"You don't even have to look for the [ Mets] score," says rightfielder Bobby Bonilla. "You'll see it soon enough. Every time you turn on the TV, it's there."
The Pirates are undressing in the clubhouse after their 8-5 loss when word reaches them that Montreal has scored a run in the ninth inning to beat the Mets 4-3. Pittsburgh still leads New York by half a game, but Montreal has crept to within 4� games of first. Leyland has, shall we say, noticed this—not that he has been following the action elsewhere.
"There's a difference between scoreboard watching and noticing the score on the scoreboard," he is quick to point out. "If you stare up at it all day, you're in trouble. But you know what's going on up there. And anybody who says he doesn't is probably BS-ing you."
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 19
There will be no scoreboard noticing in Chicago this afternoon: The Mets-Expos game is at night. The Pirates arrive at Wrigley in the morning to find that the names above their lockers have been changed to nicknames. There is Bucket-head (second baseman Jose Lind) and First Half (pitcher Neal Heaton, who had 10 of his 12 wins before the All-Star break) and Charlie Manson (third baseman Jeff King, whose face looks like the driver's license photo you didn't choose).
For a team that is only 9-9 in September, Pittsburgh is having a delightful time. "Sure we are," says Drabek. "This is what you play for. We'd like to have a big lead, but we don't, so...."
So they make do with small leads and small jokes. Pitcher Jerry Reuss tells an idling reporter that" 'working press' must be kind of like 'military intelligence' and 'jumbo shrimp.' "
Drabek gets his 20th win as the Pirates beat the Cubs 8-7. Leftfielder Barry Bonds, the league's leading MVP candidate, hits two home runs, the first of which gives him 30 for the season and puts him in the 30-30 club for homers and stolen bases. That's why his locker identifies Bonds as Statman and why he now talks endlessly of his accomplishments. How will he celebrate? "I'll go back to the hotel and watch Montreal and New York," says Bonds. "It's nice to sit down and watch the other guys play."
Not until Leyland returns to the Westin Hotel after dinner does he hear that New York and Montreal have been rained out. Leyland, who looks naturally gaunt and haggard, now looks unnaturally gaunt and haggard. "What the hell am I supposed to look like," he says, "the first day of spring training? When you've got all your hair, all your weight?" At his current rate of weight and hair loss, says Leyland, it won't be long before he becomes a hideous hybrid of "Don Knotts and Telly Savalas."
THURSDAY, SEPT. 20