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Carlos Garcia, a September call-up and the only Pirate who has not appeared in a game, hands an Instamatic to Orlando Merced, who snaps a photo of Garcia—behind the batting cage at Wrigley Field in a pennant race. No other ballpark inspires such boyishness. "When it's 75 and sunny in Wrigley," says the Pirates' Andy Van Slyke, "all you feel like doing after the game is going for ice cream."
It is 75 and sunny at game time. Van Slyke homers in the first, and Pittsburgh leads 4-0 after two innings. New York, meanwhile, has taken a 4-2 lead over Montreal through seven innings of the first game of their doubleheader at Shea Stadium. But at 2:35 Central Daylight Time, a large 4 is hung in the square representing the Expo half of the eighth in New York on the hand-operated Wrigley scoreboard. Fourteen thousand nine hundred and twenty-six fans applaud for 20 seconds. "I didn't realize that everybody hated the Mets in Chicago, too," Van Slyke says later.
In the eighth inning of what will be an 11-2 Pittsburgh win, Garcia pinch-hits for Lind and lines the first major league pitch ever thrown to him sharply into right-field for a single. He is given the baseball and, God willing, will later get a Polaroid of the swing.
The Mets will be shut out 2-0 in the second game of their doubleheader by a rookie named Chris Nabholz. The Bucs don't know this yet, but they will lead New York by 2� games when they go in sleep tonight.
"Let's go," shouts Otis, the visitors' clubhouse man as the Pirates prepare to leave for the airport. "We've got half an hour till our favorite team pulls out and our least favorite team pulls in."
FRIDAY, SEPT. 21
WELCOME TO THE NEW WRIGLEY FIELD—OUR FAVORITE TEAM, THE NEW YORK METS. Otis has made a minor revision of his message-board handiwork. "We love you guys, we love you guys," he says as the Mets file in.
Cub manager Don Zimmer has selected someone from his bullpen named Steve Wilson to start today. Wilson's primary qualification for the assignment is that he was born with an arm on the left side of his body, a trait the Mets frequently find baffling. "Any lefthander looks like Cy Young against us," says Mets manager Bud Harrelson. "Was Cy Young lefthanded? No? Any lefthander looks like Sandy Koufax against us."
At precisely 1:20, the game's scheduled starting time, white smoke billows from the New York dugout. Either the Mets have just elected a new Pope, or Harrelson has set off another string of firecrackers to, as he puts it, "get the bats going." New York gets four hits, with the wind blowing out, and loses 4-3 to Wilson.