"When we lost I really felt way down," said Grich. The Orioles' losing pitchers, Jim Palmer and Mike Cuellar, were equally glum. "Our only run was driven in by me, the pitcher," Palmer said. "And there I was, throwing a wild pitch and dealing up doubles."
Under similar circumstances earlier in the season Bobby and his wife Marty would have sought some solace at a movie during the team's two-day hiatus in Baltimore. That, or tried another escape gambit, which calls for loading their black Labrador named Boog into the Grich Volkswagen bus for a tour of the Maryland countryside. ("We knew the dog was going to be huge when he was a pup," Grich says, "so we named him after the most huge, likable person we knew.")
Marty Grich, however, left the East Coast two weeks ago to enroll for the fall term at Fresno State, where Bobby will join her in pursuit of his physical education degree once the baseball season is over.
"I've always wanted to be a coach," Grich says. "That and a professional athlete. My wife is a speech major who has her degree, but she's working on her teaching credentials so we'll have something to back us up if suddenly I can't hit a slider."
With Marty gone, Grich played his first round of golf since spring with Mark Belanger, Mickey Scott and Doyle Alexander. "It was great to play golf," he said. "I shot an 84 and I think I could probably go out and break 80 if I played more often."
Weaver sent the Orioles through a light practice Friday before they flew to Milwaukee where, if you were looking for omens, the National Renderers Association was also ensconced in the Pfister Hotel—similarly trying to keep the fat out of the fire, one assumes.
Grich spent the evening trying to extricate a few dollars from his teammates in a card game, and there he offered a possible reason for the Orioles' fall this season.
"All year it seems that we've been looking over our shoulder," he said. "We were looking at the Detroit sixth-inning scores back in June and July. That's hardly the time to be worrying about Detroit or anyone else. We should have worried about our own game. Emotionally this race has you anxious inside. The thing is, it's constantly on your mind. I think about it 24 hours a day."
Nor did the lowly Brewers provide any respite the next afternoon, scoring a 2-1 victory over the Orioles despite 10 Baltimore hits and a masterful pitching job by McNally before Weaver lifted him for a pinch hitter in the seventh inning. Under another leaden sky and with a damp chill that was becoming the expected thing, the Orioles stranded 11 men on base. Grich singled in his first trip to the plate, but his only other appearance on the base paths came after Milwaukee's Jim Lonborg hit his left biceps with an errant pitch.
"My arm went numb almost immediately," Grich told a teammate. "I thought the thing was broken."