He thought he was the best lefthander in the league, probably the best lefthander ever.
"You're forgetting a lefthander named Koufax," I told him. "He was pretty good."
"I can throw as good as Koufax could ever throw."
Then why aren't you winning like Koufax, Jer'? (If you could throw like Koufax could throw, I'd be thinking, you'd have a record of 18-5 with about two months to go and you'd probably win 27 or 28 games. Every year.)
Guess what? That was my fault, too. We're playing in Montreal and we got seven runs for him in the first four innings—two in the second, three in the third and two in the fourth. Montreal has gotten three of them back, and now we're going into the bottom half of the fourth. The first guy up hits a line drive. It looks like a blur. The next man up hits a line drive. Another blur. "Get somebody warmed up," I said, "he hasn't got it tonight. Get somebody ready." Next man up hits a line drive right at my leftfielder, a shot—he never moved. If it had been up in the air it would have been into the seats.
"Get him out of there!"
Now he's so mad at me he isn't going to pitch for me anymore. We're in the clubhouse and he's not going to dress for the second game. He's quitting. "Why did you take me out?" he says.
Why did I take him out?
"Let me show you why I can't trust you," he says. "I can't trust your reasoning."
My reasoning? You were getting the bejeezus hammered out of you, Jerry, that was my reasoning. It was an act of elementary humanitarianism. But you've got to communicate, so all I said was, "Well, I know what my reasoning was, Jerry. I want to hear your reasoning."