As he had 18 times before, Bobby Wine watched the Philadelphia Phillies on Opening Day. Only this year, Wine, one of the most successful managers who never managed, wasn't sitting with guys named Callison and Bunning, Schmidt and Carlton. Last week, Wine sat in the living room of his Norristown, Pa. home with his wife, Fran, a neighbor, a reporter and two dogs and watched impassively as the Phillies, his old employer, beat his new team, the Atlanta Braves, 5-0.
Wine, who is the Braves' advance scout, ended his career as a Phillie player (1960-68) and coach (1972-83) last October after owner Bill Giles and manager Paul Owens decided to bring Class AAA manager John Felske to Philadelphia and groom him to replace Owens next season. It was the fourth time Wine had been passed over, even though he made most of Philadelphia's strategic decisions in the pennant-winning years of 1980 and '83 when first Dallas Green and then Paul Owens left the G.M.'s office for the dugout. Despite Wine's behind-the-scenes success, Giles said last week, "I never considered him to be a managerial candidate, and I told him so a few years ago. I didn't feel he would be a good manager and neither did Paul."
Owens became convinced that Wine should be fired after the Phillies lost the '83 Series in five games to the Orioles. According to Owens, Wine disdained the Phils' own extensive scouting reports in planning how to play Baltimore. "All our scouts' hard work hadn't been put to its best use," Owens says. "He just wasn't cooperating with everybody else."
The dismissal shocked Wine, who says, "When they allowed me to run the club, no one interfered with me. Then after we won the pennant in L.A., Bill Giles walked past me and said, 'Nice going, genius.' Everything went fine in the World Series, except that we didn't hit. By that token, we should fire the hitting coach. I guess they just didn't know what to do with me, and they weren't going to give me the job, so they let me go to get me out of the way."
For the Braves, Wine will keep charts on opposing players that show what type of pitch they were thrown and where they hit it, while also evaluating their other skills. Wine has been keeping such charts since he became a coach and they proved accurate in the Braves' opening loss. When Len Barker struck out Phillie first baseman Len Matuszek with an outside fastball in the top of the third, Wine read aloud, "Will chase high fastball out over strike zone."
Wine was verbally nimble when talking about his old and new teams, using "we" and "us" as the situation demanded, but his wife caught herself rooting for Philly's Von Hayes as he beat a throw to the plate in the sixth inning. "It sure is strange rooting for the other team," she says. "I can't handle going by that Vet. It's ours. It really chokes me up."
According to statistician Bill James, the Expos are making a mistake in putting Pete Rose, who'll be 43 this week, at the top of their batting order and dropping Tim Raines, 24, from first to third. Although James believes Rose is the greatest leadoff hitter of all time, he calls him a "terrible" player now and argues that Raines's 1983 season was the greatest any National League leadoff man ever had.
In 1983, Rose's on-base percentage for Philadelphia was .316, compared with Raines's .393. Rose reached scoring position under his own power 24 times (with 14 doubles, 3 triples, no homers and 7 steals of second base), while Raines did it 137 times (32, 8, 11, 86). Finally, while Rose scored 52 runs, Raines scored 133, setting a National League record, James says, by accounting for 19.6% of the Expos' team total.
Montreal manager Bill Virdon made the change because he believes Rose will get on base more frequently this year than he did in '83 and he wants to take advantage of Raines's greater run-producing ability. James anticipates, however, that Raines will soon return to the leadoff position and suggests that Rose "should bat eighth."
The decision to open the season with a "warm-weather schedule" proved sound. Opening Day games were held at all five California parks and in the three domed stadiums. The schedule makers replaced 1983 opening hosts Boston, the Cubs (whose '83 opener was rained out), the Mets and St. Louis with Kansas City, Atlanta, Los Angeles and San' Diego. Ironically, the Royals-Yankees game was '84's only Opening Day rainout, while New York City basked in sunny 60� weather. The nine outdoor openers were played in an average temperature of 63�, four degrees higher than in '83.