Hours before I talked myself into reporting for work, I talked myself into getting out of bed.
What a mess my life had become. Cops and a killer were shadowing me, my rattled sexy girlfriend was missing, the Giants were heading for a mediocre finish, and now an annoying rookie reporter with a busted face was probably going to barbeque me in his paper.
The only piece of normalness I had left was my yearly summer job, despite all the recent shenanigans connected with that. It was the last game of the homestand, so after a shower, half gallon of coffee and some eggs I threw my uniform in a bag and trudged back to the ball park.
Pence Murphy appeared the second I put my hand on the changing room door handle.
“Got a sec, Drake?”
Pence never asked for a second. Most of the time he just blurted out whatever stupidity was on his mind. I nodded, and he pulled me around the corner, like he was afraid of anyone seeing us. Or me.
“We made a change.”
“To the section assignments? Well that’s good, because Dot was getting under every inch of my skin.”
“No, no. YOU’RE the change.”
He sighed before he said the next thing. Pence Murphy actually sighed.
“You’re fired, Drake. At least ten people saw you beat up that reporter, and the guy is pressing charges.”
So this is what it had come to. Save the public image, and damn the investigation. I thought about bringing up the Peanut Killer calling me on the Handy-Talkie. But what good would that have done? And why waste intelligent words on this moron?
“So what? He was slime, Pence! A weasel with zits! I’ll go talk to Stoneham—”
Tried to walk away and he grabbed my arm. “This came from Stoneham! I don’t care how much of a jerk this kid was, we can’t have ushers beating up reporters, get it?”
I stared at him, the back of my neck heating up while my soul began to evaporate.
“Sorry about this, Drake. You’re a good usher. But we had no choice…Good luck to ya.”
And he ducked into the changing room. I stood there in the hall a long moment. Then thought, screw this place. Dumped my uniform in a nearby trash can, wandered up the first tunnel I could find into the grandstand.
Found an empty seat in a mostly empty row in the far left field corner and sat there in a daze for the next three hours. If the world I lived in was a disaster, maybe I could transport myself into a baseball one for the day. I even bought a souvenir scorebook to dive in deeper.
Mike McCormick was his usual awful self, gave the Phillies a triple, double, and single in the 1st and was behind 2-0 quick. At least he was able to plunk Ashburn on the noggin and put him out for the rest of the game. Kirkland homered to give us a run back, and then Jack Sanford fell off a cliff in the Giants’ 4th. It started with a single, walk, single, single, walk and a double, and after a two-out Mays single we had a 7-2 lead.
My feelings of death and despair took a breather, but McCormick brought them back right away. Three Phillie singles in the 5th cut it to 7-3, and even after we scored the next seven runs off Sanford and reliever Hearn, Lopata homered to kick off a five-run Phillie 7th and bring in Gordon Jones, who was just as bad. By the time Bob Bowman hit a 2-run shot in the 8th off Grissom we were up 16-11 but I couldn’t take it anymore. After what happened before the game, I couldn’t take watching our lousy bullpen cough up another one.
So I let Chumpo pour me a few at the Double Play instead, and heard us hang for the win via radio.
“You don’t look too good, Snappy.”
“Can’t imagine you would either, Chumpo, if you lost your job and found out you were being sued on the same day.”
“You need trees, that’s what.”
“Yup. When my dog got hit by that milk truck, best thing I did was drive up the coast, lie on the ground and look up at them redheaded trees. Can’t slap you with no lawsuit if they don’t know which trees you’re lyin’ under.”
He slid his rag down to the far end of the bar. For once, Chumpo was making a whole bunch of good sense.
PHI 020 020 520 – 11 19 2
S.F. 010 643 20x – 16 19 1
W-McCormick L-Sanford HRS: Lopata, Bowman, Kirkland, GWRBI-Spencer
PIT 400 002 001 – 7 11 0
L.A. 300 011 30x – 8 11 0
W-Roebuck L-Friend SV-Craig HRS: Stuart, Neal GWRBI-Neal
Two singles and a game-winning 3-run shot by Charlie Neal make up for another krummy Koufax start, as Craig retires Skinner with the tying run on third base and two outs in the 9th.
CIN 100 000 300 – 4 7 2
CHI 400 410 00x – 9 11 0
W-Drabowsky L-Purkey HRS: Banks, Lynch GWRBI-Banks
CIN 000 020 000 00 – 2 6 0
CHI 010 000 001 01 – 3 8 1
W-Henry L-Jeffcoat HR: Moryn GWRBi-Neeman
Cubbies double up on the Redlegs, bashing Bob purkey in the opener and squeaking out the nightcap on a game-tying sac fly by Bobby Adams and a game-winning sac fly by Cal Neeman. Now with a game and a half lead, they head to Milwaukee—where their power sticks will be tested.
MIL 103 002 000 – 6 10 0
STL 000 021 022 – 7 13 2
W-Martin L-Robinson HRS: Landrith, B.G. Smith GWRBI-Moon
Two things are proven again in this one: Sad Sam Jones has been a starting nightmare for the Cards, and the Braves can’t hold a lead to save their lives, or even those of their children. Boyer, Noren and Moon all single off Humberto Robinson in the 9th to blow today’s 1-run loss for Milwaukee.
DET 000 001 022 – 5 8 0
NYY 200 101 02x – 6 7 1
W-Turley L-Bunning SV-Duren HRS: Virgil, Mantle-2 GWRBI-Mantle
DET 010 000 002 – 3 10 1
NYY 000 000 000 – 0 4 0
W-Susce L-Maas GWRBI-Virgil
The Mick goes batty in the opener, but George Susce (!) blows away the Yanks in Game 2. Charley Maxwell twists an ankle in the 9th, however, and will be gone from the Tigers for a week and a half. They’ve just been hammered by injuries.
K.C. 000 002 002 – 4 9 1
BOS 200 400 00x – 6 7 1
W-Monboquette L-Terry SV-Kiely HR: Malzone GWRBI-Malzone
I guess it’s possible for the A’s to beat the Red Sox sometime this year, but I’m not putting any money on it.
CHI 004 100 001 – 6 10 1
BAL 100 010 011 – 4 9 0
W-Donovan L-Johnson SV-Staley HRS: Nieman, Castleman GWRBI-Lollar
A Callison triple and Bubba Phillips single cap a 4-run rally in the 3rd that decides the game. Staley bails Donovan out of an 8th inning jam for the tough save.
CLE 000 200 202 – 6 13 1
WAS 000 211 000 – 4 9 1
W-Tomanek L-Valentinetti HRS: Nixon, Harrell, Doby, Sievers, Aspromonte GWRBI-Avila
Bobby Avila’s double climaxes another late Senator meltdown as Dick Tomanek wins his last game for the Tribe before moving to Kansas City with Preston Ward, Chico Carrasquel and Roger Maris for Vic Power, Woodie Held and Billy Hunter.
National League through Sunday, June 15
American League through Sunday, June 15