INSPECTOR. To be sure, Mr. Alston, to be sure. But there are many ways to sink a knife into a team. How can we be sure you haven't done it by not picking your best three and sticking to them? Perhaps this is suicide we are dealing with here, and you have driven them to it by destroying their will to play.
ALSTON. I doubt that. I will admit individual players have complained to me that they are afraid of pains in their paychecks if they don't play often, but I think I have spread the bad news around enough to keep anyone from jumping off the Coliseum peristyle. After all, Snider won a game with a home run, and I had him on the bench two days later. Norm Sherry had four RBIs in one game, and then I benched him. Ron Fairly won a couple of games and stayed in the dugout the next "day. I have benched people regardless of race, creed or batting average.
INSPECTOR. H-m-m-m. Very well, Constable, take Mr. Alston away. Bring in Mr. Bavasi. And hand me his file.
Let's see. "Bavasi, Emil J. Occupation, general manager. Rorschach test shows no significant dementia except a possible slight case of pennant obsession. Suspect is in custody because he was in a position to help victims before the assault and refused. The record indicates he was aware the team wanted a clean-up hitter to protect itself from the attack of the league of ruffians and that the Detroit club was on the point of donating the services of a splendid fellow, Rocky Colavito, for the purpose when Bavasi backed out." What do you have to say, Mr. Bavasi?
BAVASI. Only this, Inspector: Detroit wanted five for two in the Colavito deal. Now, in baseball, Inspector, you never give five for two—unless the two happen to be Mantle and Maris. The Dodgers needed a cleanup hitter. They'd be up and around—way out in front today—if they had one. But we're grooming our own. A boy named Frank Howard. We won't need Colavito when he comes into his own.
INSPECTOR. Very well, Mr. Bavasi. You may go. We'll call you if we need you. Sergeant, I've got an idea. Bring me the medical chart on the victims. There may be an answer there for us.
Ah, thank you. Aha! Look here! This team leads the league in broken bones this year. This chart looks like something Charles Addams dreamed up. Hundreds of man-hours lost on this club due to injuries. Why, Constable, that's equal to a good-size steel strike.
Where's that deposition from that Associated Press baseball writer, Charles Maher? Ah, here it is: Snider broke an elbow. Norm Sherry lacerated a kidney, then broke a rib. Spencer broke a leg. Larry Sherry sprained both ankles, Neal came down with chicken pox.
What else is there this witness Maher recalls? A Drysdale injury diagnosed as a sore head. Even the groundkeeper spent part of the season in a cast. The team, he says, could easily surpass the disability record set in 1918 by the German army.
Why, gentlemen, there's your answer. This team fell on those knives. Ring up the Yard, will you? I think we can mark this case closed.