In lieu of actual baseball, I’ll be posting snippets that were cut from The Baseball Codes as a way of amusing myself and, hopefully, you. Today’s theme: Part 2 of what and what not to do when your team holds a big lead late in the game.
Ron Gardenhire: “I remember we were in Triple-A, the Tidewater Tides, playing against the Columbus Clippers for the International League championship. We were leading about 11-2 in the third or fourth inning. Davey Johnson was our manager. Columbus had one of those ball parks where runs are just scored, like Wrigley Field with the wind blowing out.
“I’m up to the plate. Gil Flores is on first, and Davey gives him the steal sign. We wanted to keep playing, because it’s not like the eighth inning in a blowout. We know runs are going to be scored.
“So Gil steals, and on the very next pitch I get drilled right in the head. They felt we should not be running up by more than six. He steals, I get drilled. They thought they were getting killed early on and we should not be running, and Davey Johnson thought it had a long way to go. I took a whack on the head because of it. It was Mets-Yankees—Triple-A, not the big leagues—but the organizational stuff might apply a little.
“There were fights everywhere on the field. Davey was fighting with Johnny Oates—even the managers were hooking. I got knocked out, and when I woke up there were brawls going on everywhere. It was quite entertaining.”