Watching football on TV last night, Herzog could not get a grim baseball thought off his mind: "If Mayberry and Otis were only carrying their load...."
Had Herzog completed the sentence, he would have said something on the order of "we'd be 10 games in front." Like Brett and McRae, Mayberry and Otis were asked to pull the ball more this year. Unlike Brett and McRae, they have largely failed to hit. Two seasons ago they were a Royal one-two punch. Last year Mayberry slumped from .291 to .232, and Otis was hit on the head by a pitch delivered by Stan Bahnsen. This season Mayberry has increased his homer output from 13 to 20, but his average is again in the .230s. His teammates wince in sympathy as he lunges at pitches and lifts his head while swinging. Herzog seems convinced that Otis is gun-shy because of the beaning, and he often benches his centerfielder against hard throwers Jim Palmer, Dennis Eckersley, Nolan Ryan and Bert Blyleven. Otis is batting only .255 against the pitchers he does face. "I think I can still hit Palmer and the others," he says, "but Whitey's the boss. It wouldn't hurt if I were 35, but I'm 30." Nonetheless, in the judgment of some American Leaguers, Otis is only too happy to sit down against the big heat.
But he can play in big heat. On this 91� afternoon, Otis walks twice, singles and scores on John Wathan's homer. Andy Hassler and Bird five-hit the Orioles. After the 5-0 win, the Royals feast on hard-shell crabs. It has been a weekend worth celebrating.
"We made two mistakes," says Veeck. "We showed up for the game and didn't pray hard enough for rain."
Sitting morosely in the press box waiting for the final Minnesota-Boston score to come in, Veeck is in his uniform of dark slacks and short-sleeved, open-collared white shirt. Usually he gets up and paces when a game gets down to the final outs, but there is no need for that today. Nor is there much for the 42.426 fans to Hey, hey! about.
The weather is August-in- Chicago humid, the wind swirls paper bags and hot-dog wrappers around the field like tumbleweeds, and the Brewers go on a rampage right from the first inning, bashing Sox pitching for 16 hits in a 10-1 romp.
Rookie righthander Lary Sorensen, who has developed into a steady starter for Milwaukee after beginning the season by getting blitzed in Triple A, holds Chicago to six hits. Veeck is wrong. The Sox make a lot more than two mistakes. The Royals are winning still. But now Chicago isn't.