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The morning had been hot and the workout hard, and now the Philadelphia Phillies were limping into their Clearwater, Fla. clubhouse in search of cool drinks and long showers. Sweat poured, muscles throbbed and tongues lolled. Then, from somewhere in the locker area, came a plaintive cry for relief: "Bring back Danny Ozark."
After seven springs of training under the easygoing Ozark, the Phillies are up against a rock, new-old manager Dallas Green. Green stands tall—6'5"—and talks loud—Whispers is his nickname—and on the field he's about as much fun as a drill sergeant.
This dramatic change in style became necessary—so the Philadelphia front office felt—when the Phils, having won the National League Eastern Division championship three years in a row, from 1976 to 1978, and having bought expensive insurance on the 1979 title in the form of free agent Pete Rose, swooned last season en route to finishing 14 games behind Pittsburgh. The reason for the collapse was deemed to be complacency; the remedy, shock treatment. Bye-bye, Danny; hello, Dallas.
Although Green managed the Phillies as an interim skipper for the last 30 games of 1979, the difference between his and Ozark's styles has never been in sharper focus than it was last week when the Phillies officially opened spring training at their Carpenter Field complex. Before sending his charges out for their first drills, Green, who was anointed as the fulltime manager in October, informed the players that "you were one of the poorest teams in the majors last year." With that warm sentiment ringing in their ears, the Phillies hustled out for a closely watched, well-ordered regimen of hitting, pitching, fielding, fundamentals and running, running, running. Unlike previous years, there was a long list of noes: no kids on the sidelines, no reporters near the batting cages, no sneaking into the clubhouse for a mid-morning respite and, most assuredly, no playing in the Pasadena Country Club's annual golf tournament.
If Philadelphia is to have any fun in 1980, Green wants it to be in October, not March. And most of the Phillies seem willing to wait. "We've got a tremendous amount of talent on this team," Relief Pitcher Tug McGraw says, "but a Rolls-Royce can't go anywhere without a driver. We haven't had good leadership."
Not so this spring. Notices pinned to bulletin boards spell out the day's marching orders. Signs in the clubhouse shout "We" not "I," and a team meeting is held before every workout. Ozark, who is on the east coast of Florida these days, coaching for the Dodgers, might not recognize his old team. Greg Luzinski reported to camp at 217 pounds, 22 less than a year ago, and even Steve Carlton, a noted abstainer in springs past, is doing some running.
"Danny let the players get away with murder," says Pitcher Dick Ruthven. "Last spring the players did only what they wanted and then took a hike."
McGraw makes the comparison this way: "Spring training should never be boring, and that's the way it's been in the past—nonchalant, slow-moving and borrriiiing."
Not every player agrees. After all, Ozark did manage Philadelphia to those three Eastern Division titles. "I don't need to be motivated," says Centerfielder Garry Maddox. "We had a manager who let us do things our way, and I'd have to say we were successful."
Shortstop Larry Bowa believes Ozark was unfairly blamed for the team's collapse last year. "Danny did a helluva job as manager, and I don't think a change was necessary," he says. "But I guess we did get into a rut, and Dallas won't let us get complacent because he'll be yelling."