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In the cubicle adjoining the manager's office at Ebbets Field there is room only for three lockers, the stools in front of them, a small couch and considerable cogitation. The three lockers belong to the three coaches, the couch to whoever happens to be sitting there at the moment.
This time it belonged to Walt Alston. He sat there studiously, in full Dodger uniform, looking for the answer on the sheet of paper that rested on his knees. Each day before the game, Alston is handed such a sheet. It contained the Dodgers in mimeographed form, individually and collectively.
The newspapermen who cover the club get copies. They read certain things into the many-columned table of statistics. Alston might read others.
"Here's something that's changed," said the manager, looking up from his lap. "Our pitchers have hit eight men. We've only been hit twice."
"Do you think we're ducking better than we used to?" suggested Jake Pitler.
"No," said Billy Herman. "Why should they bother to throw at us? We're not hitting enough to waste pitches on that way. They don't have to throw at us."
"That's right," said Joe Becker. "They threw at us last year when we were hitting home runs. Now we're not hitting them. Now we're not hitting anything, so they're not bothering to hit us."
Alston's face crinkled in a smile. "Our pitchers have given up 69 home runs," he said, referring to the sheet. "We've hit 58."
"That's another thing that has changed," said Herman with a trace of disgust.
"I've got to believe we're going to hit," said Alston earnestly. "These guys have been good hitters all their lives. They can't all stop hitting at once. You just don't forget how to hit overnight."