In Scottsdale, the lean figure of Manager Paul Richards dominated the field as he ambled everywhere, one or both hands stuck tightly in his pockets, directing all activity with meticulous care. Toward the end of a practice one day, he sat with his knees tucked under his chin on the grass of a practice field behind the park. A group of young pitchers sprawled in a semicircle in front of him. Richards talked softly, almost inaudibly. "You'll be scared and nervous for a while. That's only natural. But as you throw more and get the ball where you want it, you'll develop confidence in yourself. And when you have that confidence, you're a ballplayer."
There are certain times of the year when Frank Lane is quiet for minutes on end. Spring training is not one of those times. Sitting in the sun at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg one day last week the general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals simplified the 1957 National League pennant race.
"Brooklyn," he said, "is still the team to beat. They have problems: Campanella has to play for them to win, Robinson is gone, who can tell about their pitching? But they know how to win and that's important.
"Milwaukee has the best personnel in the league. Look at that pitching. But they need a second baseman and they don't seem to want to give up anybody to get him. They also need to get a little fight.
"Cincinnati," he said, "has the fight. That McMillan and Temple around second base have enough spirit for two teams. There's no doubt that with Kluszewski and Post and Bell and Bailey and Robinson and Crowe they have the power. And Tebbetts is a good manager. He's full of bull, but he has those kids believing it and he's a good manager. But what are they going to do for pitching? And don't forget that the Reds had a handful of guys having the best year they ever had last year—and they still just finished third.
"Us? Well, I said last year that if we didn't finish fourth I should quit. This year I'll say that we should win at least 10 or 11 more ball games and the same thing holds true: if we don't, I should quit. We can start out knowing Moon is an outfielder and not a first baseman, that Musial is going to be the first baseman, that Blasingame belongs on second and not at shortstop, and our pitching is going to be better. But, of course," adds Frank Lane, really a practical man after all, "we could win 10 or 11 more games and still finish fourth."
Optimism in Orlando
All the Senators were not yet in camp, but somehow it was different from St. Petersburg, where the absence of a Mantle or a Berra made the Yankee camp seem empty, or even like Clearwater where the Phillies still awaited Robin Roberts and Richie Ashburn. With the Senators, the sad truth is you don't miss their good players because you don't really expect to see any good players, although Washington has some, like Roy Sievers and Eddie Yost and Jim Lemon and Chuck Stobbs.
At the Senators' camp you find yourself looking instead at the ripening young players who, the Washington front office assures you, have plenty of potential but who, unhappily, always seem to be that frustrating "year away." One such is a big, strong Swede from California named Karl Arthur Olson. Olson will be 27 in July. Six years ago he batted .320 in the high minor leagues and was promoted to the majors with a small fanfare of trumpets. Since then he has performed with consistent and disappointing mediocrity.