So my usher pals welcomed me with a devil’s food cake and bottle of Napa red, like I’d just returned from Korea.
“You were kind of a crappy bullpen catcher anyway,” said Cheesesteak Phil. There was also some funny talk about whether they wanted me back at all, seeing that being out of my usher duds seemed to put the team on a winning streak.
There was no way around it. Two weeks ago we were jockeying with the Pirates for last place, and now rookie Cepeda had taken charge on the field and in the clubhouse, Antonelli was on a roll, and we were suddenly nipping at the Dodgers’ necks for second place.
Section 16 was a big party this afternoon, and Xavier Lawrence Chitwood being safely in the clink was a big reason. I got more back slaps and juicy tips than I’d had all year. It had to be a relief for the fans to not be seated by a suspected derelict.
Of course, there were the questions.
“Did you see the Peanut Killer in jail, Snappy?”
“What was he like?”
“Will they make a movie about him, ya think?”
“Will you get to act in the movie?”
These lasted right up till game time. Even usherette Dot stopped by to ask if the suspect was “as handsome and evil as his photo.” Thankfully, the Giants rocked the scoreboard early and often, and my fan club was distracted in a hurry.
It was unbelievable, actually. Daryl Spencer popped one out off the 2-10 Nuxhall in our first at bat. Temple booted a grounder and Mays put one over the fence. Then Cepeda hit one out to center. Smoky Burgess clubbed one into the right field bleachers in the Cincy 2nd, but we scored six more times for Worthington in the next three innings, and handed the hapless Reds their 12th straight loss. Cincy eventually tried avoiding us altogether, walking ten batters, but it was a bad strategy.
With the Braves sweeping the Dodgers down in L.A., we were suddenly in front of our neighbors. Liz obviously wouldn’t care to hear this, and because she was typing away on her novel into the evening, I stopped at the Double Play to see Chumpo and Bob and tell them about my cross-country exploits as Nick Testa. The bar was packed and loud, talking about the Giants, the three big upcoming games with the Braves in town, and I should have been having as great a time as everyone else.
But with every drink, and especially with every peanut bowl that slid by my nose, I kept seeing Xavier Lawrence Chitwood’s face. I then realized why I hadn’t slept too well the night before, and it had nothing to do with my typically strange dreams.
Something about the X-Man was seriously bugging me, and I couldn’t even name what it was.
CIN 020 020 000 – 4 4 2
S.F. 430 310 00x – 11 11 2
W-Worthington L-Nuxhall HRS:Burgess, Spencer, Mays, Cepeda GWRBI-Spencer
MIL 202 610 001 – 12 18 1
L.A. 001 100 000 – 2 7 0
W-Burdette L-Erskine HR: Adcock GWRBI-Roach
Well, if Joe Adcock is now hitting, the National League is in deep trouble. The big lug has done next to nothing all year, but collects a sac fly, double and moonshot homer in his first three trips here, Aaron goes 5-for-5 again just to prove he can, and Burdette cruises to the sweep. Milwaukee in their last 20 games? Try 17-3.
PHI 002 000 011 1 – 5 11 0
STL 003 000 100 0 – 4 10 1
W-Farrell L-Jones HR: Jones GWRBI-Post
Sad Sam against the clutchmeisters from Philly? Nice try. Despite his usual sketchy pitching Jones has a 4-2 lead late, but the Phils score one in the 8th, tie it on a Hamner triple off Paine with two gone in the 9th, wit in the the 10th when with two outs and nobody on, Ashburn walks, Hemus singles, Kasko boots one, and Wally Post singles in the winner. Cards are slip sliding away.
PIT 010 000 000 – 1 3 1
CHI 000 000 000 – 0 4 3
And the Bucs quietly roll up to 6th place. They ground into three DPs and leave eleven on base, but Porterfield shuts down the Cubs with ease.
CLE 000 002 000 – 2 4 2
NYY 000 010 40x – 5 7 1
W-Ford L-Grant HR: Mantle GWRBI-Mantle
The Mick does it again, greeting Don Mossi with a 3-run bomb in the last of the 7th to turn this one around for good.
CHI 000 000 020 – 2 7 0
BOS 200 100 30x – 6 8 2
W-Bowsfield L-Wynn SV-Smith HRS: Daley, Gernert GWRBI-Daley
The Pete Daley Show continues, the backup backstop singling twice, homering once to knock in half the Boston runs. Off Bob Shaw in the 7th, the Red Sox put the game on ice with their patented rally: walk-walk-3-run Gernert homer.
K.C. 100 001 001 1 – 4 11 3
BAL 020 001 000 0 – 3 7 0
W-Gorman L-Wilhelm GWRBI-Chiti
Jack Harshman can’t seal the deal in the 9th, Wilhelm loses another game in the 10th, and the Birds drop their second straight to the scrappy A’s. Harry Chiti goes 4-for-4 and even draws a rare intentional walk.
DET 410 000 215 – 13 26 1
WAS 000 100 040 – 5 7 1
W-Hoeft L-Pascual HRS: Zernial-2, Kaline, Sievers, Bridges, Zauchin GWRBI-Kaline
More room than ever at the Griffith Stadium Resort and Spa! Let your bats enjoy unlimited bashing pleasure from the easy offerings of our Wretched Relief Squad…Throw your worst pitchers against us and refresh your mind, body and soul with our constant, swinging breezes. We’ll take all major credit cards as soon as they’re invented…
National League through Friday, July 11
American League through Friday, July 11