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But the chief distinction of the Cincinnati bullpen is that it is always in use—the sweatshop of the major league ball parks. Sparky Anderson is famous for removing his starters at the slightest suggestion of their faltering; he is invariably on the phone to the bullpen in the early innings. Indeed, the catchers often leave their gloves palm up on the bullpen home plates, as if to suggest that although they're taking a breather they'll be returning in just a minute.
In this first game of the Series, Pat Darcy and Fred Norman were warming up in the fifth inning. The first Red Sox batter in the sixth singled and, though it was only the second hit off Don Gullett, the phone in the bullpen seemed to ring before the batter had reached first base. Clay Carroll ran out to the bullpen mound. He began to throw hard immediately, cranking into top gear—the slap of the ball into the mitt loud enough in the uproar from the stands to turn heads along the bullpen fence to see who was responsible. It takes a starter 20 minutes to get ready; it takes a reliever like Carroll 10 pitches.
In the seventh Gullett finally got himself into irreparable trouble, filling the bases with no one out and Carl Yastrzemski coming to the plate. Sparky Anderson made his move; the bullpen was going to get its chance to show everyone how it could control things. The electric cart fashioned like a baseball cap (the maintenance men in Fenway refer to the machine as "The Cap") wheeled out to the bullpen fence to fetch Carroll. But he emerged from the bullpen gate and ignored the cart; he started for the distant pitcher's mound on foot—first a slow amble, then striding off with increasing speed, breaking into a trot and finally into a run. It is a habit he has cultivated over the years (he has been a reliever since 1964) to get his adrenaline going, speeding everything up by degrees, so that as he gets close to the infield he is moving along at quite a clip. His teammates have speculated that with a long approach, such as the distance between the bullpen and pitcher's mound in Milwaukee, Carroll would get himself revved up to such a fearsome speed that he would run right past the mound, over his manager and the catcher standing there, and fetch up in a tumble in the dugout beyond.
Once on the mound, Carroll, as if exhausted from his sprint, did the unforgivable: he walked in a run. Anderson yanked him immediately. The Cap appeared from its runway under the stands to pick up Will McEnaney, a young fire-balling lefthander with corn-yellow hair, at the bullpen fence.
McEnaney is among the more superstitious Reds. He won't budge from his seat on the bench if things are going right for his team. He usually walks in to the pitcher's mound when he is called; but because Carroll before him had walked (and run) to his doom, McEnaney accepted a lift in The Cap—anything to break up an unlucky progression.
On those rare occasions when he rides in, McEnaney likes to talk to the drivers. He fell into conversation with the driver of The Cap. He started off by saying that he was surprised how well behaved the fans were—why in Dodger Stadium they threw large objects that thudded against the roof of the car on the way in—mentioning this as he leaned out of The Cap and inspected the park like a visitor in a tourist bug.
McEnaney thanked the driver for the ride and walked toward the mound. He is very careful. He must not step on any lines. Anderson was waiting for him. He said, "The bases are loaded. Nobody out. Just go into your full windup." He handed McEnaney the ball. He struck out his first man, but then Rico Petrocelli singled two runs in. The game was gone.
The Red Sox bullpen barely budged. Luis Tiant breezed through. As every American schoolboy knows, it was the first game completed by a starting pitcher in the World Series since Steve Blass of the Pittsburgh Pirates did it in 1971.
Rain. The upper reaches of the Prudential Building half a mile beyond the outfield wall were shrouded in it. The umpires called the game for 27 minutes, with the Red Sox ahead by a run. The dugouts emptied and the teams went back under the stands to their clubhouses. Out in the bullpens the players sat under the sheds and watched the rain slant down. The Reds pitchers began ragging at the attendant assigned them, a man of considerable girth and a large schnozzle who had been christened the Beer Man by the Chicago White Sox when they had come through earlier in the summer. He was in the bullpen to keep the fans from climbing over the bleacher fence. Poor Beer Man. Perhaps he had brought it on himself. The day before, taking his first look at the Cincinnati players arranged on the bench as if prepared for a group portrait, he had called out to them, "All right, when I say 'three,' everybody smile."