16
Minnesota 45 66 .405 19

National League through Saturday, August 9

Philadelphia 65 45 .591
Pittsburgh 65 47 .580 1
Cincinnati 64 50 .561 3
Los Angeles 61 49 .555 4
St. Louis 60 51 .541 5.5
Houston 47 66 .416 19.5
Montreal 44 66 .400 21
Chicago 39 71 .355 26


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4 responses to “Last Train Out of Riverfront

  1. Any blog-post that mentions Manny Sarmiento will forevermore remain close to my heart. I’ve been using his name as a kind of joke for about a quarter of a century now. Situations like, “What would Manny Sarmiento do?” etc.
    My mom was an Elvis fan, too. Still is, in fact.
    Cool post, Bill

  2. Is it possible Elvis shot his TV while watching a Cubs game with Burris on the mound?

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