Did I ever tell you how my wife used to make the telephone ring? First she’d go in the bathroom with a relaxing cup of tea. Then she’d pour herself a warm bath, maybe even drop in bubble stuff or some of that lady oil. She’d be wearing that pretty kimono I got her in Japan on our honeymoon, and she’d take that off, climb in and lean back, lots of times with a romance paperback…and presto! The goddamn telephone would ring.
See, in my book, the world runs on three things: karma, mishegas, and shenanigans. Some people—and I’m talking very few of them—drive through life weaving around those things like they’re not even in the road. Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan and that Billy Gates guy come to mind. The rest of us? We’re screwed. If something’s out there to go wrong, it’ll find us.
And my Dodgers just smashed into a shenanigans brick wall. How else can you explain this? We’re tearing up the league for two weeks like we still got Snider and Campanella, the Bucs are stumbling, and lose Stargell until the second to last game. Hooton smokes them out in the first game to put us even in the loss column, they got their big oaf loser Jerry Reuss going in the finale, with us being much more dangerous against lefties—
—and we get beat by a 9th inning pop home run by Ed Ott and scoring double by Ken Macha? What happened? (Last night’s Tweetcast, if you dare)
And then there’s this new garbage that happens today, in two stadiums no less…
Games of the Days
PITTSBURGH—The first of five games between the Bucs and Reds stretched over nine days, thanks to the crackpot who made this schedule. Maybe it was God, because He throws the Reds right off a cliff. Buzz showed me the dice rolls in his notebook afterwards and it’s enough to make you weep. Or at least me.
Doug Capilla’s billed against Odell Jones. Every game for the Reds is huge but with Billingham facing Candelaria next, this is the one they HAVE to win. Too bad their first baseman turns out to be a schmuck. Bottom of the 1st, Stennett rolls an infield hit toward Driessen and he chucks it in the stands for an added 2-base error. Garner knocks a single two seconds later and it’s 1-zip Pirates.
Bench clubs an upper deck shot with Rose aboard in the 3rd, but a Garner walk, Parker grounder and Gonzalez single ties it 2-2. Then Rose homers, Griffey doubles and Bench singles him in and it’s 4-2 Reds in the 5th. I’m excited now. Then Capilla can get nobody out in the 6th, walks Oliver, hits Ott, walks Taveras, and Grant Jackson makes it 4-3 with a sac fly. Stennett bloops a single and we’re tied.
All this time the Reds have been rolling the dice like they got some weird Egyptian plague. Foster misses a 1-9 homer shot (45%), Morgan a 1-14 homer shot (%70), and Geronimo and Griffey miss %75 and %85 single chances that would have scored more insurance runs.
Manny Sarimento, one of the more luckless relief bastards around, though it’s usually his own fault, starts the bottom of the 8th. Parker rolls another infield single out toward Driessen, and sure, why not? Throw the thing into the seats again, you imbecile! (For those following along, his first 2-base botch was an error roll of three 1s, and the second one a roll of three 6s. Remarkable.) Anyway, Robinson doesn’t wait too long to bring the pain, lining the first pitch into left for the go-ahead run. Goose relieves after Jackson’s three and a third 1-hit innings, mows down Griffey, Foster and Bench like they’re pussy willows, and my death is just a little bit closer.
CIN 002 020 000 – 4 7 2
PIT 101 002 10x – 5 8 0
W-Jackson L-Sarmiento SV-Gossage HRS: Bench, Rose GWRBI-Robinson
ST. LOUIS—After this one I’m just speechless, and I hope Lester’s happy for ruining my life. Our record against the eliminated Cards before game time? How about 12-4. We got John going for his 20th win. Unfortunately they got Bob Forsch, pitching his brains out lately. We put a guy on each of the first four innings and can’t score. (Dice nonsense: Forsch has a %70 HR shot on his card for hitters with normal power. Bill Russell, the only guy in our lineup with weak power, manages to hit it twice and ends up with singles.) Lopes walks to lead the 5th, 31-4 on the base paths—and gets picked off (on a %75 chance to get back). Naturally Russell follows with his second single, Smith walks, and Baker and Garvey do nothing.
John gets out of two late jams after one-out Simmons doubles, each time by walking Tony Scott to face Reitz, but the upcoming malarkey is written all over the Busch Stadium wall. Bottom of the 11th, John still in there, the Dodgers with just four crappy singles off Forsch, Hernandez walks. So does Simmons. And death comes off the bat of Heity Cruz, household name in some Puerto Rican town, who smashes Tommy’s first pitch off the left center wall.
We may be still alive math-wise, but I’m done. Buzz can tell you what happens the rest of the way. I need to go write my 100-page apology letter to God for whatever the hell I did to Hannah.
L.A. 000 000 000 00 – 0 4 0
STL 000 000 000 01 – 1 7 0
W-Forsch L-John GWRBI-Cruz
Pirates: Reds (1), at Reds (3)
Dodgers: at Cards (2), Astros (1), Cards (3)
The Buzz Line (two days’ worth)
PIRATES 4-11-1, at DODGERS 3-7-0
Sutton had it going from the 2nd inning till the 8th, and Penguin gave us a 3-2 lead with his 29th dinger in the 5th, but you still have to play the 9th, and the Bucs have been absolute poison at the end of almost every close game. At least Hough didn’t blow this one.
REDS 13-17-0, at ASTROS 10-15-1
A really rare slugfest in the Dome. Norman has an 11-3 lead after four innings thanks to Bench and Foster dingers off Andujar, but still manages to crap most of it away. Borbon goes the last three innings and survives a double, triple and single in the 9th for the save. Houston still takes the season series 12-10.
EXPOS 15-19-1, at CUBS 4-6-5
Montreal flattens Wrigley Field for the second straight day, outscoring the Cubbies 30-7 and taking the season series 13-9. Krukow, Moore, Broberg and Lamp are the cannon fodder as the Expos end their short sleepover in last place in style.
at WHITE SOX 7-12-2, YANKEES 2-4-2
Across town, the Yanks continue to drown themselves. With K.C. off and a chance to pick up a desperate half game, Munson gets hit by a pitch and injured in the 1st inning, forcing the immortal Fran Healy into the 3-hole, the rest of the lineup goes into a coma against Steve Stone (8-17, with over 300 hits given up at game time), after the daily Chambliss error Catfish gives up his obligatory 3-run homer in the 7th, this time to Jim Essian, and Chicago sweeps the two-gamer to take the season edge 12-10.
ORIOLES 2-6-0, at TWINS 1-10-2
Flanagan with another strong start, and Lee May’s solo shot off Thormodsgard is the 7th inning winner.
RED SOX 7-14-1, at RANGERS 1-6-1
Boston finds their early-season karma under the front porch. Luis Tiant, hammered virtually the entire season, now with over 300 htis given up, does not give up a hit roll on his card to Texas the entire game. Lynn’s 3-run shot in the 2nd off Perry and a 4-spot in the 7th do the trick for him. The Royals’ magic number drops to six.
9/18 (no games)
PHILLIES 6-8-1, at EXPOS 0-7-0
So after smacking the Cubbies silly, Montreal gets home and gets blanked by…Larry Christenson? Schmidt snaps a scoreless duel with a 2-run shot in the 7th off Twitchell, and the Phils add four more off Kerrigan in the 8th to stay in the pennant hunt the best they can.
CUBS 6-10-1, at ASTROS 3-9-0
Reuschel vs. Richard in a great duel, but the fatter man prevails, falling behind 3-1 and eventually winning it with the help of his own double that triggers an 8th inning rally. J.R. probably has one shot left at his 20th win.
at YANKEES 4-10-0, INDIANS 1-7-0
As James Bond would say, positively shocking. Guidry survives a shaky first few innings, Reggie doubles and hits a winning 3-run homer, Rivers doesn’t butcher anything in the outfield because he’s DHing, Fran Healy actually hits a run-scoring double, and the Yanks pick up the half game they lost yesterday.
RED SOX 9-11-0, at ORIOLES 3-9-1
The Birds’ limb is about to snap, as the best they can do now is finish in a tie. Against the very hittable Reggie Cleveland they do nothing, while Boomer Scott goes mental against Grimsley with a double, single, homer and five RBIs. Oh yeah, and Bumbry gets injured again, like the 10th time this season.
American League through Friday, September 19
National League through Friday, September 19