Thursday, August 29, 2019

What's On TV Tonight (1973)?

One of my favorite things about the HP is that I just don't feel too much regret around this place. I play for a while with one thing, and then I don't care about it anymore, so I just quit and start playing with something else. 

A few weeks ago, I thought I was going to go all cuckoo for the College All-Star football game in Chicago, but then it just made me strangely depressed. I mean, the Dolphins won, and it's great to know the NFL73 Dolphins have just won a Super Bowl, and they're getting ready to win another Super Bowl. But I don't know ... thinking about rookies like Ray Guy of the Raiders, John Hannah of the Patriots, Bert Jones of the Colts and even Leon Gray of the Dolphins, who is actually going to end up being an All-Pro for the Patriots and then the Oilers but not the Dolphins ... and remembering how those guys and their teams are going to be such studs during my real Wide Awake in America childhood while the Dolphins are navigating the choppy seasons between the perfect years and until the Marino years ... well, to heck with it, I ended up turning off that post and moving on.

Then last week I got all fired up for some made-for-TV satisfaction and all of the Fort Sumter points I wanted to make about Channel 3 and Channel 12 and Maude and Rush Limbaugh and Roe v. Wade and on and on and on. But I wore even myself out just thinking about it and lost interest and kind of got depressed in another way by the whole deal, and, so, I just quit that one, too.

Well, that kind of lack of followthrough and sustained attention is refreshingly OK at the HP, and I really love this glorious clubhouse for that fact. And so here I am again, without apology, firing another round in the air, and we'll see what happens

But I'm not even going to pretend that this bad boy isn't going to depress me into submission: “Don’t miss this topical story about a successful aerospace engineer whose life undergoes a complete reversal when he’s fired from the job he has held for 20 years. George Kennedy and Vera Miles are very good as the couple who face unexpected struggles and challenges when their affluent world crumbles. An above-average made-for-TV feature."

In other news, 1973 me really did need to chillax. The A's are five and a half up in the American League West as of Aug. 29, 1973. Jim Hunter just made his third start after his injury break. He pitched a one-hitter against Boston last night, and the A's won, 6-1. After the game, "Catfish" was all mad that the scorer gave Carl Yastrzemski a hit on a ball that ricocheted off Gene Tenace’s glove after the first baseman apparently made a valiant try to chase it down. Glenn Schwarz of the San Francisco Examiner quoted Hunter as getting into a loud disagreement with the official scorer, Joe Sargis.

“If Geno doesn’t touch the ball Greenie (second baseman Dick Green) has it and I’m there to cover first base,” said Hunter to Stargis, Catfish’s voice increasing in volume with each word. “It was an error.”

“I called it a hit because Geno tried to get to the ball and couldn’t,” replied Sargis. “I can’t give him an error for hustling.”

Schwarz quoted Tenace, Green and A’s manager Dick Williams as all agreeing with the scorer’s decision. 

Geno waited until Hunter was well within hearing range. “They,” said Tenace, “out to give the error to Catfish for throwing that ball.”

I am really, really excited about the A’s winning the World Series again.


  1. Dad loved Catfish Hunter. It feels to me that dad's favorite pitchers are something like Whitey Ford then Catfish Hunter.

  2. I'm very interested to see how Eric's going to deal with the 1970's. It's a long trip, Eric, and much of it ends badly.

  3. In fact, I'm starting to think I might--if I get to live this long--be able to sort of retire or be retired in about 10 to 15 years. That would get fake me up to somewhere in the 1983-88 range. If that plays out, at this point, I'm thinking I'll revert fake me back to 1968 and try to do 1968-88 all over again but in greater granularity, using this first series of HP posts as the outline for that more intense immersion, which probably by that point would be able to leverage all kinds of mixed-reality technological experiences. For example, maybe in 2036, second fake 1970 me might be able to actually drive to Texas and stay in this old Dallas Holiday Inn, all via some kind of VR/AR/big-data mashup!

  4. Oh, my gosh, even just typing that makes me so happy to imagine that I could just burst!

  5. Well, let me tell you something. This movie is even more chilling than I can imagine. George Kennedy’s “Brad" is some kind of aerospace numbers guy who stuck with his company when they told him position would be eliminated in six months, on the promise that his old friends would look for him a new position in their business units. Alas, the six months came and went, and it turned out that Brad was deemed too specialized. He went home and gave his wife, Vera Miles, the bad news but assured her that their standard of living needn’t change because a professional of his record and experience would obviously be in high demand.

    After a monthlong sailing vacation (instead of the typical two weeks), Brad comes home to the mail to discover only one letter of interest from a potential employer. Discouragement sets in—he’s overqualified for the few opportunities that are available; his pension is not as robust as he planned, and he refuses to accept his family’s urging to back off the high living.

    Now his son-in-law has stopped by to offer financial help while his wife is secretly out on a job interview …

  6. Gloria got the job, and she's excelling. But--oh, no--her new boss appears to be hitting on her.

  7. Brad's done with his job interviews with the day; now he's home to retrieve the second-notice bills from the mail, have a beer and watch Let's Make a Deal.

    OK, I might be done with this thing.

  8. Hey, cool! Brad's boat-repair guys is being played by Leave It To Beaver Wally!

  9. Now after picking her up from work, Brad is mad at his wife for being too tired to cook (“and a lot of other things”).

    Oh, no! Now Brad’s out on his sailboat with a young woman who is considering buying it. They’ve agreed to a price of $20,000. There’s some kind of weird exchange with knowing glances about her husband being in the dark about this deal and about her not writing checks. This is the kind of vague adult stuff that was written into these TV movies and I never understood what was going on. Of course, I’m 51 now, and I’m still not sure.

    Oh, OK … oh, wow … no, no, no, now I get it. Oh, boy. Brad’s an idiot. This movie is over.

  10. Gloria to her daughter and son-in-law: "We don't need your money, and we don't need your judgment! ... Our lives were just starting to come together. We were so secure; we knew exactly where we were going, and we were almost there. And then all of a sudden it started to slip away ..."

  11. Police officer: "Fifty's the worst age. They all go crazy at 50."

  12. Craps out ... well, I say that as though I know what it means ... Brad just threw dice in some casino game with a bunch of people leaning over the table, and he lost, and then everyone groaned ... I think that means he "crapped out."

  13. Gloria finds Brad at the marina, where he no longer owns a boat.

    Her: "You're wrong when you say you failed, Brad. You didn't fail; the system failed--nobody could've tried harder than you. ... What do you want?"

    Him: "I want you--and Carol and Julie (their daughters) and everything you've all been to me. It's the only thing I'm sure of."

    Her: "Gee, you've got good taste!"

  14. There was some other stuff in there at the end. I didn't know what the heck was exactly going on ..l t. something to do with some kind of management partnership at a marina and her needing to continue to work and that they'll try again if this doesn't work out.

    Him: "They say beginnings are just for kids."

    Her: "Don't you believe it. Beginnings are all there are."

    And that's that. I don't know what all of that meant exactly. But, whatever, Brad and Gloria seem to be back together for now. The end.

    1. This movie pretty much summarizes what is going to happen to the U.S. economy for the rest of the 1970's. Things are going to get really bad, and honestly no one in authority has the slightest clue about what to do. At one point they will hand out buttons that say "Whip Inflation Now." At another the President will urge Americans to set their thermostats at 65 degrees in the wintertime and wear sweaters in the house. They will lose a war. They will impeach a President. They will elect a new President who will walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to show his compassion for the common man. Lamar Alexander will become governor of Tennessee by putting on a plaid shirt and walking across the state. It's all pretty much the equivalent of saying, "We didn't fail; the system failed."

      And none of it works. Or it all works about as well as Billy Gillespie worked for UK. Eventually, the entire leadership class of both parties will be thrown out by the voters, and a whole new story will begin. But you've still got many years to go.

    2. But the music is fantastic. So are the comic books and pretty much all sports.

  15. MLB73 division races as of the morning of Sunday, Sept. 2, 1973:

    A’s 79-55
    Royals 75-60, 4.5 games back

    Orioles 77-54
    Red Sox 73-62, 6
    Tigers 71-65, 8.5

    Pirates 66-65
    Cardinals 68-67
    Cubs 64-70, 3.5
    Expos 64-70, 3.5
    Mets 63-71, 4.5
    Phillies 62-73, 6

    Dodgers 83-53
    Reds 81-55, 2
    Giants 74-59, 7.5

  16. In 1971, Vida Blue had one of the great pitching years in history -- he went 24-8, with an ERA of 1.82, and 8 shutouts. He was 21 years old. He was never again that good, but he was very good. He finished with a record of 209-161, a career ERA of 3.27, and 45.1 wins above replacement. To put those figures in perspective, consider Catfish Hunter: lifetime record of 224-166, career ERA of 3.26, and 40.9 wins above replacement.

  17. He was the American League pitcher to whom awarded that Topps awarded its All-Star emblem for its 1976 set (covering MLB75), and that was the first set I started acquiring even before the baseball season had even started. So, to me, he was the first best A.L. pitcher, and childhood me would've guessed Vida Blue as an obviously first-ballot hall-of-famer.

  18. Here are some interesting things that have happened in the last couple of weeks of MLB73:

    — The White Sox finally declared that Dick Allen will be out the rest of the season. He broke his left leg on June 28, which sounds significant enough that one might’ve assumed at the time that he wouldn’t be coming back. Anyway, they held out hope for a late-season return of the American League’s MLB72 MVP, but now there’s not much reason to rush him in. Chicago, which led the A.L. West by as many as 4.5 games in June (and some had predicted in the preseason to win the division), were 12.5 games back of Oakland as of Sept. 6.

    — The Yankees, having fallen to 10.5 games behind Baltimore in the A.L. East by the same date, jettisoned both of their Alous on the same Sept. 6. Matty went to St. Louis, which leads the N.L. East, and Felipe went to Montreal, which is three games back. Houston shipped Jesus Alou to Oakland a few weeks ago, and that dude has been great for the A’s. He’s hit .321 in 84 at-bats since his arrival, and, with Alou often in left field and at the top of the bottom third of the batting order, the A’s have surged from one behind the Royals in the A.L. West to five ahead of them.

    — The Sept. 6 Sun-Democrat ran a picture of Pirates manager Bill Virdon arguing with an umpire during his team’s loss to the Cardinals. It was St. Louis’s third-straight win in a four-game series in Pittsburgh, and it dropped the Pirates to three back and tied for second in the N.L. East with the Expos. Later that day, with 26 games to go in the season, the Pirates fired Bill Virdon! His replacement is Danny Murtaugh, whom Virdon had replaced after Pittsburgh won the MLB71 World Series. Virdon’s Pirates won the N.L. East last season and just missed the World Series. Recalls super Wikipedia: "With the defending World Series champion Pirates three outs away from returning to defend their title, Reds catcher Johnny Bench homered off Pittsburgh closer Dave Giusti to tie the game. Tony Pérez singled and was replaced by pinch-runner George Foster. Denis Menke followed with another single as Foster moved to second base. Giusti was then replaced with Game 2 starter Bob Moose. A fly ball out advanced Foster to third. Darrell Chaney popped out as Foster stayed at third, before Moose uncorked a wild pitch to pinch-hitter Hal McRae scoring Foster with the winning run, as the hometown fans and the Reds players celebrated a return to the World Series, which they lost to the Oakland A's in an equally dramatic 7-game series."

  19. Here are some others:

    -- Eighteen teams still in contention to win the American and National League pennants gathered in New York on Aug. 22 to discuss ticket policies and other procedures for the MLB73 postseason. Those teams were the A’s, Royals and Twins from the A.L. West; the Brewers, Orioles, Red Sox, Tigers and Yankees from the A.L. East; the Cardinals, Cubs, Expos, Mets, Phillies and Pirates from the N.L. East, and the Dodgers, Giants and Reds from the A.L. West. I just think it’s neat to think about that meeting, what it looked like, who the team representatives were, what they had for lunch, etc.

    — Noted the Aug. 27 Sports Illustrated, "The Chicago Cubs' annual summer swoon has inspired a disgruntled fan to suggest that the team move to the Philippines, where it could be called the Manila Folders."

    — Also noted the Aug. 27 SI, "Some called Ken McMullen a throw-in in the trade that brought him along with Andy Messersmith to the Dodgers. One of baseball's most pleasant men, McMullen suffers from a bad back that scarcely lets him bend down to tie a shoelace, let alone field a grounder. Earlier this year McMullen talked of retiring, ostensibly because of the back. Now the real reason is known. Ken's wife Bobbie, expecting a child in December, is a cancer victim who cannot have radiation treatment until after the birth. In May the McMullens had to decide whether to terminate pregnancy. They chose not to, and it has been a harrowing summer for a player who spends most games on the bench. But this week, as McMullen was sent in to pinch-hit for Jerry Royster in the last of the ninth with two out, one on and the Dodgers trailing Montreal by a run, Messersmith told Claude Osteen, 'He's gonna hit it out.' McMullen did. He clapped his hands all the way around the bases, and the whole team met him at the plate. It was the fifth game-winning hit and the fourth homer for the courageous McMullen in only 63 at bats."

    — The Red Sox, four games behind Baltimore in the A.L. East, have moved Carl Yastrzemski to third base.

  20. Another:

    -- The Reds have now moved into the N.L. West lead since the callup of 23-year-old Ken Griffey, who got nine hits in 16 at-bats in his first four major-league games. It’s Cincinnati with baseball’s best record, 85-55 (.607), in the lead. The Dodgers are two games back; the Giants, five. San Francisco on Sept. 5 finished a three-game sweep of Los Angeles in Candlestick with a 7-0 shutout.

    1. This is the first season where I can remember rooting for the Dodgers. I can still remember their fade down the stretch before the relentless Big Red Machine. This experience proved to be representative of others to come.

  21. We've got 18-9 Jim Colborn facing 7-6 Pat Dobson.

  22. I'm shocked to see that Brewer Colborn is approaching 20 wins. Growing up with his baseball cards (and basically no other information), I dismissed him as a total scrub.

  23. Here's the Brewer batting order:

    4 Pedro Garcia
    7 Bob Coluccio
    8 Dave May
    3 George Scott
    5 Don Money
    2 Darrell Porter
    9 Joe Lahoud
    DH Bobby Mitchell
    6 Tim Johnson

    And the Yankees:

    4 Horace Clarke
    7 Roy White
    5 Graig Nettles
    8 Bobby Murcer
    DH Ron Blomberg
    9 Otto Velez
    2 Jerry Moses
    3 Mike Hegan
    6 Gene Michael

    The Milwaukee manager is Del Crandall; New York’s is Ralph Houk.

  24. Well, for Pete's sake, Jim Colborn was the Brewer's All-Star representative a couple of months ago. I had no idea about this guy.

    OK, according to his 1974 baseball card, he was the Pacific Coast League's leader in earned-run average in 1969 (2.28), but he never really took with the major-league Cubs in parts of three seasons up with Chicago. But he was solid (7-7, 3.10) with the Brewers in MLB72, and now the 27-year-old right-handed native of Santa Paula, California, is an All-Star in MLB73. I

    So, there you go. Jim Colborn is just the latest in a whole slew of things that it turns out real 1973 me was really clueless was about.

  25. Some bank is using a Muzak-ish sendup of Simon and Garfunkel's "Homeward Bound" in its commercial, and I am THRILLED (but not surprised) to learn that there's a fair amount of hour and two-hour loops of in-store Muzak-type music from the 1970s and '80s available on YouTube. You know, the more I think about it, I have decided again, The Internet Is Amazing!™

  26. WOW! An inside-the-park home run for Bob Coluccio! I'm sure I saw Rickey Henderson do it at some point, but I don't remember ever hearing or seeing an actual inside-the-park home run.

  27. Bobby Murcer's 20th home run put the home team back ahead in the bottom of the third. And now--with the Yankees ahead, 4-3--Murcer has led off the bottom of the sixth with a ground-rule double ...

  28. Still 4-3, Yankees, through seven as New York goes down on a 3-6-3 double play in the bottom half. Phil Rizzuto, the Yankees' radio play-by-play man, praises Milwaukee's George Scott as "the best fielding first baseman in baseball."

    1. Phil Rizzuto is, of course, well-remembered as the play-by-play man in Meat Loaf's song "Paradise by the Dashboard Light."

  29. After a couple of Brewers reach, the Yankees have moved on to 37-year-old reliever Lindy McDaniel, whom WMCA color guy Frank Messer jokes is so old he probably was on the Ponce de Leon expedition. McDaniel has kept himself in fine shape, and Rizzuto says McDaniel credits situps--"he really likes that exercise because you can do them in a hotel or anywhere."

    Darrell Porter singles off McDaniel, and that scores the Brewer runners from second and third. And then Bobby Mitchell singles, and that scores Porter. It's now 6-4, Brewers, going to the bottom of the eighth.

  30. After a leadoff single to Graig Nettles, Milwaukee manager Del Crandall replaces Jim Colborn with left-handed reliever Chris Short. Short throws four balls, and he's gone, leaving the tying runs on base. Crandall's new reliever will be Eduardo Rodriguez, the only A.L. pitcher this season with a base hit.

    The pitching change give Phil and Frank an opportunity to discuss the first season of the designated hitter in the American League. They are confident the National League, too, will soon adopt the rule, given the success of designated hitters like Minnesota's Tony Oliva, Boston's Orlando Cepeda, Oakland's Deron Johnson, Baltimore's Tommy Davis and New York's own Jim Ray Hart. Phil says he's "almost 100-percent certain" the National League will reform, too, in order to keep hitters like Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Willie McCovey in the game longer. "Of course, if they want to let McCovey come to the American League, we'll let him," Phil says. "I think Willie would like Yankee Stadium."

  31. And then Jim Ray Hart safely bunts on, and the Yankees have bases loaded for Otto Velez, a young outfielder for whom New York made way in getting rid of the Alous. He's three-for-three today, and Phil loves how "that ball really jumps off his bat."

  32. Man, I have no idea how this thing is going to come out, and I'm so excited to find out! SPORTS IS GREAT!

  33. Velez walks! Wait ... what? I somehow got myself confused. Bases were not loaded. Now bases are loaded. And now Thurmon Munson is on to pinch hit.

  34. Munson sends it to the warning track. It's the second out, but that brings Nettles home. It's 6-5.

    AND NOW MIKE HEGAN HOMERS! It's 8-6, New York!

    I'm so happy for Mike Hegan! He was with the A's until about a month ago, and I was so sad for him that he was going to miss the World Series run.

  35. And that's it! Situps Lindy shuts 'em down in the ninth, and the Yankees close it out, 8-6. That was a lot of fun. Thank you, all!

  36. The October 1973 SPORT is out, and its cover is a creative piece of graphic design. The main headline is, “Knockdown Time, Baseball’s Pennant Scramble.” And then there’s a tower of wooden pins, each representing a different team in the scramble. The pinnacle pin is a big question mark. The next two-pin level down are the Yankees (as represented by Ron Blomberg, “A Nice Georgia Cracker” says SPORT) and the Royals (John Mayberry, “Ought To Be A Chauffeur He Drives So Many Men Home”). Then there’s a base level of three pins: the Reds (Pete Rose), Cubs (Ferguson Jenkins) and A’s (Ken Holtzman “Has A Problem: He Likes Living In Oakland”).

  37. The September Baseball Digest also had Ken Holtzman on the cover: “The Oakland A’s … Whatever Happend To The Mustache Gang?” (Also, “Bobby Murcer: ‘My Goal Is The World Series.’”)

  38. In fact, the Mustache Gang is in first place. Here’s the A.L. West as of the morning of Sept. 14, 1973:

    A’s 84-61
    Royals, 4.5 games back
    White Sox, 12.5
    Twins, 13.5
    Angels, 16
    Rangers, 32.5

  39. When we last looked at the N.L. East, the Cardinals were the only team in the division over .500, and they held a three-game lead over both the Expos and Pirates, who had suddenly fired their manager after three straight losses to St. Louis. Here's how the AP reported Pittsburgh's replacement of Bill Virdon with Danny Murtaugh:

    The announcement was made in a hastily called news conference at Three Rivers Stadium by Joe L. Brown, general manager of the National League club, which has been plagued by malady and misfortune ever since star right-fielder Roberto Clemente was killed in an air-plane crash off Puerto Rico Dec. 31, 1972.

    Brown said Murtaugh, 56, an affable, cigar-chewing Irishman, would remain as manager at least through 1974.

    Brown refused to discuss reasons for the shuttle, but said the announcement was his “most difficult … in my 35 years of baseball.”

    Virdon, 42, who had succeeded Murtaugh as manager after the Pirates’ 1971 World Series victory over Baltimore, said he had no immediate plans beyond a vacation. …

    Brown’s announcement was made as the team, after a day off, was preparing to leave for Philadelphia, where they begin a weekend series against the Phillies Friday. … The team knew something was wrong, sources added, when Virdon’s gear was removed at the last minute from a truck that was to carry club equipment to the airport.

  40. Here’s, then, how the past week in the N.L. East unfolded in the sports pages of the Paducah Sun-Democrat:

    — Saturday, Sept. 8, “Williams Rips Five Hits In Cub Win” (over the visiting Cardinals); “Six-Run Ninth Frame Lifts Bucs Over Phils,” and (Mets') “Matlack Blanks Montreal, 1-0”

    — Sunday, Sept. 9, “Lockman Declares Cubs Back In Race After Second Victory Over Cardinals;” “Pirates Scramble Past Phils, 5-3,” and “Expos Top Mets, 3-1”

    — Monday, Sept. 10, “Cards Drop Third Straight To Cubs; Pirates Blow Six-Run Lead In Philly” (also, Mets 3-0 over Montreal)

    — Tuesday, Sept. 11, “Bucs Collect 21 Hits In 11-3 Win (over Cubs); “Hunt Lost To Expos For Year”

    — Wednesday, Sept. 12, (Expos’) “Renko, Marshall Combine For Six-Hit Win Over Cards,” “Phils Blast Four Home Runs To Overpower New York, 6-4,” and “Cubs’ Burt Hooten Baffles Bucs, 2-0”

    — Thursday, Sept. 13, “Cards Drop Out Of First Place” (with 2-1 loss in St. Louis to the Expos); “Bucs Topple Cubs, Reach .500 Mark,” and “Mets Edge Phils, 3-2”

    — Friday, Sept. 14, “Bucs Boost Lead To One Full Game” (with 6-1 win at Chicago); (Mets’) Garrett’s Pinch Hit Dumps Phils;” “Willie Mays Returns To Mets,” and “Schoendienst Hopes Dormant Redbird Attack Can Come To Life This Weekend"

  41. That brings us to the following N.L. East standings this morning of Sept. 14, 1973:

    Pirates 72-71
    Cardinals, 1
    Expos, 1.5
    Mets, 2.5
    Cubs, 4
    Phillies 8.5

  42. And ...

    A.L. East
    Orioles 86-59
    Red Sox, 7
    Tigers, 9.5
    Yankees, 14
    Brewers, 17
    Indians, 23.5

    N.L. West
    Reds 89-57
    Dodgers, 4.5
    Giants, 7.5
    Astros, 16
    Braves, 18
    Padres, 35.5

  43. 2019 me notes one more Sept. 8 Sun-Democrat headline that ultimately will offer all of the heart-breaking 1973 Cardinals fans solace:

    Herzog Is
    By Rangers