While bouncing from the Mets to the Rangers to the Yankees to the Pirates, Centerfielder Lee Mazzilli has carried a "bad arm" tag. Just how bad was evident during 4-3 and 9-1 Pittsburgh losses last week to the Cardinals. On four occasions, Redbirds took an extra base against Mazzilli that they might not even have attempted against another center-fielder. Three times the perpetrator was Keith Hernandez, who's hardly a whippet on the bases. In the 10th inning of the first game, he tagged up on a shallow fly to center and scored the winning run. Says Hernandez: " Mazzilli's the only guy I would attempt to score against [on such a play] in the big leagues."
The best offer of the season may already have been made by Bruce Sutter of the Cardinals, who last week picked up a win and a save in relief. He's surprised that no one comes to him for tips about throwing his split-fingered fastball. Says Sutter, "I'd be glad to show someone. Be glad to do anything I could to help a guy make a better living for himself and his family."
For years, Angel Executive Vice-President Buzzie Bavasi has given his players four rules to live by. The first three concern the use of drugs, wearing a helmet when batting and showing respect for the flag during the playing of the national anthem. "This year I dropped the fourth rule," Bavasi says. No. 4 used to read: "We prefer that no player borrow money from another player. Should there be an emergency, feel free to see me with regard to an advance." That rule was deleted, Bavasi says, "because players make so much money now that the club will have to borrow from them."
Bavasi's prophecy came true when the Padres recently went to Las Vegas for an exhibition game with their farm club there. When Traveling Secretary John Mattei asked the clerk at the Flamingo Hilton Hotel for keys to the players' rooms, he was told he'd first have to pay the bill in advance—$1,210.62. When the clerk would not honor the club's check, Pitcher John Montefusco peeled off a dozen $100s. Then Mattei handed the clerk an additional $11 and told him to keep the change.
Cardinal Joaquin Andujar's 12th victory in a row, including postseason play, was a 9-1 throttling of the Pirates that cut his ERA during that streak to 1.49.... With Omar Moreno gone to Houston, Lee Lacy has replaced him as Pittsburgh's leadoff man and at week's end paced both leagues in steals with 10.... Newest nickname: Pirate rookie Jim Winn, 23, who throws smoke, is called The Boy Cannon, after former Outfielder Jim (The Toy Cannon) Wynn, who hit 291 homers.
A rare accomplishment: Phillie Manager Pat Corrales got an ump to change his mind. He did it after a 3-2 pitch by Met Reliever Neil Allen in the last of the 10th of a 3-3 game bounced across the plate. As Schmidt headed for first, he was stopped by home plate umpire Ed Montague, who said it was only ball three. Out came Corrales, who convinced Montague he was wrong. Schmidt went to first and subsequently scored the winning run.
Seattle Manager Rene Lachemann hit his Mariners with some broadsides after they lost to Oakland 5-3 last Thursday night. It was Seattle's fourth loss in five games, and it came against an A's lineup that was minus five regulars. After his locker-room tirade ended, the usually mild-mannered Lachemann calmed down and went over it again more slowly for the press: "I said I was tired of getting embarrassed. I'm tired of seeing balls go through people, tags not being made, fly balls not being caught and pitchers making mistakes. Either they start playing as well as they are capable, or I'll make changes. I'll go to the bench first. Then I'll go to [our AAA farm club in] Salt Lake City. I'll go to Japan. I'll even go to Russia if I have to and I can get passports." Well, in their next outing the Mariners shaped up, beating the A's 5-1 as Gaylord Perry won the 308th game of his career, tying Hoss Radbourn for 12th on the alltime list.
Earl Weaver's retirement as Oriole manager ended 15 years of tomato-growing contests with Baltimore groundskeeper Pat Santarone at Memorial Stadium. "I was hoping Earl would appoint Jim Palmer as designated grower," Santarone said sadly.
In his first at bat in the majors, Dann Bilardello doubled in the game-winning run in a 5-1 Reds triumph over the Cubs. Afterward the heavy-footed catcher said, "My first thought when I saw the ball skipping off the AstroTurf as I rounded first was that I'd get a triple. Then I remembered who was running."
By beating the Mariners 6-1, Geoff Zahn of the Angels ran his American League career ERA for April to 2.60 and his record for the month to 19-4.... Last Thursday Damaso Garcia of Toronto made his 12th consecutive successful steal of third, dating back to 1981.... San Francisco's switch-hitting Chili Davis, who had three home runs from the right side last year, through week's end had already slugged three as a righty, all off San Diego lefty Dave Dravecky.