Lieutenant Scallion-Breath called me this morning right before I went out for a ride. Seemed that the Opening Day stiff, whose name was John Blaziecsky Jr., was a vacuum salesman from San Jose who was at the game by himself. Normal family guy. In other words no reason for anyone to shish-ka-bob him. I said I didn’t know the man and hung up. But I sure did know Paulie Suggs.
Paulie lived on a hill. Like, who doesn’t in this city? But this was one was Bradford Street in Bernal Heights, an incredibly steep incline that took me an hour and a full set of brake pads to find. My ’53 Coronet was screaming for mercy before I was halfway up the thing, and I patted her rusty nose before tackling the sidewalk.
Paulie would have screamed for a different kind of mercy altogether, except the bum wasn’t even home. On vacation in Atlantic City said his neighbor, who had no idea when he skipped town. It seemed pretty clear he wasn’t around the day someone broke in my place, so I stuck a mental pin in him for a future gab.
Nobody was gabbing in the Seals’ usher room, that’s for sure. At least not to me. Word had spread that the law held me overnight, so there were a lot of cool nods and evading eyeballs. Most of the guys stuck in the lousier sections of the park hated me anyway for having one of the prime ones, so this was a great excuse to close ranks.
It was still nice to be back on the job, though. The game with the Cards was another close and weird one that we somehow pulled out (see below), and I was nicer than I usually am to the snottier box seat holders.
The trouble came when a pack of hooky-playing urchins snuck into a row of seats next to the field and interfered with two straight balls, one fair and the other falling into Jim Davenport’s glove. I kicked them out of the section, but afterwards my darling of a boss Pence Murphy let me have it for letting the kids even get in the park. I let Pence have it right back in so many four-letter words, which was a big mistake.
“I don’t like your mouth, Drake.” he barked, a handful of ushies grinning in the background, “So how about we give your section to old McGee for a few days? I got something more politeness-building for ya.”
It was a beauty, alright. Swirling seagulls paint Seals’ outfield fences routinely with their white gooey droppings, and I was now elected to clean it off for two hours every morning.
Don’t have to tell you I wasn’t spinning like a top over this. To not celebrate, I tipped a half dozen draft Hamms at the Double Play later with Reggie and Bob. The place was electrified, everyone toasting the Giants being tied for first with Cincy. I said it probably wouldn’t last because our wins seemed to be sprinkled with leprechaun dust, and this Willie Mays hadn’t done anything yet to make me forget Joe DiMaggio. Bob didn’t exactly agree.
“They’re 5-2 and you gotta piss on our party? What the hell’s wrong with you, Snappy?”
“And Mays now?” piped in Reggie, “You sound like one of those Negro-hater meatheads who wouldn’t sell him and his wife a house. I think Bob’s right. What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Well, the last thing I am is a Negro-hater. But let’s see…I find a body at my feet, get grilled by two idiot cops, get lured to L.A. by a cute slinky broad who really wants to hang around at murder sites, end up with the dead guy’s wallet planted in my broken-in apartment, get grilled again by the same idiot cops, and today get a new job cleaning up seagull crap. How’s that for starters?”
Bob and Reggie didn’t squawk again, and after another couple Hamms I didn’t hear much of anything. Last I remember Chumpo was tucking me into a back booth. Draped one of his bar towels over my head to keep out the light. I passed out talking to myself, and before long found myself stumbling around the Irish countryside. A pack of leprechauns chased me into a dark forest, and I climbed up a slippery stone staircase where a tall blonde woman was waiting for me at the top. She had the face of a seagull.
STL 000 000 000 – 0 8 1
S.F. 000 001 00x – 1 3 1
W-Gomez L-Jones GWRBI-Rodgers
Believe me, this game was more twisted than that nightmare. The Cards put 13 runners on base against Ruben Gomez, the Giants only 4 against Sam Jones…and the Giants win anyway, on a timely single by Andre Rodgers in the 6th. We still have 17 more games on this homestand, but as I was telling the guys at the Double Play, this magic nuttiness just can’t last.
MIL 010 000 000 – 1 12 0
PIT 100 000 001 – 2 8 0
W-Gross L-Burdette GWRBI-Hall
Similar deal as the last game, with a few more runs. Braves hit into three double plays to kill their rallies, and the Bucs grab it on singles by Clemente, Groat and Bill Hall in the 9th.
CHI 000 101 000 000 001 – 3 13 1
L.A. 000 002 000 000 000 – 2 9 0
W-Henry L-Kipp HRS: Thomson, Neal GWRBI-Thomson
And apparently the Giants leaving town doesn’t help the Dodgers at all, because they lose this one the same way, brutally. Neal ties the game with a 2-run homer off Hobbie in the 6th, and both clubs melt into eight straight innings of offensive sewage. Furillo grounds into a DP to kill a first and second no out chance in the last of the 10th. The Cubs knock Drysdale out with three singles to begin the 14th, then Banks rolls into a 1-2-3 DP and Tanner grounds out. Both teams ground into four twin killings apiece before the Dodgers finally lose it on a homer off Kipp by…Bobby Thomson.
[Reds and Phillies are idle.]
BOS 003 020 210 – 8 9 1
NYY 010 050 000 – 6 10 1
W-Brewer L-Larsen HRS: Malzone, Williams, Berra GWRBI-Daley
Boston bats continue their bludgeoning against an ineffective Larsen, even after Yogi’s two-out grand slam in the 5th puts the Yanks in front 6-5. Two walks, a single, and a two-out 2-run single by Sammy White replacement Pete Daley prove to be the winners. Ted Williams adds a homer in the 8th because he can. The Yanks put the first two guys on base in each of the last three innings but don’t score any of them. Twenty bucks says they can’t wait to get to Washington tomorrow.
BAL 002 100 100 – 4 7 0
WAS 000 100 000 – 1 10 1
W-O’Dell L-Ramos SV-Wilhelm HR: Triandos GWRBI-Boyd
The Senator win streak ends at one. The Birds put most of their hits together and Washington, obviously, does not.
CHX 010 010 300 – 5 12 0
DET 010 001 001 – 3 9 0
W-Wynn L-Bunning SV-Staley HR: Zernial GWRBI-Lollar
The pesky Sox come from behind with five straight singles in the 7th off Bunning and Aguirre, and Staley snuffs a 9th inning Tiger upraising by getting Veal and Boone with two aboard.
CLE 100 000 000 – 1 5 2
K.C. 100 110 00x – 3 7 0
W-Terry L-Grant HR: Tuttle GWRBI-Tuttle
Mudcat gets the official loss, but Vic Wertz is the goat in this one, grounding into a 3-6-3 DP to kill a promising rally in the 1st, then butchering a Hal Smith grounder in the 5th to bring in an A’s insurance run. Indians will now take on the White Sox, so they’ll need to get their warpath together.
National League through Tuesday, April 22
American League through Tuesday, April 22