Things got worse instead of better. Witkowski couldn't stop the Hobbs hitters, and Rudy Matulka of Omaha, Neb., actually an outfielder, had to finish the game—but not before Spider had been thrown out of the game for his vehement protest of what he considered a bum call at the plate. The final score, with Spider still fuming up in the stands, was posted as Hobbs 13, Artesia 5.
Soon the victorious Pirates were piling into their cars for the 90-mile drive back to Hobbs. The defeated Artesia Dodgers were assembled in The Steak House, an all-night eating place, listening to Dick Strutz hold forth once more on the good life as lived in the Triple-A American Association.
"Up there in St. Paul," said Strutz, "they used to have a guy in the clubhouse who had your socks and uniform all laid out for you when you walked in. There was another guy who didn't do anything but shine shoes. On the road, you got $10 a day eating money, not the lousy three bucks we get down here."
"Strutz," said Lou Pannella, a third baseman from Philadelphia, "you are nuts. They only get $10 a day meal money in the major leagues."
"In the major leagues," said Strutz, "they get $15."
"Strutz," said Ron Witkowski, the pitcher, "what do umpires get for traveling in their own cars?"
Dick Strutz, who—if he had learned nothing else from Spider Jorgensen this season—had at least learned never to let any question go unanswered, replied without hesitation, "An umpire gets 3� a mile for the use of his car."
Pannella exploded. "You're crazy, Strutz. You can't drive a motor scooter for 3� a mile."
Strutz reached for a toothpick and smiled. "Umpires can," he said.
Meanwhile, at Hotel Artesia, Paul Frost and Spider Jorgensen had accepted an invitation for a postgame drink with the out-of-town man.