Billy Martin on Earl Weaver

This is from one of Martin’s books, either Number 1 or Billy Ball, I don’t remember which. It is Martin’s comments on Weaver, perhaps his greatest A.L. adversary in the ’70s and ’80s:

I saved the best for last. I’m not being facetious when I say that. I know we’re supposed to have a hot rivalry going between us. The way that started is that I didn’t like him when he first came into the league. Frankly, he pissed me off the way he strutted around like a little bantam rooster and the way he talked. Thought he knew it all. Then he beat me three straight playoff games in 1969 when I was with Minnesota and that got me fired.

Later, when I came back with Detroit, he was always making comments about me in the papers, and I would return them with comments of my own. During the game, I’d be in my dugout and he’d be in his and I’d hear his raspy voice yelling at the umpires or at one of my players. I’d jump up to the top step of the dugout to say something to him, but he’d run away and hide.

Even when he didn’t run, I wouldn’t be able to look him in the eye, anyway, because he’s so short. Sometimes, he wouldn’t even be there; he’d be down in the runway, yelling at somebody and lighting up one of the cigarettes that he carries inside his uniform shirt.

Published in: Uncategorized on August 9, 2014 at 12:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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An Interview With Mike Pagliarulo About the ’95 Mariners, ’89 A’s, and Billy Martin

A few years ago, after I’d written some articles for a website, Dugout Central, that he owned at the time, I talked with Mike Pagliarulo, the ’80s and ’90s third baseman for the Yankees, Twins, and other teams, on the phone. The bulk of the interview was about the 1991 Minnesota Twins, and that part was published in a Twins season preview magazine. But we also talked about some other things I was interested in learning from Mike. Here are those exchanges, organized into three subjects:

The 1995 Seattle Mariners

Q: I wondered what you saw in the Mariners that year in September as they made their comeback, whether there was a sense of them having changed from earlier in the season.

Mike: Yes, we had, in the final series there in Texas, we stopped the Mariners from winning the division, won the last two games against them. Johnny Oates, God bless his soul, he was our manager. The Mariners, they were a very well-balanced team, power from the right side, the left side, good pitching, ran the bases very well, they really knew how to play the game. They had dangerous hitters, could score a bunch of runs in a minute.

Q: What was it like facing Randy Johnson, someone who, at 6-10, he’d be throwing the ball a half-foot higher up than most pitchers. Was it hard to change your eye level and pick up his pitches?

Mike: You have to change, make an adjustment according to the different pitchers, so you’ll see the ball better out of his hand. With a left-hander like Johnson, I’d try to hit everything off the left-field wall. You had to have a plan for the opposition.

Randy was very deceptive, with a lower arm slot, you fought to pick up the ball. There was always a battle going on, facing him. I’d come up, struggle to see how the ball’s moving, and all of a sudden I’d be saying hey, what the heck, what happened, I’m down 0-1, 0-2.

Q: That year, you were playing against Lou Piniella, one of your former managers with the Yankees. Could you say something about his qualities as a manager?

Mike: He’s a super guy, just one of the greatest. He’s one of the most brilliant men at teaching hitting mechanics. It was fascinating to play for him with the Yankees. I was fortunate to get the chance to learn from him.

The 1989 Oakland A’s and S.F. Giants

Q: To start off, I figured I’d ask if you remember the near-perfect game the A’s threw against the Yankees on May 26 in New York?

Mike: No, I don’t. What was that?

Q: The one guy to get on was Rickey Henderson, on an infield single, and then the very next hitter, Steve Sax maybe, hit into a double play. That was the only runner of the game.

Mike: Huh. That’s funny, I don’t know that game at all. We had an injury, someone-Winfield-was out with a bad back in 1989. That year my elbow was a mess. I tried to play, but it wasn’t fully recovered.

Q: What was your response when you learned of Rickey Henderson’s trade to the A’s?

Mike: In New York, we had all come up with each other in the Yankees’ tremendous minor league system. Played on the same teams, winning teams. And some guys from the organization, they had played with Rickey for 5 years. He was one of the guys, a great teammate, a phenomenal athlete, so it was hard to see people like him go.

Q: I was reading through some articles from the time, where the Yankees management was saying that Rickey’s legs were going, he wasn’t that great a player anymore. He’d been struggling a bit with the Yankees, but did you guys have any sense of him running down?

Mike: No, I wouldn’t say he was running down. When you play with a good teammate, you never want to see them go, whether they’re going well or not. You rely on each other day and day out, so you never expect someone to be traded. You never think in those terms. Rickey was a real impact player, he helped the whole lineup.

Baseball is the ultimate team game, your teammates affect how you play offense and defense, what kind of pitches you get to hit-look at the Red Sox this year [2008], J.D. Drew batting ahead of Manny Ramirez, and how well he did. There are so many variables, it’s hard to say which one it is that impacts whether you do well.

Q: What was your impression of Greg Cadaret and Eric Plunk? Because when I went through those articles about the trade I saw Cadaret saying that at least in New York he’d still be able to talk about hunting and fishing with Plunk in the bullpen. Were they out of place in the Bronx?

Mike: [laughs] Well, some players don’t feel very comfortable in New York. It can be a rude awakening for some players, they’re out of place. Some, they adapt, but I was always real comfortable there, didn’t have to get used to New York.

Q: What, for you, were the biggest reasons why the A’s were so good in ’88 and ’89?

Mike: The A’s, they had those two big guys (McGwire and Canseco) coming up. I was talking to La Russa one day not long after he got hired by the A’s. When was that, 1986 or so? (It was.) And he had a pretty good plan for what to do with the team. They had Ron Hassey, a good friend and teammate with the Yankees.

On the A’s, everyone knew their role, what their job was, and that’s a compliment to La Russa. He ran a pretty tight ship, everyone had a place they fit into, and there was a really good mix of young and old players. Every good team I’ve been on has had that characteristic. It’s a prerequisite for winning. And they had really good coaches.

Lansford, he was a steady, steady, steady player, a real tough out. Stewart, I don’t remember how I did against. But he was like Clemens: the ultimate challenge for a hitter. You want that so much-that challenge, and the great ones, they’re great challenges. The A’s were very prepared, they always gave their best game.

In ’89, we had a coach, Dallas Green, we went outside the organization to get him, and people said, “this guy’s not a Yankee”-he wasn’t Billy (Martin) or Piniella or Yogi Berra. So it was different: he had some trouble adjusting, it wasn’t easy there.

Q: And then you got traded to the Padres not long after Rickey went to Oakland. What did you remember from playing against the Giants late that year? You guys in San Diego were running right alongside the Giants for the division title.

Mike: I remember Matt Williams having a great year, and that guy in left field, Mitchell, just everything they had (offensively). You’d look up and boom! there’s the ball flying out of the yard. The Padres had a tremendous team, one of the most talented sets of players I’ve seen. We had Jack Clark, Bip Roberts, Alomar, Santiago, Gwynn, but we were missing one pitcher.

Billy Martin’s death on Christmas day, 1989

Q: How did you respond to Billy Martin, first as your coach on the Yankees, and then upon learning of his death?

Mike: I loved Billy Martin. That was a very sad day for me. I burst out crying when I heard the news.

He was the kind of guy who wasn’t afraid to tell you what he thought of you. If I got one hit in a game and hit a couple other balls well, but they were caught, what he’d say to me was, “You dumb-ass dago, you can’t get more than one hit.” Billy was very honest.

I remember one day, a game against the Angels. It was 1985, my first full season. In the eighth inning I fielded a bunt, threw the ball to second, and the throw pulled the man off base. When I got back to the dugout, Billy was waiting on the top step, screaming at me, “What the hell were you thinking out there? That wasn’t the right play.” I didn’t back down; I told him, “It was the right play, I just didn’t make the throw.”

A little while later Clete Boyer, our third base coach, says Billy wants to see me in his office. I’m thinking I’m going to get sent down, but Billy said, “Hey look, maybe you were right about that play.” He didn’t say “You’re right,” but he said maybe I was right. He was willing to admit he was wrong. Of course he added, “You dago son of a bitch, I’m only saying this because you’re Italian.”

Billy could see the field so completely; he knew what everybody was doing. My manager with the Twins, Tom Kelly, was like that. One day I made a step on third and throw to first double play, and back in the dugout T.K. said, “Maybe you should have stepped on the base with your other foot, it would have put you into better position to make the throw.” T.K. did the same kind of ribbing as Billy, just a little quieter. I’m half-Irish, and it’s funny, one day T.K. said the exact same thing Billy had: “I’m only saying this because you’re Irish. Now get the hell out of here.” Billy and T.K., they noticed everything. Sometimes you didn’t necessarily like it, but they noticed everything.

Published in: on January 2, 2013 at 8:42 am  Comments (2)  
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Rod Carew’s Seven Steals of Home in 1969

In his autobiography, Carew, Rod Carew talks about how he came to be a stealer of home in 1969. Some excerpts:

I also added a new wrinkle to my baseball repertoire at Orlando in the spring of 1969: stealing home. Billy [Martin] and I talked about my being more aggressive on the bases. Although I stole a lot of bases in the minors, I had stolen only 5 and 12 in my first two seasons with the Twins. He thought the team should put more pressure on opponents than we had. He said I could use my speed to advantage in a game situation in which we needed a run and the guys weren’t hitting. I had stolen home once before in the minors.

Billy worked with me for hours on stealing home. He suggested I take a slow, walking lead, instead of the lead in which you come to a stop. How far I should lead depended on how far the third baseman was playing off the bag, and whether the pitcher took a stretch or a windup. That walking lead was essential: you’d have momentum already started toward home.

We had it timed to the split second. If a pitcher wound up–instead of pitching from a stretch–and took six beats from the time he began his windup to his release, we determined that I ought to make it home safely. We also had the batters practice getting in the catcher’s way, without being called for interference.

“As long as you give the hitter the sign and he flashes it back to you,” Billy said, “then he should know that on the next pitch you’re coming and he shouldn’t swing.” Ideally, the batter is right-handed, and he ought to be trying to protect the plate and obscure the catcher’s vision a little bit. Billy said, “And you can’t be afraid of being thrown out, because that’s going to happen occasionally. You have to do it recklessly.”

Roger Nelson was a lanky right-hander nicknamed “Spider” because of his long dangly arms. He was pitching for Kansas City in the second game of the 1969 season. I arrived at third in the fifth inning. We were losing 3-2, two outs, and Graig Nettles batting. I took a modest lead, watching the third baseman and watching the pitcher. Spider Nelson went into a bi-i-i-g windup. All arms and legs. I counted. Nettles took a pitch. I signaled that I wanted to go. Martin and Nettles got the message. When Spider went into his windmill act again, I took off. When Nelson saw what was happening and finally untangled himself, he threw high, and I slid home safely. It was my first steal of home in the major leagues. I couldn’t wait to try it again.

Ten days later, we’re playing California. I was on third in the seventh inning. The score was tied, and Hoyt Wilhelm, the old knuckleballer, was pitching. His knuckler takes all day to arrive at the plate. It looked appetizing. I flashed a sign to Billy that I thought I could go. He flashed back an okay.

Harmon [Killebrew] was at the plate. I flashed him the sign. It’s a tap on my belt buckle with my right hand. It appeared he answered by tapping his belt buckle with his right hand. Wilhelm started into the windup. I went. I was coming down the line, and I was amazed to see that Harmon was preparing to hit the pitch: if he swung, I’d end up a double down the left-field line. Suddenly out of the corner of his eye he saw me, and he held back in the nick of time. I came sliding in and beat the knuckleball home. It proved to be the winning run of the game.

Eleven days later, I stole home for the third time in April. Two weeks later I stole home again. It was really getting exciting now. Whenever I got on third, the fans were yelling, “Go, go!” The other team’s dugout was yelling, “Watch him!” “Hold him on!” Everybody was anticipating something.

In June I stole home two more times. I now had six steals of home this season. That tied the American League record held by Ty Cobb for steals of home in a season. Pete Reiser of the Dodgers set the major-league record in 1946 with seven.

In the second inning against Chicago, on July 16, I was on third when Jerry Nyman went into a windup. He just forgot I was in the game. His teammates were hollering, “Hold him on, hold him on!” Too late. I slid home with number seven.

But generally it was getting harder and harder to go now. Everyone was watching me when I got to third. Pitchers were taking a stretch now instead of winding up.

But about a month later against Seattle [the Pilots] I had the opportunity to go for number eight, the record. Skip Lockwood, a right-hander, was pitching. I got a great jump on him, and I slid by the plate as the ball popped into the catcher’s mitt.

But the umpire called me out. I couldn’t believe it. J. C. Martin was catching, and he couldn’t believe the call either (he didn’t tell me that until the next day). I think the umpire’s vision was blocked, so he automatically gave me the thumb.

That was my last good chance to steal home in 1969.”

You can buy Carew’s book, published in 1979, here at Amazon.com.

Published in: on February 22, 2010 at 8:07 am  Comments (1)  
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Billy Martin’s Death on Christmas Day 1989

To recognize the 20th anniversary of his death, I’m going to present first an account of the truck accident that killed Billy Martin and then a sampling of the many responses to the death. This, from the New York Daily News:

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — Before his death in a truck crash Christmas Day, former New York Yankee manager Billy Martin drank heavily for several hours in a bar here and appeared too drunk to drive home, sources said.
Midway through Martin’s four-hour binge at Morey’s Restaurant on Front Street, bartender Robert Dunlop asked him, “Who’s driving?” an employee who requested anonymity told the New York Daily News.
“I got the keys,” said Martin’s Detroit pal, William Reedy, holding them up for the bartender to see. The keys were for Martin’s 1989 pickup.
Dunlop and Al Raimondi, manager of the restaurant — where Martin was a regular — refused comment Thursday, but a top law enforcement source here confirmed the employee’s account.
Reedy “appeared OK” to Dunlop, the employee said, and left the bar with the former Yankee in tow shortly before 5:30 p.m. for the 6- mile drive to Martin’s home in nearby Fenton, N.Y.
As Reedy turned onto a hairpin curve near Martin’s home, the truck skidded down an embankment.
Martin, who was not wearing a seat belt, was killed when he was flung through the windshield.
Reedy suffered a broken hip, cracked ribs and lacerations and is recovering in University Hospital in Syracuse.
He was charged with driving while intoxicated when his blood alcohol level was allegedly found to be above the legal limit.

In response to the wreck, Joe Gergen of Newsday wrote about Martin, Mickey Mantle, and their shared drinking. Here are some quotes from the article. Mantle: “I would like to say something in defense of Bill Reedy. He could drink that whole pickup truck full of beer and not get drunk. I think it wasn’t drink but just slick roads [that caused the accident].”

And: “As far as I was concerned, he [Martin] was misunderstood terribly. He was like that little cartoon character that walked around with a black cloud over his head. At Billy’s roast, I did say that he was the only man alive who could hear someone give him the finger.”

Mantle added this about Martin’s fight in a topless bar near Arlington Stadium in 1988: “He got kicked out of the game that night and we were sitting with his coaches in a perfect place, behind a tree in the hotel [bar]. Billy said, ‘Let’s go to another place.’ When we got there, there were a bunch of rednecks. They were yelling, ‘Hey, Billy, you got thrown out.’ I said, ‘Let’s get out of here.’ He said, ‘Why, are you chicken?’ I thought, ‘Well, yeah.’ I got a coach to drive me back.”

And: “I’m not saying do it [drink]. If there’s a moral to my book, it’s not to be like me, Billy and Whitey [Ford]. I had to retire at 36 and it was because of stupidity.”

The fans came to New York City to say farewell. Bob Pecario, from Berkeley Heights, New Jersey: “I’m a Yankee fan and a heavy-duty Billy Martin fan. I was a fan of Billy all my life. I remember the times he kicked dirt on umpires. I remember when he stood up for Bobby Meacham against an umpire. He would always stand up for the little guy.”

Mike Morra, who came in from Secaucus, N.J.: “I was shocked when I heard the news. I’m not naive and I know Billy was no angel, and had his faults, but I was shocked at some of the things I read about him.”

A fan from Staten Island: “I was home when one of my friends called me on Christmas to say too bad about Billy Martin and I thought he was just joking. When I found out it was true, I went into my room and just started crying so hard I couldn’t catch my breath. I didn’t stop crying for about two hours. I didn’t go to work today. I told my boss somebody in my family died, and he’d be real mad to find out I’m here, but I just had to come. I remember meeting him four times, one time when me and my friends were up at the stadium, we only had two tokens to get back home and he came by and gave us a dollar to buy a pretzel outside the stadium.”

Art Rust Jr.,  longtime host of Yankee pre- and post-game shows on the radio: “Billy was a heck of a guy. When my wife, Edna, was sick back in 1986, he was very supportive. He was a sensitive and caring guy, a lot more than some of the guys writing about him today. He was a good friend of mine. I loved him and that’s why I’m here.”

In response to Martin’s death, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Art Rosenbaum wrote:

A fine racehorse was named for him, quite apt because Martin loved the oval sport. He was never in a league with Pete Rose and never bet on baseball, but he could plunge on the steeds. More than once I overheard him on his office phone talking horse bets to a bookie or a friend. It wasn’t much of a secret.
Once at Golden Gate Fields he sought out George Andros, a professional at this game, and after a long huddle came away with an exacta ticket that netted $4,000. Andros, meanwhile, let himself be talked out of the bet, a common failing of horse players.

Rosenbaum added that sportswriter Maury Allen

told me he had printed a prominent doctor’s psychological profile on Martin, indicating a personality that resented male authority stemming from a guess that he was angered in his childhood when his father disappeared. Therefore, it was analyzed, Martin would always lose a manager’s job if forced to take orders from a general manager or owner.
I had the audacity to place Allen’s article in front of Martin, whose reaction was unexpectedly calm. He said he had seen it and found it laughable.
His reason made a lot of sense. He said: “Did any psychologist talk to me or examine me? No, he just drew his conclusions from newspaper stories. How could a guy who calls himself an M.D. accept gossip and innuendo as legitimate research? How could he guess why I do some of those things (arguments with umpires)? That guy must be fluttery in the head.”

Martin was a many-sided man, thoughtful and generous at times, bitingly combative at others. Unfortunately, a lot of fans saw him as a comic figure after kicking dirt on umpires or after bar battles. But he was not a comedian per se. He never told a joke or even blooped a one-liner, a la Yogi Berra. In the league of humor, Martin could take a kidding if he liked the kidder.

[He] must have gone on and off the wagon a few hundred times. Once, during spring training, he announced his attention to go dry forever. That night I saw him at one of the Scottsdale restaurants, bright and chipper.
How was the vow going? “Perfect,” he said. “All I had was two glasses of red wine.” For Billy, wine and beer didn’t count.

From the Bay Area, Bill Rigney, then an A’s executive, said: “I knew him since he was a little kid. I remember him playing semipro ball in Bushrod Park (in Oakland). I was 10 years older than he was, and he would ask me about things. He wanted to know about playing the infield. He thought he had ‘stiff’ hands and wanted to know what we could do about it. We worked one winter on technique, on bringing his hands toward his body as he fielded the ball to ‘soften’ them a little.

“He had to work hard at being a player, but he had an instinct about the game and was a tremendous competitor. He had a great desire to be a player. He was always on the edge. It seemed like he was trying to prove something. I never thought he had to prove anything. He was just a damn good manager.”

Yogi Berra: “Billy was a hard-nosed ball player, he was a great friend of mine and he loved baseball. He was a very gentle man. You have to be with him to know Billy. If somebody rubbed wrong against him, he’d punch him in the nose no sooner than look at him. But he was a great man, a kind-hearted man and he loved baseball.”

Roy Eisenhardt, the A’s executive vice president who was involved in getting Martin to manage Oakland in 1980: “All that stuff (his reputation as a brawler) is unimportant. I just remember him as having compassion and love for kids and baseball. Obviously I’m very saddened because I’ve lost a good friend.  I just never thought Billy would go. Billy was a great baseball figure. He taught me a great deal and I’ll remember him forever.”

Bob Stevens, a former Chronicle baseball writer, played semi-pro ball against Martin in the Bay Area and said: “He was a genuine man, no pretenses. His character was always the same – pugnacious, but polite as hell. But he was always thinking. He gave something to the game.

“He paid his dues. He had a good reputation as a manager. He once told me, ‘They know what I plan to do, but they don’t know when I’m going to do it.'”

Joe DiMaggio said: “It was a big loss. He was a dear friend and I will miss him. He was a great little guy. I know the Yankees will miss him because Steinbrenner depended on him so much as a team man.”

Here’s a link to an article Baseball Past and Present wrote on what Martin might have done as manager for the Yankees [or another team] in 1990 and beyond if he had not died late in 1989. Meanwhile, Steinbrenner said: “It’s like losing part of my own family … He’s going to be awful hard to replace. He was one of a kind. There are not many people in the world who can be called one of a kind.”

I’ll give Billy the last word. He explained once: “I didn’t like to fight, but I didn’t have a choice. If you walked through the park, a couple kids would come after you. When you were small, someone was always chasing you. I had to fight three kids once because I joined the YMCA. They thought I was getting too ritzy for them.”

Published in: on December 20, 2009 at 10:05 pm  Comments (2)  
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More on Sabermetrics in 1983 (With a Focus on Steve Boros)

A few months ago I used a 1983 Newsweek feature on sabermetrics to put together a post on “Sabermetrics in 1983.” Here’s a follow-up, taken from a few different sources. In late April 1983, Jim Henneman of the Baltimore Evening Sun reported:

These days in the Oakland Coliseum, where the Athletics do their thing, the phrase is “Computer Ball” [not "BillyBall,"] as programmed by Martin’s successor, Steve Boros.
It probably isn’t very comforting to Baltimore pitching coach Ray Miller, one of the finalists for Martin’s position, but there is some evidence to suggest Boros’ infatuation with video statistics was a factor in his getting the job.
“Will I have access to a computer?” was the first question Boros reportedly asked Oakland co-owner Roy Eisenhardt during his job interview.
Eisenhardt not only had a computer, he was trying to find a way for the Athletics to use it.
Boros, along with Chicago manager Tony LaRussa and Seattle’s Rene Lachemann, has taken Earl Weaver’s statistical cards to the “nth” degree, creating a baseball version of “Pac-Man.”
The A’s, who were 9-8 going into last night’s game, have had a respectable start under their new manager, but just how much is attributed to the computer is unknown. There is a suspicion that sounder arms on the pitching staff are primarily responsible.

Not quite a month later, Gerald Eskenazi of the New York Times, picking up from the Sun’s story, reported that “Boros Manages A’s With Aid of Science.” He wrote:

Steve Boros keeps a computer upstairs, good books on the shelf and a mitt on his desk. He has been able to keep the three in motion – although sometimes they collide – while he serves as rookie manager of the Oakland A’s, the team he inherited from Billy Martin.
The contrast between managing styles and personalities has never been more startling than when Martin returned and took over center stage for the Yankees’ weekend series here. . . .
But Boros, who is 46 years old and quietly content with his job, sits in his office before a game and unfolds a computer printout. Many people in sports and business are following his career. He was selected after a search in which the A’s president, Roy Eisenhardt – a former law professor and rowing coach at Berkeley – devised a list of standards for the job. They included patience and the ability to work within the community.

”See here, this is interesting,” Boros says, looking at the line on a 25-year-old right-handed rookie pitcher. ”Chris Codiroli. Six games against lefties, they’re hitting .340. Against righties he’s .127. It tells you that pitchers are not working against certain hitters, and maybe they better get another pitch in those situations.”
Boros, whose team took the field today at three games over .500, has made the computer a part of the locker room, although he never takes his printouts into the dugout. He can tell you what every one of his pitchers is likely to throw as his first pitch, with the count 0-2 or when he is behind.
He is trying to get his computer to show him graphically where the ball is pitched, what kind of pitch it was, and where his hitters hit it.
”With the modern ballplayer,” he says, ”it helps to show them.” . . .
Martin, a Civil War buff, reacted as if wounded when asked if he would consider using a computer. ”I have advance-scouting reports. That’s my computer,” snapped Martin.

Also, in 1985, the Boston Globe talked about the A’s use of computers in the early ’80s. Newsweek had described the subject in its article, and looking backwards, the Globe added:

More than four years ago [that is, sometime in 1981], Don Leopold of Lexington [Mass.] helped bring what he claims was the first use of a computer in baseball to the Oakland A’s. Working for the Pacific Select Corp., he and Dick Cramer were hired to help the A’s upgrade their television broadcasts. “They wanted their broadcasters – Bill King and Lon Simmons – to have better information, to have deeper statistics about performance,” Leopold said.

Leopold, who now runs Game Plan Inc., a marketing firm, was the interface between the technical side and the client side. He encouraged the A’s to buy a computer and hire someone to chart every pitch thrown in every game – what direction it went when hit, what kind of pitch it was, what happened to the defensive alignment when the batter swung.

“Billy Martin (who was then the manager) didn’t give a rat’s rear end about it,” Leopold said, “but Steve Boros (a later manager) was quite interested and used the information constantly.”

In line with the notion that good statistics don’t always make good management, Boros was fired as soon as Oakland went into a slump [early in 1984]. And Frank Robinson, who labored over information from his IBM 34, was similarly released as manager of the San Francisco Giants [later in 1984].

With the recent news of Steve Boros’s death as we bid goodbye to 2010, I thought it was worth looking for a few more details of his integration of computers and advanced statistics into the work of managing. Boros seems to be getting memorialized in baseball largely as someone who helped the Dodgers and Kirk Gibson look out for the 3-2 backdoor slider from Dennis Eckersley in 1988, but that was just a natural outgrowth of his earlier preoccupation with detailed preparation. At the start of the 1986 season, The San Diego Union noted that

At Oakland, Boros used computers extensively, studying percentages and tendencies to guide his strategic decisions, but at heart, he is a humanist. He would rather read a good baseball novel than a complex statistical analysis of the game.

“I found that players are very suspicious of computers, much like the general public,” he said. “They fear them as cold and impersonal and inhuman. I couldn’t make them understand that I was still going to make my own decisions, I wasn’t going to let the computer make them for me. I’m going to use some data and stats here, but we won’t have a computer and a programmer in the clubhouse like we did in Oakland.

“When you have an overpowering relief pitcher like a Gossage in the bullpen, you don’t worry so much about percentages.”

A month later, in May 1986, the Union’s Barry Lorge added this, with some details about how much harder it was to use computers in baseball in the mid-’80s:

COMPUTERS SHOULD be as natural to the national pastime as bubblegum cards, because it is a game of statistics. Kids grow up studying box scores and lists of leaders and the figures on the back of baseball cards. Stats are the currency of comparison between players, across years and generations. They plot the curve of careers and dictate decisions, just as they did before the microchip.

Boros gets information from the computers of Elias Sports Bureau, major-league baseball’s official statisticians, and from charts he and his coaches keep in the dugout.

“I’ve got the matchups of each of my hitters against every opposing pitcher and each of my pitchers against every opposing hitter — lifetime and year-by-year — to see if there’s any change in the trend,” said Boros.

“Harry Dunlop charts where every opposing batter hits the ball, so we have an idea how to defense them. Deacon Jones keeps a chart showing where each of our batters hits the ball, and every pitch thrown by the opposition. That way we see how their pitchers are working our hitters.”

BOROS STUDIES STATS on how effective hitters are getting men in from scoring position, moving runners, hitting with two outs, getting on base to lead off an inning, executing sacrifice and squeeze bunts, making contact on hit-and-run plays, and other categories. These guide substitutions and strategic decisions.

He also keeps play-by-play notes of every game on his lineup card in much greater detail than a conventional scorecard. He notes which balls are hit hard and charts everything from how a player ran the bases to how often he takes a called third strike.

“I used John Kruk as our leadoff hitter against Mike Krukow of the Giants one game last month. People wondered why,” Boros offered an example. “My charts told me the last time we faced him, Kruk was 1-for-3, but the two outs he made were on a one-hop shot that the third baseman turned into a double play and a sharp line drive to left-center that was caught. That’s why I batted him leadoff. He doubled and scored in the first inning and reached on an error later and was on base when Tony Gwynn put a ball up in the seats.”

A man wise to the numbers game once said that statistics don’t lie, but they don’t always tell all the truth. Boros wants to know the percentages, but he sometimes goes against them.

“My first year in Oakland, Dave Beard got hurt and I put Steve McCatty in the bullpen as our short relief man,” he recalled. “I told him, ‘You’re my stopper, the guy I’m going to go to.’ We got in a situation in the late innings of a one-run game where we had men on first and third, one out, and Chet Lemon coming up against McCatty. My readout told me Lemon was 7-for-12 against him.

“Now do I suddenly say, ‘Look at those stats! I can’t let McCatty pitch to him’? No. I’ve got to be willing to lose that game to let McCatty know that he’s my man. I stuck with him. So what happened? Lemon hit a pea that Davey Lopes speared and turned into a double play. That one worked out well, but the point is that the psychology was more important than what the computer told me were the percentages involved.”

IN A GAME last weekend, Boros brought in Lance McCullers to relieve Craig Lefferts because his printout showed that R.J. Reynolds of Pittsburgh was 4-for-5 against Lefferts. McCullers walked Reynolds, and Joe Orsulak followed with a two-run single, but Boros accepted that stoically.

“If I left Lefferts in and Reynolds got a hit that beat us, I wouldn’t sleep for three days,” said the manager. “We lost, 5-2, but I slept better knowing I had based my decision on a solid piece of information.”

Boros is sure that in another generation, when all big-leaguers have grown up accustomed to computers playing a part in everything from arranging their school schedules to calculating the bill at the supermarket, data processing equipment will be as commonplace in the clubhouse as batting helmets.

“It’s slow coming, but there was resistance to weight training, stretching exercises, aerobics, martial arts training, all these new things that are coming into the game and slowly being accepted,” he said. “There’s just so much information that’s useful, and it is a time-consuming job to keep track of it by hand. We put a lot of hours into gathering all the data and putting it into a form where we can analyze it quickly.”

Published in: on November 30, 2009 at 10:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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10-Cent Beer Night: June 4, 1974 in Cleveland

Back in 2004, Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen took a look at 10-cent beer night, and quickly set the scene:

The Cleveland Indians of 1974 were a desperate franchise. Consistently dwelling in the cellar of the American League East Division, they were coming off a season with their lowest attendance since the Second World War. The average home gate was less than 8,000.

In a brazen attempt to stir interest, the Indians announced that, at certain games, fans could buy a 10-ounce cup of beer for 10 cents. The first of those night was to be the June 4 visit by the Texas Rangers, which was the first mistake. It was only a week earlier that the Indians and Rangers had engaged in a brawl, with Indians players getting doused in beer by fans in Texas.

Seeking cheap revenge, the locals turned out, 25,000 strong, with hate in their hearts and dimes in their pockets.

By the middle innings, with the Indians trailing, fans were running all over the field, interrupting play, hopelessly chased by outnumbered security staff.

Texas players were getting showered with hot dogs and beer. Rangers first baseman Mike Hargrove, who would later manage the Indians, was nearly hit with a gallon jug of Thunderbird wine. A father and son team ran onto the field and mooned Hargrove.

In 1991, Bill Sullivan of the Houston Chronicle picked it up from there:

It was June 4, 1974, and the suds were flowing freely at Municipal Stadium. By the fourth inning, a streaker had bolted across the field. More appeared in the sixth. By the ninth, the sodden gathering became even more aroused when the Tribe, trailing 5-3, scored twice to tie the game.

Finally, a fan got out of the seats and tried to make a souvenir of Rangers right fielder Jeff Burroughs’ cap. Burroughs, reacting quickly and decisively, leveled the intruder with a fist.

Then, the real fun started.

“I’ve got a picture in my office of 10 or 12 guys leading the charge into right field with bats in hand,” former Rangers catcher Rich Billings says. “It was a pretty bizarre scene, to say the least.”

Unable to restore order, umpire Nestor Chylak turned his attention to the more basic issue of getting out alive. With runners on first and third and two out, Chylak stopped the game – awarding the Rangers a 9-0 victory by forfeit.

Two hours later, a police escort got the visitors out of their clubhouse and back to the hotel. Squad cars remained at the hotel all night, assuring no further reprisals.

Some of the survivors remember the affair more fondly than others.

“Actually, I hit two home runs in that game,” says Grieve, who hit 65 in his 670 big-league games. “I was worried they’d get wiped out [they weren't].”

For the 25th anniversary, in 1999, Tom Withers of the Associated Press added:

Fans fought with fans; with police; with the Rangers and the Indians, many of whom ran onto the field to protect their Texas counterparts. Umpire Nestor Chylak and Indians reliever Tom Hilgendorf were both struck in the head with chairs.

“It was like we were in a battle zone,” said umpire Joe Brinkman.

A crowd of 25,134 showed up that warm Tuesday night enticed by the chance to drink as many beers as they could handle for 10 cents apiece. It was estimated that more than 60,000 cups were quaffed.

Trouble had been brewing between the teams after Rangers second baseman Lenny Randle intentionally ran over Cleveland pitcher Milt Wilcox a week earlier. Rangers fans doused the Indians with beer afterward.

So when Texas arrived in Cleveland, Indians fans were ready and the cheap beer was additional fuel. When Martin delivered his lineup card before the game, he was booed. Never one to back down, he responded by tipping his cap and blowing kisses.
Current Indians manager Mike Hargrove, a rookie with the Rangers in 1974, said nothing prepared him for the violence he would later witness.

“I remember a father and son going out to center field and mooning everybody,” said Hargrove. “Streakers were running across the field and I remember one woman coming out and running over to kiss an umpire.”

[When the Cleveland fan got into it with Burroughs,] “that’s when Billy grabbed a bat,” said photographer Ron Kuntz. “I’ll always remember this, he grabbed a bat and said, ‘Let’s get ‘em boys.’

“The Rangers started going after that guy and before you knew it, there were thousands of fans all over the field. I was scared. The only thing I can compare it to was when I was covering riots in Venezuela and there were guys with Uzis running around.”

Billy Martin and Tony La Russa

Last year, at the 20th anniversary of Billy Martin’s death, I wrote an article that focused on Mike Pagliarulo’s memories of his one-time manager. Pags said:

“Billy was very honest. I remember one day, a game against the Angels. It was 1985, my first full season. In the eighth inning I fielded a bunt, threw the ball to second, and the throw pulled the man off base. When I got back to the dugout, Billy was waiting on the top step, screaming at me, ‘What the hell were you thinking out there? That wasn’t the right play.’ I didn’t back down; I told him, ‘It was the right play; I just didn’t make the throw.’

“A little while later Clete Boyer, our third base coach, says Billy wants to see me in his office. I’m thinking I’m going to get sent down, but Billy said, ‘Hey look, maybe you were right about that play.’ He didn’t say ‘You’re right,’ but he said maybe I was right. He was willing to admit he was wrong. Of course he added, ‘You dago son of a bitch, I’m only saying this because you’re Italian.'”

In 1991, Bruce Jenkins of the S.F. Chronicle said:

Let it be known, right now, that the spirit of Billy Martin still lives in the A’s clubhouse. Tony La Russa might be the most volatile, hot-tempered manager ever to wear a uniform, and that includes Billy himself.
Understand that this is not an indictment of La Russa. Martin did most of his damage off the field, with a few drinks in him, and if you ever saw the mean-spirited Billy in a bar, you knew nobody was safe.

The A’s had a rough, brawling game with the White Sox, in which La Russa felt Bobby Thigpen had thrown at Terry Steinbach’s head. Jenkins said of the postgame scene:

But then, after the A’s scored two runs and Dennis Eckersley closed out the bottom of the ninth, came La Russa’s vicious confrontation with Bob Glass, a 64-year-old reporter for Chicago’s bureau of the Associated Press. This was a question of two men being completely out of line, and Glass was lucky to get out of the A’s clubhouse without being attacked by somebody. Nobody really wanted to approach La Russa afterward. Nobody who knew him, that’s for sure. As a reporter, you were walking into La Russa’s house at a time when he had nearly lost a member of his family. As the door opened to his office, he was shaving; he had his back turned.

“How is he?” somebody asked, quietly.

“I don’t know,” La Russa said. He was steaming, right at the boiling point. It wasn’t going to take much to set him off.

Then Glass spoke up. “That had to be a very scary moment,” he said.

“I don’t want to talk about that bulls–t!” La Russa screamed.

“OK, but don’t yell at me,” Glass said.

“I’ll yell if I f—ing want to!” La Russa yelled back.

There’s no need to recount the whole exchange. La Russa was ready to go off on somebody, and Glass happened to be the one. He made a perfectly innocent remark, but in that situation, no question would have been good enough.

But then Glass made a big mistake, pressing the issue. La Russa was storming out of the office, trying to avoid the confrontation and cool off somewhere else, when Glass shouted, “Be a man!”

Oh, my goodness, was that the wrong thing to say to La Russa. As the shouting match escalated, Glass also said, “Try to act like a human being.” Now La Russa had to be restrained from punching Glass, who really had it coming. Finally an angry mob of A’s, led by Stewart and Rickey Henderson, physically removed Glass from the clubhouse.

“See, I know Tony from way back, when he managed here,” Glass said afterward. “He’s a psycho. There was one game with the Twins in the mid-’80s when Tim Laudner beat him with a three-run homer off Rich Dotson. Later, he asked me what the Twins were saying in their clubhouse. I told him they were talking about (the Sox’s) Greg Luzinski, and the cheap hits he got. Tony started screaming and yelling, throwing things around the room. Right then and there, I knew what kind of personality he was. The man is a psycho.”

Published in: on June 2, 2009 at 9:55 pm  Comments (2)  
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Rickey Henderson and the 1980 A’s

In June 1980, Rickey Henderson, a second-year player for the Oakland A’s, said: “I came up here about this time (June 23 to be exact) a year ago [1979], all excited because I’d made it to The Show. A week here and I said, ‘Hey, this is worse than Jersey City and Double A.’ The only people who came to the park came to cheer opposing teams. The manager [Jim Marshall] didn’t care; he had just learned to accept losing. I couldn’t believe it. But after 30 games, I understood. Of those 30 games, we won four.”

The A’s had hired Billy Martin in February 1980, and Rickey said: “It used to be that once the game was over, no one wanted to think about baseball at all. Now, win or lose, we think about it and ask questions now. You have to give Martin credit for instilling that kind of enthusiasm.
“This was a team that was given up for dead a year ago, that was ignored at home and jeered on the road. Now we have some of the loudest, craziest fans anywhere. Even the players can tell you we’ve drawn more people than a team that plays in New York (the Mets).”

At the same time-June 1980-a guy from Massachusetts said: “It’s like the Fenway bleachers were in the early 70s. The bleachers are $2. For afternoon games, you sprawl out in the sun, drink beer and watch this team, and you’re converted. They run, they hustle, they do all kinds of strange things like triple steals and suicide squeezes. It’s about the only place you can go where there’s passion. I came here and heard people tell me the only way baseball could sell would be to put hot tubs in the bleachers and serve granola bars at the concession stands, but the A’s are changing all that. What happened with Wild Bill (Hagy) in Baltimore last year is happening here. All the regulars in the bleachers say they’ve been waiting for something like these guys. Billy Martin just came and lit the spark.”

On July 19, the AP reported: “Rickey Henderson stole home for the second time this season in a three-run eighth inning that gave the Oakland A’s a 3-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians today.

[Rick] Waits (7-9) walked Jeff Cox with one out in the eighth. Henderson followed with a double to left, and Dwayne Murphy walked to load the bases. Essian followed with a sacrifice fly to center that scored Cox and moved Henderson to third.

With Armas at bat, Waits threw to the first baseman, Mike Hargrove, and appeared to have Murphy picked off at first. As soon as Waits threw, Henderson broke for home and beat Hargrove’s throw to Ron Hassey at the plate. The steal of home was the seventh by the A’s this season.”

On May 28, the A’s stole home twice in the same inning: Dwayne Murphy and Wayne Gross did it, in the first inning, apparently. The A’s had seven steals for the game.

An aside: The straight steal of home pretty much never happens anymore, and that’s been true for at least 20 years. But Rickey Henderson said, ”Billy always felt it was an easy base to steal. When a pitcher goes into a windup long enough, you can pick him. But if you’re on third, not many pitchers go into a windup anymore.” And, in 1989, the New York Times said: “Ty Cobb stole home a record 50 times in his career. Max Carey did it 33 times for the National League record. Cobb, Eddie Collins and Joe Jackson were among nine players who stole home twice in the same game. Vic Power, as the Cleveland Indians’ first baseman in 1958, was the last to do it twice in the same game. Lou Gehrig did it 15 times in his Yankee career, Babe Ruth 10 times. Twenty years ago Rod Carew, then with the Minnesota Twins, did it seven times, tying the major league season record that Pete Reiser of the Brooklyn Dodgers established in 1946.”

Then, on September 28, 1980, the New York Times reported: “Rickey Henderson of the Oakland A’s stole four bases today to increase his season total to 96, equaling Ty Cobb’s American League record set in 1915.

Henderson stole second base in the third inning and again in the fifth. He then stole second and third on consecutive pitches in the sixth inning to equal the record. For Henderson, it was the third time he had stolen four bases in a game this season. He has attempted to steal 122 times.”

The two preceding stories give a taste of the aggresiveness with which the A’s played in 1980. Billy Martin is most famous as a Yankee, but in 1980, he came to Oakland as spring training began and guided the A’s to an 83-79 after going 54-108 in 1979. It was a 29-game improvement that set the stage for an even better 1981 season. Overworked A’s pitchers helped prevent anything like a dynasty from developing for the early ’80s A’s, as you can learn about here, but Billy and Rickey perhaps saved the Oakland team from moving to Florida or Denver because of their dynamism.

Published in: on March 30, 2009 at 10:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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1983: the Conclusion of the Pine-Tar Game

The conclusion of the Pine-Tar game involving George Brett, the Kansas City Royals, and the New York Yankees came on August 18, 1983. The Omaha World-Herald said:

The Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees completed their suspended pine-tar game Thursday evening before a sparse crowd at Yankee Stadium.

For the record, the Royals retained their 5-4 lead and won the game.

After Hal McRae struck out to complete the Kansas City ninth, Dan Quisenberry retired the Yankees in order in the bottom of the ninth for his 33rd save.

The threat of a storm seemed appropriate for the resumption of what had been one of baseball’s strangest sagas and a game that needed a court order to get it back on the field.

The resumption, called off by one judge earlier in the day, was declared on by an appeals judge hours later.

“”I guess I can state it best in two words: “Play Ball!’ ” said Justice Joseph Sullivan of the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

Sullivan’s ruling overturned a temporary injunction that had been issued earlier in the day by Bronx State Supreme Court Justice Orest V. Maresca.

“”I am very pleased. We think that justice was done,” said Robert Kheel, an AL lawyer.

The Royals boarded a plane in Kansas City and headed east after Maresca ruled. They didn’t know the game would be played until they had arrived at Yankee Stadium and learned of Sullivan’s ruling.

The dispute stems from a July 24 game when umpires nullified George Brett’s two-run homer for Kansas City with two out in the ninth inning because his bat had too much pine tar on it. Brett was the final out and the Yankees won the game 4-3.

The Royals protested the game, AL President Lee MacPhail overruled the umpires, reinstated the homer, declared the game a suspended one and ordered it resumed Thursday with the Royals leading 5-4.

However, two suits were filed – one in Manhattan and the other in the Bronx – by fans who attended the July 24 game and contended they should not be charged for admission to the rescheduled game. The suits were consolidated this week.

Brett was among the players who started the game but were not around for the completion. He was ejected – along with Royals Manager Dick Howser, coach Rocky Colavito and pitcher Gaylord Perry – for arguing with umpires after being called out. Yankee center fielder Jerry Mumphrey has since been traded to the Houston Astros and was replaced by Yankee pitcher Ron Guidry, who has played center field at least once before in the majors.

Bert Campaneris, at second base for New York on July 24 and now on the disabled list, was replaced by first baseman [and left-hander] Don Mattingly. Ken Griffey was at first.

The Yankees said they needed to charge $2.50 each for admission to cover security and other costs of the game, which they said would run between $20,000 and $30,000. Tickets normally run from $1.50 for the bleachers up to $9 for box seats.

However, late Thursday afternoon, Ken Nigro, director of media relations for the team, said fans who still had ticket stubs from the July 24 game would be admitted free to Yankee Stadium for the completion of the game.

Yankee owner George Steinbrenner said in a prepared statement: “”The Yankees will abide by the judge’s decision. We want to state emphatically that we were not a party to this lawsuit. We resent any implications by the American League office that the Yankees had any part in either of the two suits.”

The Boston Globe didn’t pass up a chance to dig at the Yankees over the sordid affair. It reported:

The best part came when Dave Phillips took the piece of paper from his pocket. That was the true end to all the stalls, all the wails, all the nonsense of the New York Yankees.

The final answer to their final, nagging question.

“I hate to do this,” Dave Phillips said as he reached into his breast pocket in the muggy rush-hour heat early last night at second base of Yankee Stadium. “But I have this piece of paper here . . .”

Lovely. The Yankees were pulling their final, last-ditch, 959th move to win the long-running, forever publicized Pine Tar baseball game and they didn’t have a chance. Dave Phillips had the paper and the game could be resumed for the final, mechanical four outs yesterday to give the Kansas CityRoyals the 5-4 win they mostly accomplished on July 24.

“We were prepared for a lot of things,” said Phillips, who was the chief umpire for this return to work the Yankees had fought so long. “I had lists and papers, a lot of possibilities to cover.”

The specific piece of paper that counted was a signed and notarized statement from the four umpires who had worked the first eight-plus innings of the game. The statement covered the play that had begun all the trouble, the home run with two outs in the top of the ninth by George Brett of the Royals that first was disallowed for the use of too much pine tar on his bat, then reinstated in Kansas City’s appeal to the league office.

“We wanted to be ready for anything,” Phillips said.

Sure enough. Five minutes after six last night and the first move Yankee manager Billy Martin made was to order his pitcher, George Frazier, to throw the ball to first baseman Ken Griffey. The second move was to have Frazier throw the ball to shortstop Roy Smalley at second. Sure enough. The throws were appeals.

“We believe George Brett did not touch first base on his home run,” Martin said after he trotted to meet Phillips at second. “We think we have proof.”

Good argument. Good point. Phillips and this umpiring crew was new. How could any of them know whether Brett or U.L. Washington, also running the bases on the two-run homer, had touched the proper bags?

How?

The paper.

The four original umpires said in their statement that Washington and Brett had touched the bases. That was the statement. Signed and sealed and witnessed.

“I don’t know who it was who thought about that paper,” Kansas City reliever Dan Quisenberry said, “but whoever he was, he should be the next commissioner of baseball. The search is over.”

Lovely. The Yankees still could protest the game – and they did – but the action had to resume. The four outs could run their course in a dull, four-up, four-down 12 minutes. The great flapdoodle about nothing could end.

The Yankees had to play.

“Boorish is the word to describe how they have handled the entire situation,” Kansas City general manager John Schuerholz said. “It’s been frustrating and, to a large part, undignified for our industry the way they’ve acted. I don’t think we have to go to a courtroom to settle matters like this. I know there are supposed to be a million lawyers in this country by the end of the century, but I don’t think we’re the ones who have to keep them in business.”

The boorishness continued to the end. Would the game be played? Would the game not be played? What would happen? No one even knew until 4 o’clock that, yes, for certain, both teams would take the field.

“We were on the plane and we were coming here or going to Baltimore, where we play on Friday,” Schuerholz said. “We didn’t know which. I made a call someplace over Ashtabula, Ohio, and still nobody knew. So we just kept coming here.

“We didn’t know until we walked into the door of the stadium that we were playing,” Schuerholz said. “Some guy told us, It’s on.’ “

The Yankees simply wouldn’t treat the event with dignity. They were schoolkids, doing something they didn’t want to do, fighting and grumping and harrumphing all the way. They weren’t civil. That was it. They weren’t civil at all.

“We suggested all kinds of things they could have done to make this a fun event,” American League official Bob Fishel said. “Give away little Pine Tar bats. Let a lot of kids come. Have some entertainment. Give the money to charity. Nothing. That’s what they did. Nothing.

“They didn’t even have a sign on the front saying there was a game today.”

The announced attendance was 1245, but the figure must have included the workers and security details. Ushers sat in the good box seats along the third base line. Hot dog salesmen stood in aisles. The few fans walked and moved around, sitting where they wanted.

“We’re worried about security,” Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said in one of his many rants on the Pine Tar subject. “There is potential for trouble here. Another Diana Ross situation from Central Park.”

“Maybe some of these people are more vicious than they look,” Kansas City general manager Schuerholz said. “Look at that little kid over there. He might have a club or something hidden in his clothes. Vicious. Threatening.”

“You’ll have to leave the clubhouse,” an attendant told a last knot of reporters in the Yankee dressing room an hour after the game. “There aren’t going to be any comments.”

On August 18, the Globe had reported:

A judge today blocked tonight’s scheduled completion of the New York Yankees-Kansas City Royals game at which George Brett’s ninth- inning home run was nullified because his bat had too much pine tar on it.

Bronx State Supreme Court Justice Orest V. Maresca said he was blocking the game “to protect the rights” of fans who sued, contending that they shouldn’t have to pay to see the completion of the game they attended July 24 in New York.

In a seven-page decision, Maresca also cited the Yankees’ argument that there might be security problems stemming from confusion over admission to the game if it were played as scheduled.

The American League, which had ordered the game resumed at 6 p.m. today, immediately appealed to New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, which agreed to review the case later today.

Yesterday, the Yankees and one of their fans asked for an injunction against the game’s being resumed.

Yankee players were to have voted last night whether to play, but they put off the referendum until Maresca ruled on the injunction request.

Roy Cohn, an attorney for the Yankees, asked for the injunction to allow time for the court to hear suits brought by two fans who argue they should not be forced to pay another admission.

The Yankees are charging $2.50 for what could be four outs.

Some baseball officials have expressed concern over some of George Steinbrenner’s remarks about MacPhail, the American League president, who upheld Kansas City’s protest and reinstated George Brett’s home run. ”If the Yankees lose the division by one game,” Steinbrenner said, ”I wouldn’t want to be Lee MacPhail living in New York. Maybe he should go house-hunting in Kansas City.”

Published in: on February 17, 2009 at 8:36 am  Leave a Comment  
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