I was astounded
when Yaz connected with an inside fastball for a leadoff second-inning homer, a
blast that from my vantage point looked foul. Fisk and Lynn followed with
fly-ball outs, Lynn's drive propelled to deep centerfield. I reasoned that
Guidry, after all, was working on only three days' rest, that he was a fragile
guy, that maybe there was a shot at him.... Maybe there was a shot at him.
getting stronger as the game moved along. When the fourth inning began, my
nerves were so jumbled that I felt it impossible to continue standing in that
puddle staring out at the field. I wanted to break away from it, soften its
colors, lower its volume.
I climbed up the
metal ladder and went into the men's room, a separate little building with one
long urinal and two filthy sinks above which was written in large, well-formed
blue Magic Marker letters and numbers, FATE IS AGAINST '78.
In the press room
the ABC telecast was playing to an empty house. I sat down to watch an inning
or so and was joined a moment later by Ned Martin, whose partner, an amiable,
childlike man named Jim Woods, was handling the fourth. Woods' usual innings
were the third, fourth and seventh. Knowing of this arrangement, I had hoped
for Ned's appearance. Someone so close to it all, so immersed in it all for so
many years, would have the answer. He would reassure me, calm me down.
Ned is usually
more loquacious than he was that afternoon. He is as articulate and as creative
a sports-caster as there is in the country. He is often poetic and moving.
"The Yankee score is up," he had observed late in September from
Toronto, where scores remain only momentarily on the electric board. "Soon
it will be gone," he had continued in his usual quiet tone. "It will
flash away like a lightning bug into the moist and chilly Canadian
From Chicago a
number of seasons ago—I wrote it down at the time: "The dark clouds
approaching from beyond leftfield look to be ambling across the sky in no
apparent hurry. They know what trouble they are and are teasing the crowd with
their distant growl."