…to allow the proprietor to go a little batshit.
Once a year, I will play a Strat game that is so baseball-realistic—meaning so incomprehensibly torturous—that it deserves more detailed reportage in my own voice. The sole purpose, of course, is to purge the anger and deadly, baffling poison of the event from my system, but if you’re entertained along the way, then all the better. So here goes…
LOS ANGELES—Home from their long eastern swing after some pretty hot play, the Dodgers welcome in the just-eliminated Cubbies for some likely ground-gaining. That’s what she said.
Sutton gets the ball for L.A., possessor of maybe one quality start in his last ten, and falls behind early again on a Larry Biitner scoring triple (yes, a Larry Biitner triple) and George Mitterwald 2-run homer. (As I believe I mentioned, the Cubs are eliminated.)
Baker gets one back with a solo shot off Reuschel in the 5th, then powers a three-run smash in the 6th to put L.A. on top. Even Monday gets in the act with a solo whack in the 7th. Elias Sosa takes over for old pubic-head in the 7th to snuff a potential Cubs rally, and then Charlie Hough comes on for two innings of knuckle duty.
Now Charlie was personally responsible for L.A.’s recent debacle in Montreal after taking a 6-0 lead, but seems to have it back here after escaping a minor jam in the 8th. Then why does he inspire about as much confidence in me as Lady Gaga in a bullfight arena?
Because of the following 9th: Jerry Morales rips a double. Trillo singles him in and it’s 5-4. Mitterwald gets his fourth straight hit, a single to get Trillo to third. Buckner pinch hits a ridiculous 1-3 (15% chance) single to score the tying tun and push Mitts to second. Fifty-thousand pretend Dodger fans pelt Hough with their empty suntan lotion tubes. It’s ugly, but Charlie fans Clines and DeJesus and gets Ontiveros on a fly.
What follows, against Willie Hernandez, Bruce Sutter, and Paul Reuschel, are nine consecutive innings of completely impotent Dodger offense, despite the Cubs making three errors to try and help them score. Hough gets out of a bases loaded, nobody out jam in the 11th, Stan Wall and Mike Garman gets L.A. out of three more jams, before Garman finally falls apart in the top of the 17th, with the help of Boulderus, the all-seeing, all-infuriating Baseball Dice God. Boulderus already gave Bill Buckner a little karma gift in the 9th with his 1-3 single roll, and now bestows the same reward two more times on Biitner and Morales to help Chicago get its rally going. Trillo and Mitterwald also follow with singles (George’s SIXTH hit of the day, a feat even beyond the capability of most baseball deities and warlocks), three runs are home and the Cubs take the lead.
All that’s left is for the final straw, the icing on the melting cake, the coup de garbage. And who better to provide that than the biggest Dodger disappointment of the year, ex-MVP Steve Garvey, Okay, he’s had a few timely homers, but his 105 RBIs are mainly due to Lopes and Smith being on base ahead of him, he has a whopping 24 walks all season and has failed to come through repeatedly in clutch situations.
Today the Garv is 0-for-6. So Russell singles, Smith works a walk, the Perfect Ballplayer steps up…and grounds into a 5-4-3 DP to end the game. Calmly and methodically, I lift his card, rip it into four pieces and let it drop back on the table, to let the crows of dust and stray dog hair have at its frayed edges, never to darken my dark wood veneer field again.
It’s a lie, of course; I’ve already Scotch taped the bastard back together. But man oh man oh man, what do you have to do with these guys? It’s only a game, I keep saying, and they do have two dozen left. I guess all in all, this was an improvement over my Batshit Classic from last year.
CHC 120 000 002 000 000 03 – 8 22 3
L.A. 000 013 100 000 000 00 – 5 13 0
W-P. Reuschel L-Garman HRS: Mitterwald, Baker-2, Monday GWRBI-Mitterwald
The Lester Line
PHILLIES 7-11-0, at PIRATES 0-2-2
A game expected to be a vicious duel between two of the league’s worst starters is instead an absolute landslide, and the Phils are just one out in the loss column. Odell Jones is rocked for four runs in the 1st, three on a Bake McBride tater, and after Stennett and Oliver begin the Bucs’ 1st with singles, Larry Christenson whiffs Parker, Stargell and Robinson and no-hits Pittsburgh the rest of the game. Geez Louise.
at REDS 6-6-0, EXPOS 2-9-2
You know Montreal is weak against righties when Paul Moskau mows them down. Bench doubles in two off Brown in the 1st, Cincy adds two more 2-spots in the 2nd and 7th, and the Reds hop over the Cards again, because…
ASTROS 8-16-0, at CARDS 5-14-2
Houston earns its 60th win with a decimation of John Urrea, every Astro getting a hit and Cabell getting a single, double, homer and two stolen bases. Sambito saves one for Ken Forsch, despite a 5-for-5 show by Roger Freed, filling in for injured Tony Scott.
at RANGERS 5-12-1, WHITE SOX 2-8-0
Second-string Texas catcher John Ellis gunslings the Rangers back on top, smashing two homers and a single off Wilbur Wood for all five of his team’s RBIs. Gaylord Perry notches win no. 18 in his belt.
TWINS 7-14-0, at ROYALS 6-14-0
Beat up by K.C. all year, the Twinks, storm back from a 6-3 deficit against Colborn with homers by Cubbage and Wynegar two more hits by Carew and three innings of perfect relief from Gary Serum and Tom Johnson.
at INDIANS 4-5-2, RED SOX 2-8-0
Don Aase can’t finds his own aase-hole again, giving up two-run bombs to Thornton and Bochte while the Bostons are busy doing nothing against future teammate Dennis Eckersley.
at YANKEES 4-8-1, ORIOLES 3-9-2
Another wretched outing by Figueroa, but this time the Yanks get lucky enough to pull one out. Paul Blair misses a walkoff homer by inches with two gone in the 9th, gets to third on a triple, then scores the winner anyway when DeCinces bobbles an easy grounder.
American League through Saturday, August 30
National League through Saturday, August 30