In this dream, Fenway Park is in Baltimore, and the seats are beginning to fill up with Cub fans. The sky is Dodger blue, daubed with little swabs of cotton. You can't really tell if it's early May or late September, but there's no need to wear a jacket. The tickets say Box 54, Row D, numbers one and two—oh, thank you, Mr. Hoffman, how's Glenn doing? These seats are so good we can smell the pine tar in the visitors' on-deck circle. Say, isn't that Bob Uecker in the front roooow?
We can see into the home dugout, where the manager of the Dreams, Chuck Tanner, is regaling the writers. The team is on the field loosening up. Ozzie Smith is tossing the ball with Dave Winfield, Eddie Murray's playing catch with the bat boy. George Brett is in a pepper game with Rick Sutcliffe, Fernando Valenzuela and Phil Bradley. Dale Murphy's over by the tarp signing autographs. Dan Quisenberry and Bob Stanley laugh together as they lope into the outfield to shag fly balls.
Hungry? Wait until Tommy Walton, the operatic vendor, comes around singing, "Hot diggity dogs." The old guy hitting fungoes is Jimmie Reese. He used to room with Babe Ruth back in the 1930s. It's funny how the game always comes back to Ruth.
There's Don Zimmer hitting grounders to the infielders. Look, the first group is batting now. Huge Frank Howard is the BP pitcher, and little Tim Raines is first up. Raines lays it down right in front of Ryne Sandberg. Hey, the usher is making Uecker get up from his seat.
Pat Santarone's grounds crew has done a marvelous job with this field. Listen, you can hear the voice of Ernie Harwell coming from your neighbor's radio. The man with the cane? That's Howie Haak, a great scout, who's visiting with Hank Peters, the general manager.
Did you see Lance Parrish crush that ball? There's the Phanatic prancing through the stands. The blonde lady at the organ? Nancy Faust. Wait a minute. The public address announcer, Bob Sheppard, is about to say something.
"Good afternooooon, ladies and gentlemenmenmenmen, and welcome to Dream Stadiumumumum. The 1985 Dream yearbooooook, featuring color pictures of your favorite Dreameameameams, can be purchased at souvenir stands throoooughout the stadiumumumum...."
It is a mind game, and maybe a silly one at that, but then life could be a dream, sh-boom, sh-boom. The idea here is to assemble a dream team—a dream organization, in fact—made up of the very best people baseball has to offer. There will be a lot of close calls. You can't lose, but you can't win, either. So, right up front, apologies are in order.
It is definitely a dream, because money will be no object in assembling this team. Otherwise, the criteria are strict. People will be selected for the roles they currently play. When it comes to assembling a bench for the team, there will be no copping out by making Gary Carter, for instance, the second-string catcher. The team should be for the future as well as the present, so age and attitude will be factors. A balance will be struck between lefthanders and righthanders. Clichés will be allowed for certain players.
And now for the Dreams. The choices, which will be announced just as soon as Sheppard gets back to the microphone, will certainly spark controversy. How they were made is simple. I received input from many and various baseball sages, applied painstaking logic, added personal prejudice—and got the Dreams.
Don't even ask why this game is being played in Fenway Park. If you've ever been there, you understand. Why Baltimore? Ruth's hometown is reason enough, but you also get history, crab cakes, tree-lined streets and once in a while, a dreamy day. Why Cub fans? Their suffering deserves to end.
The Baltimore Dreams will play in uniforms of a classic style, in the scarlet, navy and white of the Red Sox, with the logo in Dodger script. Buttons on the jersey. No name on the back.
"The leftfielder, number thirty, Tim Raines. Number thirtyirtyirtyirty."
The 25-year-old Expo is so fast he gets hit by his own line drive as he rounds first. Two years ago he stole 90 bases and drove in 71 runs, the first player since Ty Cobb to break 70 in each category in the same year. His 75 stolen bases in '84 led the league for the fourth straight season. He is the consummate leadoff man. "He can hit, run—he can do anything," says Don Baylor, a teammate on both the Yankees and the Dreams.
"The second baseman, number twenty-three, Ryne Sandberg. Number twenty-threeeeee."
He's what Abner Doubleday had in mind when he invented second base. The National League MVP. A Gold Glove. Says one scout, "If he doesn't get hurt, he could be the best all-around at that position. Ever." It's not only Sandberg's numbers that impress people. "I liked him when he was hitting .190," says former Braves manager Joe Torre. "Great instincts." And he's only 25.
"The third baseman, number five, George Brett. Number fiveiveiveive."
He comes to play. He's also coming off a .284 season, his worst batting average since he was a rookie in 1974. He missed 58 games with one injury or another, and people began to wonder if he would ever play a full season again.
But there are compelling reasons for putting Brett on the team, even over the more powerful Mike Schmidt. At 31, Brett's four years younger than Schmidt, and he reported to camp in tremendous shape. He's still the best pure lefthanded hitter in the game, and this team has enough righthanded hitters. When healthy, he's not a bad fielder, either. Says Yankee pitching coach Mark Connor, who picks Brett, "If this is a dream team, I'll just dream there are no injuries."
No, you can't move Cal Ripken to third base.
"The centerfielder, number three, Dale Murphy. Number threeeeee."
He leaps tall buildings in a single bound. Murphy followed his consecutive MVP seasons with an off year in 1984 of .290, 36 homers, 100 RBIs and a Gold Glove. Imagine what he could do with somebody hitting behind him. "Dale Murphy is the best player in the game," says Murray Cook, the Montreal general manager. "He's like Mays," says Torre. "He can beat you in every way—hit the ball out, steal a base, throw you out on the bases, make a catch."
Murphy, 29, is also the Great American Hero, a species thought by some to be endangered. He signs and signs and gives too generously of his time. Bad news for Murphy, though: Women reporters will be allowed in the Dreams locker room.
"The first baseman, number thirty-three, Eddie Murray. Number thirty-threeeeee."
He's so good, he's scary. Murray, 29, is the player many scouts would pick first. He's a switch hitter whose typical season is .298, 30 homers and 109 RBIs (see chart, page 114); he has three Gold Gloves; and he can steal a base. One of these years he may well win the Triple Crown.
His teammates revere his competitive fire, his vocal presence on the bench and his ability to hit in the clutch. "I got a lot of guys on my club who are great," says Tiger manager Sparky Anderson. "But that guy on first in Baltimore is the best player in baseball." He's certainly the best player never to win an MVP award.
"The rightfielder, number thirty-one, Dave Winfield. Number thirty-one-oneoneone."
Holy cow! Did you see Winfield climb that wall? He's arrogant and cocky, and he did a classless thing when he ducked out on the media after Don Mattingly took the batting title away from him on the final day last season. But, to be fair, he plays hard all the time, and he plays for the team. He gives the Dreams another Gold Glove.
At 33 the oldest Dream regular, Winfield can still do whatever he wants to do. Says Yankee catcher Butch Wynegar, "Last year he said he was going to give up homers for average, and he hit .340, a big guy like that. I wish I could make those decisions." Batting him sixth is a little low, but he can switch off once in a while with Brett.
"The catcher, number thirteen, Lance Parrish. Number thirteeneeneeneen."
He wasn't born, he was sculpted. Parrish, 28, was also the heart of the Tigers last year. They might have won it all without Willie Hernandez, but not without Parrish. His average, .237, was low because he slumped at the end of the season, but he broke his own AL home-run record for catchers with 33. He won a Gold Glove, and he did a superb job of handling the pitching staff. Quisenberry hits upon one reason for the 6'3", 210-pound Parrish's success when he says, "He's too big to second-guess."
"The shortstop, number one, Ozzie Smith. Number oneoneoneone."
We're off to see the Wizard. The 30-year-old Cardinal is the best fielding shortstop there is, and maybe the best there ever was. "I haven't seen anyone field the position better in 40 years," says the Phillies' veteran scout, Hugh Alexander. Quisenberry says, "I've seen him in a couple of All-Star Game practices, and there's no one like him. I'd put him at short, third and in leftfield."
All right, he's a .238 hitter. But he steals bases, and what do you need another offensive player for on this team? Alan Trammell, Robin Yount, Cal Ripken—get outta here. You want to watch Ozzie Smith make another improbable dive into the hole and come up throwing, don't you? You want to see him turning backflips before big games, don't you?
"The pitcher, number sixteen, Dwight Gooden. Number sixteeneeneeneen."
They've already cast this kid's plaque at Cooperstown. "The kind of stuff he's got, at his age , we're talking Hall of Fame," says Connor. And to think that a year ago they thought the Mets might be rushing him. Gooden gets the starting nod simply because he's the one pitcher everyone wants to see on the Dreams.
Imagining the rest of this team's 10-man pitching staff is, well, harder than you can imagine. No wonder so many pitchers get ticked off when the All-Star managers name their staffs.
Dave Stieb: The Blue Jays knew what they were doing when they signed him to a virtual lifetime contract. Stieb, 27, has won 50 games over the last three years, and he's bound to gain the 20-victory plateau this year. A great competitor, he may have to learn to bank his fires a little. Says Quisenberry, "I want him on the team so I can steal his slider."
Rick Sutcliffe: He may not go 16-1 for the Cubs again, but as Torre points out, who cares if he loses five times as many games? Sutcliffe, 28, deserves to be on this team for the way he stood up to questions when the Cubs committed Harry Caray against the Padres.
Fernando Valenzuela: He's the team's only lefthanded starter because these are not halcyon days for southpaws. Valenzuela, 24, was 12-17 for the Dodgers last year, but all his other stats were impressive. "He's the one pitcher you want, right or left, if you have a must game," says Torre. His screwball will make a nice change of pace on this staff.
Jack Morris: He has won more games the last six years, 103, than any other American League pitcher, and he's only 28. You saw what he did for the Tigers in the playoffs and World Series. O.K., he sulks occasionally, but Parrish will stay on him. "When he throws his split-fingered fastball in the high 80s, along with a 95 mile-an-hour fastball, it's a mismatch," says Angel pitching coach Marcel Lachemann. Morris also has the confidence to say, "I'm not sure Ruth could have hit the split-fingered. I've seen pictures of Ty Cobb swing, and I know he couldn't."
Bob Stanley: He's a 30-year-old horse you can ride through the middle innings; he's slightly miscast as a stopper in Boston out of necessity. His hard sinker, some call it a spitball, is outstanding.
Dave Dravecky: He pitched in 50 games last year, starting 14. He was indispensable to the Padres, who might have given the Tigers a better Series had Dravecky gotten one of the starts. Dravecky, 29, makes for a perfect lefthanded swing-man even if his politics are right-wing.
Jay Howell: This 29-year-old righthander was the best setup reliever in baseball last year. He struck out 109 in 103‚Öî innings for the Yankees, then went to Oakland in the Henderson deal.
Dave Righetti: "I wouldn't hesitate to bring him in with the bases loaded, game on the line, at Fenway, against Jim Rice," says Baylor. "If I was greedy, I'd want him on this team as a reliever and a starter." Righetti, 26, got more support as the lefthanded stopper than Hernandez.
Dan Quisenberry: Jim Frey, the Cubs' manager, has said that Quisenberry, 32, has done for saves what Ruth did for home runs. Yet some people, like Cy Young Award voters, still think that what he does—throw sinkers and knuckleballs and curves underhanded—is not quite fair. "There are guys who look so much better," says his manager, Dick Howser, "but he has done the job better than anyone, even Bruce Sutter, year after year. Plus, I never have to worry about him losing his fastball."
Who rides the pine? In a perfect world, there would be no designated hitter. But two DHs who could be pinch hitters on the Dreams are Baylor, 35, a righthander and Boston's Mike Easier, 34, a lefty. They are great hitters who could adjust to coming off the bench.
Bo Diaz, 32, seems ideal as the backup catcher. He lost his first-string job with the Phillies to Ozzie Virgil because of a knee injury, but in 1982 he hit .288 with 18 homers and 85 RBIs.
Utility infielders are usually the runts of the major league litter, but there are many good ones. For the Dreams, Rance Mulliniks, 29, and Bob Bailor, 33, get the call. Mulliniks, the lefthand side of Toronto's third base platoon, has become an excellent hitter (.324 in '84), and he can also play a decent shortstop. Bailor can play every position except catcher—he pitched three games for Toronto in '80—and now serves as second baseman Steve Sax's defensive caddie in L.A.
Phil Bradley, 26, is a Dream reserve outfielder. Last year he patrolled all three outfield positions nicely for the Mariners, and if you never heard of him, that's because you don't live in Seattle. He also hit .301 and stole 21 bases. The other outfielder is also a fine first baseman: Terry Francona, 25. There's no room for Francona in the Expos' lineup, even though he hit .346 before injuring his knee last year. Though his power is negligible, he finds the holes.
Any objections? Yes, the team could use a little bit more power off of the bench. And if one of the catchers gets hurt, we'll have to call someone up from the Dream minors, maybe Gilberto Reyes, a kid in the Dodger system.
Although the Dreams have enough good citizens to manage themselves, they have to have somebody, and Chuck Tanner of the Pirates is just the man. He's enthusiastic, exhilarating, even charismatic. The Pirates marvel at his enthusiasm. Says third baseman Bill Madlock, "I was home for two weeks before I realized we weren't in the World Series." His teams haven't won lately, but he hasn't had much to work with. Now he does. And he has a great coaching staff to help him.
Frank Howard, Brewers, first base: Howard's a match for Tanner in enthusiasm and is a tireless worker. The veteran Brewers, who remember him from his first tour in Milwaukee (1977-80), swear by him. He's a good batting practice pitcher and, as the coach in charge of baseballs—every team has one—he is nonpareil. He keeps practice balls in play so long that when Don Money once gave a particularly worn one to a fan, the fan looked at it and gave it right back.
Don Zimmer, Cubs, third base: Zimmy is a very early arrival at the ball park. After successfully sending Keith Moreland home during the playoffs, Zimmer told reporters that what he looked for in a good third-base coach was a guy who drank a little and gambled a little. Actually, he gambles a lot.
Walt Hriniak, Red Sox, batting coach: He turned Dwight Evans' career around, and Wade Boggs continues to give Hriniak credit for his own success. He's a disciple of the late Charley Lau, but even Lau acknowledged that Hriniak had taken his principles a step further. He works as well with a power hitter like Jim Rice as he does with a singles hitter like Boggs.
Billy Connors, Cubs, pitching coach: Maybe it's only a coincidence, but Rick Sutcliffe and Dennis Eckersley became dominant pitchers immediately after joining the Cubs from the American League. He also helped Steve Trout, once frustrated by unfulfilled potential, become a winner. All right, so he teaches the spitball....
Jimmie Schaffer, Royals, bullpen coach: "Jimmie Schaffer," says Quisenberry, "is the kind of person you would want for your father-in-law. He lets us have fun in the bullpen, but he keeps control, too. He's the one guy I definitely want on the team." He's also lasted through several managerial changes, which is a tribute to any coach.
Randy Candias, Angels, bat boy: He gets the nod because, in the words of California second baseman Bobby Grich, "He knows which of our bats are corked and which aren't." Of course, the Dreams would never dream of that kind of skulduggery.
There are other uniformed personnel you might want to have around. Jimmie Reese, 79, will be there before the game to hit fungoes to the Dreams just as he does for the Angels. Two of the best pure batting practice pitchers are Nick Testa, with both the Yankees and Mets, and lefty Hank King of the Phillies.
Also, every team should have an All-time Great, someone to trot out every once in a while during spring training or for Old-Timers' games. The clear choice is Ted Williams of the Red Sox. It's still a thrill to see Teddy Ballgame standing behind the cage at Winter Haven.
The funny thing about the Dreams is that they could have been assembled in real life. Only six of them were first-round picks in the June free-agent draft, with three of the six first-round picks the same year. In 1974 Murphy was the fifth player selected, Parrish the 16th and Sutcliffe the 21st. Just to show you the quirks of fate, Murphy was a catcher at the time and Parrish an outfielder-third baseman. There must have been a time, when Murphy was hitting his pitchers with his throws to second, that he could have been obtained from the Braves. The Dodgers were always willing to trade Sutcliffe for next to nothing, and after the '81 season they did—to Cleveland, with Jack Perconte, for Jorge Orta, Jack Fimple and Larry White.
But it would have taken a canny, or uncanny, front office to pull off those coups. So, off we go again into the land of make-believe.
Who owns the Toronto Blue Jays? Chances are you don't know, and that's the way it should be. Because you asked, the Blue Jays are owned by a consortium consisting of the Labatt's Brewing Company (45%), the reclusive millionaire industrialist Howard Webster (45%) and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (10%). They have a five-man board of directors, with two directors representing the brewery, two Webster and one the bank. The chief executive officer, N.E. (Peter) Hardy, is from Labatt's. Each season, Hardy makes it a point to take the players and their wives out to dinner, to sound them out. Otherwise, he stays in the background. Hardy is our choice as chief exec.
Pat Gillick is the man who really runs the Toronto franchise, and he would make a fine general manager for the Dreams, but let's go with a proven winner. Hank Peters in Baltimore is a classy guy, and he has had to deal with both a volatile owner, Edward Bennett Williams, and a volatile manager, Earl Weaver. Peters, who built the world champion A's as Arnold Johnson's, and later Charles O. Finley's, farm director when the club was in Kansas City, took over the Orioles in 1975 and rebuilt the team after it was hit hard by free agency in 1976. Says agent Bob Cohen, "He has maintained consistency over the years. He signs players without giving them outrageous salaries, and he develops young players with a sense of integrity."
Joe McIlvaine of the Mets is the scouting director. "He would certainly be my choice," says Gillick. Like Gillick, McIlvaine is a former pitcher. He recently turned down the G.M. job in Cleveland. Good teams seem to follow him wherever he goes: Baltimore, California, Milwaukee and now New York. Three years ago, the Mets had the fifth pick in the draft, and it came down to a first baseman named Sam Horn or a kid pitcher from Tampa. McIlvaine won his argument and the Mets drafted Dwight Gooden.
Scouts are the lifeblood of any organization, and there are just too many good ones to start getting picky. So we limit ourselves to three: an advance man to prepare the team for its next opponent; a major league scout to assess talent; and a cross-checker to evaluate free agents.
Cookie Rojas does advance work for the Angels and gets high marks from opponents. "When we play California, we know we've been scouted very well," says Toronto manager Bobby Cox.
Howie Haak, 74, of the Pirates was just recognized by his peers as Scout of the Year. That's good enough for us. We'll make Haak our major league scout.
The cross-checker is another older fellow, Bobby Mattick, 68, of the Blue Jays. "Still one of the best," says Gillick. In his time, Mattick recruited, signed or developed Curt Flood, Frank Robinson, Vada Pinson, Rusty Staub, Darrell Porter, Gorman Thomas, Bobby Grich, Gary Carter and two Dreams, Baylor and Stieb.
Peter Bavasi, the new president of the Indians, says the best scouting network would consist of "50 guys in the Caribbean looking for infielders." If you need one guy in Latin America, though, Toronto's Epy Guerrero is the one.
Our farm director has to be someone with experience, someone with a concern for young prospects, someone who doesn't care if he ever gets noticed. Bill Schweppe of the Dodgers does get noticed by his peers. "Forty years on the job gives him unmatched experience," says long-time executive Buzzie Bavasi.
To make the Dreams' road trips go smoothly, we need a good traveling secretary. The choice is the Orioles' Phil Itzoe. When the players went on strike, in '81, the Orioles were stranded in Seattle. Itzoe was under orders not to help the players get home, but he gave Mike Flanagan and Scott McGregor the necessary numbers to call and told them that, if they needed him, they could phone him at any time during the night. Some Orioles might still be in Seattle had he not done that.
It is also the traveling secretary's job to line up bus drivers, and in Baltimore Itzoe has a good one in Paul Cook, who can squeeze through the gate at Memorial Stadium at about 35 miles an hour.
There are some marvelous public relations men, and you know who you are. For this team, let's go with the unheralded Bob DiBiasio in Cleveland. Goodness knows, he doesn't have much to work with, but while all the others around him lose their sense of humor, he keeps his.
To direct stadium operations, we'll have Bob Smith of Dodger Stadium. The one thing everybody says about Dodger Stadium is that you could eat off the floor. Why would anyone want to eat off the floor, anyway? Clean rest rooms, however, are even more to be desired, and the Dodgers have those.
Marketing and promotion go hand in hand, so we'll need two guys for that, even if their jobs sometimes overlap. Dave Montgomery of the Phillies and Andy Dolich of the A's would make a good combination. Montgomery keeps putting people into the Veteran Stadium seats on a modest budget. Dolich isn't afraid to try what hasn't been tried before and he helped bring Billy Ball into the language—a blessing that turned into a curse.
Our director of sales is Ray Fosse of the Brewers, because we might need an extra catcher.
Dr. Arthur Pappas in Boston is the team doctor; he is constantly sought out by players from other teams, particularly pitchers from Baltimore. Through the use of sensors attached to a pitcher's arm while he throws, Dr. Pappas can now read a graph and predict whether a pitcher will have problems.
The trainer? Mickey Cobb of the Royals, who gets a lot of practice on George Brett alone. Actually, Cobb is at the top of his profession, and he's a sweet guy to boot.
The groundskeeper is Pat Santarone in Baltimore. George Toma of the Royals is also great, but Santarone works with real grass. He will doctor a field to a manager's specifications, and he'll dump a tarp full of water to guarantee a rainout, although this team doesn't need to cheat. It'll be nice to see if Santarone can grow his famous tomatoes on the Green Monster. For the grounds crew, we want the guy from San Diego who break-dances on second base and the guy in Detroit who struts with his broom.
The clubhouse manager has to be the Yankees' Pete Sheehy, a mere 71. Here's a man who literally carried Babe Ruth's jockstrap. "He's the one guy," says Howser, "who would be on this team if it was 1935 or 1955 or 1985." When rookie Andre Robertson asked if number 3 was available for him to wear, Sheehy had to tell him it was taken. Sheehy hardly ever talks, although every once in a while he'll give you a toothless grin and tell you a story from the '20s.
In the visitors' clubhouse will be Steve Vucinich of Oakland, who always puts out a great spread of food. Vucinich is a friendly guy, but he still stood up to the Twins' Ron Davis when, after a bad game, the pitcher ruined his barbecued ribs by dousing them with vodka.
And what team would be complete without a player on the disabled list? Get well soon, Bob Horner.
"Would you please rise for the singinginginging of our National Anthemthemthemthem?"
That voice. Since 1951 Bob Sheppard has been doing the public address in Yankee Stadium, and he should be in the Hall of Fame. Players still get chills when they're introduced by Sheppard. Those who were there that day in 1982 will never forget what happened when he accidentally left the mike on while Shane Rawley was pitching in relief for the Yankees. Rawley quickly turned a 3-2 lead into a 4-3 deficit and then, over the speakers, came the lordly voice from the heavens: "Boy, what relief pitchinginginging!" Sheppard apologized profusely the next day to Rawley.
Sheppard, who is a speech professor at St. John's, maintains such an air of dignity that he refuses to introduce Dennis Boyd of the Red Sox by his popular moniker, Oil Can. He has many imitators, but he personally thinks that, among ballplayers, Reggie Jackson does him best.
While Sheppard is talking upstairs, the Phillie Phanatic is running around down below. Mascots are fine in their place—they make kids laugh—so let it be the Phanatic, a.k.a. Dave Raymond, who is funnier than the Candlestick Crab, who is funnier than the Chicken. Just keep him off the field once the game starts.
Who's doing the anthem? Why, none other than Linda Ronstadt. People still remember her in her Dodger jacket, singing the anthem during the '77 Series. If we could give her a backup band, we'd have all ex-major leaguers: Carmen Fanzone on trumpet, Eddie Basinski on violin, Bud Harrelson on guitar and Nelson Briles on the organ.
The stadium's organ player? Nancy Faust can play the Comiskey Park crowd as well as she plays the organ, and you wonder how many games she's won over the years with that refrain from the oldie by Steam: "Na na na na, na na na na, hey, hey, hey, goodby." She has an encyclopedic memory for popular songs. A few years ago Ken Singleton of the Orioles twisted an ankle, or something, and when Ralph Salvon, the Tweedledum trainer, came running out onto the field, Faust started playing the Carole King song I Feel the Earth Move (Under My Feet).
The usher who'll take us to our seats is Ed Hoffman, father of Glenn Hoffman, the Red Sox infielder. He usually works at Anaheim Stadium, and sometimes he sings the anthem there. They say he shows more range than his son.
There's Tommy Walton now with the hot dogs. He's the only one we brought north with us from spring training. He works at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, and when he breaks into He's Got the Whole World in His Hands, the game stops. The people love him. He can make "Tube steaks!" sound like an aria.
Speaking of food, whadya have? At Comiskey, you can get all sorts of ethnic food underneath the stands, so we'll make that available here at the Big D. Maybe we can get the nachos from Arlington Stadium and the brat with red sauce from County Stadium in Milwaukee. Ball park beer always tastes a little flat, so it might as well be low in alcohol to keep the boor level down.
There, up in the radio booth, is Ernie Harwell in his tarn. He brings a feel to the game that no other announcer can. One of his partners is Lon Simmons, the deep voice of the A's. He doesn't call a game so much as converse it, and he does that in good humor. The other guy in the booth is Jon Miller of the O's. He's a funny announcer in his own right, but he can also do great imitations of the other people you might want to hear occasionally: Harry Caray, Vin Scully, Phil Rizzuto. Miller does an excellent Bob Sheppard, too.
People bring their Watchmen to the ball park nowadays, which is carrying television a little too far. When we have to watch the Dreams on TV, we'll borrow Scully from L.A., Tony Kubek from Toronto and Tim McCarver from the Mets. They all work the networks now, too, but they're at their very best when they do their own games. Scully is still the best.
What a beautiful day here at sold-out Fenway Park in Baltimore, with 33,583 Cub fans singing the anthem along with Linda Ronstadt. The cheering begins, and the Dreams snap out of attention. Raines, Murphy and Winfield play catch in the outfield. Gooden walks in from the bullpen in rightfield. Murray puts Brett, Smith and Sandberg through their infield motions—Eddie loves to hit second base with one of his lazy tosses. Ozzie does his backflip. Parrish, looking for all the world like a medieval knight, pulls down his mask and gets into his crouch. Listen to the pop of Gooden's fastball.
Now the first batter for the visiting team steps up to the plate.
"The centerfielder, number one, Earle Combs. Number oneoneoneone."
Hey, maybe the Babe is here, too.
GEORGE BRETT (L)
DALE MURPHY (R)
EDDIE MURRAY (L/R)
LANCE PARRISH (R)
TIM RAINES (L/R)
RYNE SANDBERG (R)
OZZIE SMITH (L/R)
DAVE WINFIELD (R)
BOB BAILOR (R)
DON BAYLOR (R)
PHIL BRADLEY (R)
BO DIAZ (R)
MIKE EASLER (L)
TERRY FRANCONA (L)
RANCE MULLINIKS (L)
DWIGHT GOODEN (R)
JACK MORRIS (R)
DAVE STIEB (R)
RICK SUTCLIFFE (R)
FERNANDO VALENZUELA (L)
DAVE DRAVECKY (L)
JAY HOWELL (R)
DAN QUISENBERRY (R)
DAVE RIGHETTI (L)
BOB STANLEY (R)
These statistics represent an "average" 162-game season for each member of the Dreams.