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Notebook : Herzog Cries Balk, but Blyleven Pays No Mind

October 22, 1987|SAM McMANIS | Times Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS — One of St. Louis Manager Whitey Herzog's major gripes after his club's second blowout loss in the World Series last weekend at the Metrodome had to do with the pitching style of the Minnesota Twins' Bert Blyleven.

Herzog accused Blyleven of "quick pitching," not coming to a complete stop from a stretch before throwing to the plate. Herzog said that Blyleven's motion limited the Cardinals' running game and that Blyleven was balking.

Tonight, in Game 5 of the Series at Busch Stadium, Blyleven will face the Cardinals for a second time. Because of Herzog's squawking, the umpires may be watching Blyleven's motion more closely.

Asked Wednesday night if Herzog was merely playing mind games with the talk of quick pitching, Blyleven glibly answered: "Whitey really doesn't know me, because I have no mind." Herzog's retort: "Tell Bert I knew that."

Seriously, though, Blyleven said he will not be conscious of his motion.

"Hopefully, I won't let these fast guys on (base), so they won't have to watch me," Blyleven said. "But I'm not going to watch what I do. I can think of only one incident (in Game 2) when they tried to run. . . . They didn't have many situations to accuse me of that." Said Twin Manager Tom Kelly: "The umpires are the ones calling the balking. He's been pitching 18 years that way. I don't think he's had any this year or last year, as far as I know. I don't think he balks, and the umpires don't."

Herzog said Wednesday that he has been impressed with the pitcher since Blyleven began his major league career at 18.

"When he was an 18-year-old pitcher, he was in the same class as Tug McGraw, Jon Matlack, Dwight Gooden and David Clyde (other teen-agers)," Herzog said.

Herzog said the Cardinals almost got Blyleven from the Cleveland Indians in 1985.

"Two years ago, they had asked us for two players and we agreed, and then they backed out," he said.

The Angels, sources said, also had an agreement to get Blyleven for pitcher Kirk McCaskill and infielder Mark McLemore. But the Indians also backed out of that deal.

The start of tonight's game may be delayed because of the scheduled presidential news conference, which will be televised by all of the major networks.

The game is supposed to start at 5:25 p.m. PDT., but the first pitch will be delayed, if necessary, until after completion of President Reagan's news conference, which begins at 5 p.m., PDT.

While the Cardinals remained noncommittal on their pitching rotation for the rest of the series, Kelly announced his pitchers before Wednesday night's game.

Blyleven will pitch tonight in Game 5, Les Straker Saturday in Game 6 and Frank Viola Sunday in Game 7, if one is necessary.

"We outlined that program at the start of the playoffs two weeks ago," Kelly said. "The only way we would have deviated is if the (San Francisco) Giants would've made the (World Series). Then, Bert would have pitched the three games. But Frank is better (at) holding runners on."

Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda and ABC-TV's Reggie Jackson huddled for some non-stop repartee before the game.

Reggie's best: "When I started my career, I wanted to play with Willie Mays. When I ended it, I wanted to play with . . . what's his name, Mike Marshall. I'm 41 and I played more games than he did."

Said Lasorda, reflecting on George Steinbrenner's recycling of Billy Martin as the Yankee manager: "How about George? We bomb Iran. The stock market collapses. And George finds a way to get on the front page of the New York papers."

When it was suggested that the Twins' run in Wednesday's 3-1 loss, the result of two walks and a bloop single, was a Cardinal-style run, Ozzie Smith said that too much has been made of his team's style.

"I grew up watching the Dodgers," he said. "They used to win with pitching and defense . . . sound, fundamental baseball. I don't recall when the Dodgers would beat somebody, the other team wondering how they got beat. I think we're too analytical. There's no set way to do it. You win or you lose."

John Tudor, who was a perfectionist and a media scourge during the 1985 World Series, has been much more agreeable, accessible and relaxed this time around.

"That's history, and I've never been good at history," he said. "I'm just trying to be more patient. We were up, 3-1, in '85, and everybody wanted me to write off the (Kansas City) Royals. I wouldn't do it. I felt invaded.

"By the time I'd get back to the clubhouse after pitching, there wouldn't be a chance to share what I'd done with the guys I play with. There'd be 70 guys waiting for me to explain what I do.

"I'm a private person. I was fighting to keep the bubble from bursting. I got distracted and failed (he was hammered in Game 7 and injured his hand swinging at a dugout fan).

"The bottom line is that the Series represents a difficult situation. The clubhouse should really be closed for 20 minutes after a game so you can hug, so you can release all that emotion before facing the media."

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