"The way I see it," said Los Angeles Outfielder Bill North, a formidable optimist, "we're about even. They're ahead, but we're going back home." Home could not look sweeter after what happened to the Dodgers on this, their gloomiest Sunday. The Yankees humiliated them 12-2, spraying 16 singles and two doubles to every patch of soggy ground in Yankee Stadium, acreage the Dodgers regard with much the same affection that Bonaparte felt for Elba. Grumbling in embarrassment after the debacle, the Dodgers snarled disapproval of the turf, the fans, the city, everything connected with the appalling Gotham weekend. They came to New York leading the Series two-zip; they left it trailing three-two.
The first two losses might at least be defined as baseball games; Sunday's beggared description. Yankee hits caromed off Dodger infielders, notably the much-abused shortstop, Russell, and found openings where none seemed to be. The Dodgers' contributions to the lost cause included three errors, one wild pitch and two passed balls. Russell, guilty of an outright error in the first inning on the first ball hit to him, spent much of the rest of the twilight-night game playing short hops off his shins. When he fielded White's grounder without incident in the sixth inning, the New York fans, all presumably escaped felons, cheered him sarcastically. That about cracked it for Russell, ordinarily the mildest-mannered Dodger. Approached after the game by the press, he exploded in rage and frustration. "Get out of here, you negative S.O.B.s," he yelled. When he regained his composure, after a brief diatribe on the shortcomings of Fun City, he said he found it difficult to concentrate when surrounded by such hostile fans. "I'm only human," he said, unnecessarily. "I'm by no means a Gold Glover."
Russell was not the only Dodger to complain about foul treatment from Yankee spectators. Smith said he was abused with "filthy language," and Monday claimed he was hit in centerfield with a tennis ball, various fruits and rolls of toilet paper. Lopes seemed astonished at the wild scene that followed the Yankee victory. "Other people win and their fans don't go crazy," he said in wonder.
In truth, a good deal of this was sour grapes, a case of the vanquished Angelenos taking their disappointment out on the spectators. After all, they were beaten by Jim Beattie, a Dartmouth graduate who was pitching his first complete major league game. By stroking all those singles, the Yankees established a World Series record for such hits. And two members of the lower depths of the Yankee batting order, Doyle and Dent, went 6 for 9. Doyle and Dent hit .192 and .243, respectively, during the regular season. Munson, a somewhat more reputable batting threat, made his three hits good for five runs batted in and joined Lopes as the second player in the Series to knock in that many in a game. The Yankees had four-run innings in the third and seventh and a three-run fourth.
Beattie, meanwhile, scattered nine hits and did not allow a run after the third inning. Worse yet, he may have learned how to beat the National League champions from conversations overheard in Dodger Stadium, of all places. During the first two games, his wife had heard fans there say that the Dodgers were vulnerable to hard-throwing righthanders, a description that fits Beattie perfectly. After the first Dodger win, said Beattie, his future opponents seemed "larger than life" to him. After his wife's eavesdropping, "I felt much more confident."
The Yankees, specialists all year in rising from the ruins, succeeded in changing the course of the Series in a single weekend in their own park. "The bright side of this," said North, "is that now they have to play us in our park. You can look at what happened here in one of two ways. Either it was a devastating blow, or we can come back and beat them at home. If they beat us on our turf, they deserve to win it."