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No joke in Philadelphia
Larry Keith
September 20, 1976
EVER HEAR THE ONE ABOUT THE TEAM THAT HAD A 15-GAME LEAD AND AN EYE ON THE PENNANT WHEN ALL OF A SUDDEN IT FORGOT HOW TO WIN? NOT VERY FUNNY
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September 20, 1976

No Joke In Philadelphia

EVER HEAR THE ONE ABOUT THE TEAM THAT HAD A 15-GAME LEAD AND AN EYE ON THE PENNANT WHEN ALL OF A SUDDEN IT FORGOT HOW TO WIN? NOT VERY FUNNY

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None of this has had very much effect, however, especially on realists like Schmidt, who says, "To talk about psychology and how we feel and how we act is just a bunch of——. What we really need is just one good game."

There was every indication that game would arrive on Thursday against the Cubs. First came the standing ovation. In response, the Phils scored four runs in the second inning on three hits, a sacrifice bunt and some aggressive base running. A very big inning by recent standards and good enough for a win. Afterward, Ozark, a master malaprop, said the crowd's reception had given everyone "a little twinkle down their spine."

As it turned out, even the fans' support was not to last. The next night, when Bowa popped up to end the fifth inning with two men on base and the Phillies trailing 2-1, there were impatient boos. Bowa was only a minor villain, though. Atrocious base running was the major cause of the 3-2 defeat. Schmidt was caught in a rundown between second and third in the first inning, Garry Maddox in another between third and home in the second. Cash tagged up too late on a long drive to center in the eighth, stumbled as he left the bag and was an easy out when he reached third.

In the ninth inning, Rick Bosetti made his second major league appearance, as a pinch runner for Luzinski, who had led off with a single. Although Ozark considers Bosetti his "best base runner," the rookie foolishly took too big a lead and was easy pickings for Cub Pitcher Rick Reuschel. One observer called it a case of using "a 10� player in a million-dollar situation."

Kaat, who has gotten little support and four losses during the slump, says the pennant race now resembles a horse race, with his team in serious danger of losing. "I always feel better with a horse making a strong run down the stretch rather than one that's fading," he says. "If you took me out of my Philadelphia uniform I'd feel the same way about this pennant race."

Fast-closing Pittsburgh plays Philadelphia twice this week and the Pirates, says Pitcher Jerry Reuss, are "daring to think we have a chance. Winning is like a domino effect. Once it starts it's really hard to stop."

The Phillies might say the same about losing.

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