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BASEBALL PLAYOFFS : National League Notes : 'Unearthly' Is Tag That Fits McGee

October 17, 1985|TOM FRIEND | Times Staff Writer

Willie McGee's nickname might be ET, but he's only human.

He had hit .353 during a most irregular regular season, becoming just the second switch-hitter to win a batting crown. It definitely was something to phone home about, but his playoff series with the Dodgers wasn't.

Until Wednesday.

Hitting only .190 heading into Game 6, McGee went 3 for 5, including a two-run single in the seventh and single in the ninth that helped St. Louis put away the game. New playoff batting average: .269.

"Nothing's been the problem," he said when asked: "What's the problem?"

He kept talking. "I've been trying. I'm human. I don't make or break this team. I have my downs. But if I'm having a bad time, others can contribute."

He listed Ozzie Smith, Jack Clark, etc. What he was saying made sense.

"In this game, we play 160-some games. If you let it get to you, then you'd be down. What good is that? I've been trying my hardest. I learned that from George (former teammate George Hendrick). He looked the same every day. Good day or bad day."

But McGee didn't look the same, really. He looked like he needed a pillow.

"I'm mentally and physically drained," he said. "I'm gone, man. I'll just try to finish these games and go on home."

Isn't that what ET said?

At about 11:45 a.m., the public address announcer bellowed: "Now, introducing the St. Louis Cardinals."

And then he introduced them, although the players never came out of the dugout to get booed, as is tradition.

This was all Whitey Herzog's idea.

But why Whitey? Upset that pre-game infield practice was cancelled, he boycotted the introductions.

"They told me it was Dodger tradition (to be introduced)," he said. "Bleep Dodger tradition. My owner backed me up, so we didn't have to go out for that bleeping tradition."

Steve Brener, Dodger publicity director, said, however, that the Cardinals were notified of the pre-game schedule as early as Game 5. And he said, had the Cardinals complained, they would've been accommodated.

There were no complaints. Until Wednesday.

"We didn't get no schedule," Herzog said. "And if we did, I don't give a bleep because we didn't have to go out there. Bleep the Dodger people. Put that in the paper. . . . I didn't want to be introduced. We were introduced the first and second games there. I didn't think it was necessary for us to be introduced today. We get here and there's no infield. You understand? Why? Because you've got the (marching) band out there. I want to take infield because we've played three days on AstroTurf. So if we can't take infield, we can't be introduced. And if we'd played tomorrow with no infield, it would've been the same thing. I don't want some team to tell me I can't take infield. And I think that's more important than getting introduced. Get the band off, and we'll take infield while they're supposed to introduce us. That's a bunch of bleep. And they give us that Dodger tradition BS. Tradition, my bleep. They haven't been in the playoffs that bleeping much."

Did you know? :

--The Cardinals, supposed speedsters, were caught stealing 5 times in 11 attempts, which, if anything, blows the theory that they had to run to win.

"I don't know where everyone's been," McGee said. "We've been beating people without running all year. People put a tag on you, and it sticks."

--Joaquin Andujar lost a ground ball in the sun Wednesday.

"What can I say," he said. "It bounced high."

--Orel Hershiser got 18 outs Wednesday, 14 of which came on ground balls. Obviously, his sinker was sinking.

--Vince Coleman, who lost his fight with a tarp last weekend, took batting practice before Wednesday's game, but was too sore to play. But he was out there jumping around after the Cardinals clinched the title.

"I'm part of the ballclub," he said. "I've been here all year long. I should be jumping around, shouldn't I?"

Saturday's World Series game remains a question mark for him.

--John Tudor, who would have started Game 7 for the Cardinals, said the finale was on his mind during Wednesday's game.

"But there's no Game 7, so I don't want to talk about it now," he said.

--Ozzie Smith had called the Dodger Stadium infield "lumpy," but groundskeeper Chris Duca said: "Ozzie's lumpy. That infield is worked on everyday. It's great."

Dodger infielder Enos Cabell wished Cardinal pitcher Joaquin Andujar luck in the World Series, and gave him credit for having done a good job in Wednesday's game, on the mound and at the plate.

"If it wasn't for him hitting that double (leading off the third inning), the Cardinals might never have scored a run," Cabell said. "Maybe they never would have got untracked."

In facing the outspoken and embattled Andujar, Cabell added: "A lot of players would do anything to beat him, especially because he's talked so much doody lately. He puts a lot of pressure on himself, talking so much about himself. I know a lot of guys on this team would have loved to beat him today. But we didn't, so that's that."

Outfielder Ken Landreaux, who hit .389 in the playoffs, evidently does not feel 100% confident about returning to the Dodgers next season.

"Good playing with you," he told Cabell, his cousin, in the clubhouse after Wednesday's game. "If I'm not here next year, get off to a good start without me."

A reporter asked Landreaux if he thought he was going someplace.

"You know I'm good for five or six rumors," he replied.

Bill Madlock, a former teammate of Jack Clark's at San Francisco, was saying, "I told you so."

"I told you, I told you, I told you," he said. "I told you a long time ago that if they ever got him out of Candlestick, you'll see what type of player he is."

Madlock, bothered by a thumb injury, figured he'd have problems hitting off-speed pitches.

But Joaquin Andujar kept throwing him fastballs, and Madlock had a home run and a single.

"I could've hit only one pitch for a homer--a fastball in," Madlock said. "And he throws me that twice. Looking back, that wasn't that smart."

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