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July 13, 1978 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1978-07-13

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Pressing the Issue
BOB MILLER
All-Star questons . .
can AL answer?
W HY? Any self-respecting American League fan has to be asking that
question after the National League got serious and stopped toying
with the junior circuit men en route to a 7-3 victory in the 1978 All-Star game.
How? What was the reason the American League dropped its guard and
blew a 3-0 lead?
And most important, when? When is the American League going to stop
fooling around and start playing baseball in the midsummer classic turned
mid-season catastrophe?
The answers to those questions are easy to obtain. Easy, that is, except
for the manager and players in the American League.
It can't be a matter of apathy. The AL players themselves must be won-
dering what they must do to win the All-Star game. And don't blame it on bad
luck. Luck alone, in any form, didn't help the NL 15 times in the last 16 years.
The problem is actually two-fold. First, the National League has done a
far superior job using its available players, and second, the players them-
selves detract from the original meaning of the game when they decline to
show up, or make ridiculous demands on the managers.
Martin covered all angles
For example, in the 1977 All-Star game, Billy Martin decided to send
Thurman Munson up to pinch hit in the ninth inning with the game still not
out of reach at 7-5. Martin used his own catcher, a right-handed batter again-
st a right-handed pitcher, even though Detroit's Jason Thompson was
available.
Since the game was played right at Yankee Stadium, Martin couldn't go
wrong. If Munson came through, Martin would have been a hero. If Munson
failed ... at least he was playing in front of the home town fans. Munson
failed and the AL lost.
Then again, on Tuesday, Rod Carew wanted to play all nine innings at
first base. Fortunately, Carew relented from his selfish demand and Thom-
pson finally did get a plate appearance.
In the meantime, the National League was substituting right and left,
but not without meaning to the switches.
During the 1977 season, the American League dominated the National
League in all the hitting, pitching and fielding stats. The American League
also defeated the NL in the World Series.
And if you want to get picky, the AL won the season series vs. the senior
circuit during Grapefruit and Cactus League games. The AL topped the NL
in everything - except the All-Star game.
Again this year, although the domination is less pronounced, the AL has
the statistical advantages. But unless the fans vote for the stats to decide the
All-Star game, then any claim by the AL to be as good or better than the NL
are unfounded and untrue.
The ad fact is that the National League has out-psyched the AL, a con-
dition which has perpetuated by the latter's long losing streak.
The NL began its run in 1962. After putting together a mild five-game
winning streak, the NL began to snakebite the AL in 1967.
AL plays patsy
Cincinnati's Tony Perez's home run in the 15th inning gave the NL a tor-
turous 2-1 win. The AL blew its chance to win the game in regulation nine in-
nings. Another extra inning affair came in 1970 when Pete Rose's famous
slide into home toppled Cleveland's Ray Fosse and the American League 5-4.
In that game, Oakland's Catfish Hunter botched a 4-1 lead in the ninth
inning as he tossed a gopher pitch to San Francisco's Dick Ditz.
Two years later in Atlanta, the Indian's Gaylord Perry flubbed a one run
lead, allowed the NL to catch up and finally succumbed 4-3 in ten innings.
Time and again the story was the same - some AL hurler choked and
some opportune National League hitter was waiting to grab some glory.
So, the AL wised up and managers started choosing relief specialists in
case they were needed.
Nothing the AL did worked to stem the tide. Even an executive order by
league president Lee MacPhail to win at all costs failed miserably a couple
of years ago.
But out of all this misery, there is a faint glimmer of hope for the junior
circuit. It isn't so farfetched to believe that with a couple of minor adjust-
ments the AL couldn't regain much of its lost pride.
First, any AL player who is chosen to start and begs off shouldn't be
allowed to participate in the following year's All-Star game. Secondly, any
player that doesn't want to play in the game if selected should not receive
any of the pension benefits for which that game is played, and lastly, it
should be mandatory for the managers to use all the active players on the
roster with the only exception being pitchers.
When the American League players start taking the game as serious as
any major league competition they are involved in, then if and when they
lose, it will be because they were beaten by a better team.

TheMichigan Daily-Thursday, July 13, 1978-Page 11
SPORTS OF THE DAILY
Unknown fires a 68
to lead British Open

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland - Some
late putting heroics enabled Isao Aoki
to avoid the disasters that struck down
the American stars and staked the
Japanese veteran to a one-stroke lead
yesterday in the first round of the 107th
British Open Golf Championship.
"I was concentrating so hard I got a
headache," the 35-year-old Aoki said
through an interpreter after he'd com-
pleted his 4-under-par 68.
"Yeah, well, the Orientals are into
that kind of thing," observed Tom
Weiskopf. "I'm not intellectual enough
for that. The only thing that gives me
headaches are double bogeys."
AND HE MADE one of those, a 6 on
the treacherous 17th, thus becoming the
major victim of the famed "Road Hole"
on the historic Old Course at St. An-
drews, the birthplace and cradle of golf.
That double bogey knocked Weiskopf
out of sole possession of the lead and
sent him stumbling back into a tie for
second at 69 with Ray Floyd and a
couple of former British Open runners-
up, Australian Jack Newton and
Spain's 21-year-old Severiano
Ballesteros.
"The wind kicked up just about the
time we started," said Jack Nicklaus,
who shot a one-under 71 in a chilly,
blustery afternoon wind. The morning
starters - including Aoki and most of
the other leaders - had almost ideal
conditions, mild temperatures, over-
cast skies and practically no wind.
"THE FELLOWS who got out early were
pretty fortunate," Nicklaus said. "The
golf course was considerably tougher
this afternoon."
Asked for his assessment of Aoki,
winner of 22 Japanese professional
tournaments including three this year,
Nicklaus replied: "He's a good player.
I've played with him several times."

Then he paused and allowed himself a
smile.
"I DON'T KNOW how good a wind
player he is. But we'll sure find out."
Ben Crenshaw and Mark Hayes top-
ped a group at 70, two under par.
Arnold Palmer, the legendary 48-
year-old who helped re-establish the
British Open as one of the world's big
four titles with his victories in 1961 and
1962, dropped a five-foot birdie putt on
the final hole that left him very much in
contention.
KSU names AD
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - Kansas
State University's beleaguered athletic
program got a new director yesterday,
along with his promise the university
would remain a part of the Big Eight
Conference.
"Kansas State today is in the Big
Eight and in the Big Eight for god,"
said DeLoss Dodds, who was head track
coach at the school 14 years before
becoming assistant commissioner of
the Big Eight.
DODDS, 41, replaces John "Jersey"
Jermier, who resigned May 21, just
three days before the Big Eight
penalized the university for awarding
excessive football scholarships.
Dodds was adamant about rumors
that the Wildcats would be dropped
from the Big Eight in favor of Arkan-
sas.
"The only problem I would foresee
would be for them to consider putting us
out in the fpture for being too strong,"
he responded.
The former Wildcat track star told
newsmen he felt current penalties the
university is facing could be overcome
through extensive fund-raising ac-
tivities and ticket sales prograrps.

Blues' diehard retires
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Veteran St. Louis center and former Michigan star Red
Berenson, who in 1962 became the first collegiate star to jump straight to the
National Hockey League, announed his retirement yesterday in order to become a
Blues' assistant coach.
Berenson, who performed for four NHL teams, will join long-time playing
associate Barclay Plager behind the St. Louis bench.
"I felt that they couldn't build a hockey team aroudn 39-year-old players," said
Berenson, who will reach that age December 8. "I'm looking forward to starting
with, I guess, what they call a 9-to-5 job."
First signed by Montreal, Berenson played parts of five seasons for the
Canadiens and was later traded to the New York Rangers, for whom he played 49
games in 1966-67.
He became the NHL's first expansion superstar when traded to the Blues along
with Plager in November, 1967, and steered St. Louis to three straight advances in-
to the finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Berenson was later traded by the Blues along with right winger Tim Ec-
clestone to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for current Blues' star Garry Unger
and Wayne Connelly in 1971. He returned to St. Louis 3 years later via another
trade.
Among 261 goals he scored in 987 NHL games was a record-tying production of
six against the Philadelphia Flyers on Nov. 7, 1968. He marked his 500th game as a
member of the Blues last February by scoring three goals for the fifth time in his
career.
While at Michigan, Berenson was ned to the All-American team twice, in
1961 and 1962. He shares the goals per -son record with Dave Debol (43), and is,
13th on Michigan's all-time scoring list.
Berenson served as a St. Louis playing assistant in 1976-77 and was the Blues'
captain this past year, the final 26 games with Plager as the team's coach.
"I don't think that you could find a more dedicated, more determined hockey
player," said St. Louis President Emile Francis in announcing Berenson's
retirement at a news luncheon. "He's the type of fellow that when he takes off his
skates you wantto brng into.the other end of the business. There's,4efinitely a
need for an assistant coach in hockey."

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