Fans, players left reeling from Game 4

October 22, 1993|By Scott Ostler | Scott Ostler,San Francisco Chronicle

PHILADELPHIA -- The weather report called for foggy drizzle, not to be confused with the old Phillies shortstop of the same name.

Foggy drizzle it was for Game 4, perfect weather for orchids and werewolves and an interesting little World Series game.

What happened? Pal, entire college courses will be devoted to the study of this particular baseball game.

Friday's lecture: Mitch Williams -- eccentric genius or wild-armed doofus?

The score was Blue Jays 15, Phillies 14, and by the time the Phillies came up for their last hacks, well after midnight, nobody would have been surprised if Babe Ruth had popped out of the dugout to pinch-hit for Mariano Duncan.

The foggy drizzle never stopped, sometimes increasing to what looked suspiciously like skimpy showers. It was so wet that John Kruk had to run his beard through a wringer every inning.

But the weather only added to the atmosphere. At times you weren't sure if you were watching a ballgame or "Wuthering Heights." I'm not sure, but I think Heathcliff pinch-hit for Williams in the eighth.

Lightning bolts and snow flurries would have been a nice touch, but you can't have everything.

What you got was a steady torrent of runs, hits, thrills, pitching bloopers and a lifetime of crazy memories, jumbled like unsorted snapshots in the bottom drawer.

By the end of the first inning, we already had 16 batters, seven runs, six walks, two of them RBI walks, a double, a triple and the feeling that you were not in Kansas any more.

Phillies starter Tommy Greene, who didn't make it through the third inning, was credited for 11 base runners.

Jays starter Todd Stottlemyre walked everyone but Phillies third-base coach Larry Bowa, but it took Cito Gaston six runs in two innings to decide that Todd wasn't featuring his "A" stuff.

Although, to give him his due, Stottlemyre did do a good job holding his runners, allowing only one of the six to steal a base.

It was such a completely weird scene. Nothing made sense. By the bottom of the ninth, thousands of Phillies fans had left the ballpark, or been beamed up by UFOs. The legendarily knowledgeable fans were actually bailing out on their beloved Phillies, down 15-14 with the big meat coming to bat.

Some fans had to get up early to go to school the next day, you say? Hey, if they're so knowledgeable, why do they need school?

"Phillie mutants" is what Williams calls the local fans, affectionately, but you wouldn't want to hear what the Mutants are calling Wild Thing today.

Midnight Mitch came into the game in the eighth inning with the Phillies leading 14-10, runners on second and third and one out.

As teammates buried their heads in towels, Wild Thing gave up a run-scoring single to Tony (Five RBI) Fernandez, a walk to Pat Borders to load the bases, struck out pinch-hitter Ed Sprague, then allowed a two-run single to Rickey Henderson and a two-run triple to Devon White.

This is as wild as a Wild Thing can get, and by the time he staggered to the dugout, the Phils were down 15-14.

Henderson, by the way, is back. After two hits and two runs in Game 3, Rickey checked in Wednesday night with a double, two-run single, walk, stolen base and a shot at that zillion-dollar contract he's looking for next year.

He has, by the way, led off every Series game so far by getting on base.

I'm still not sure, but I think Rickey even eclipsed Lenny Dykstra Wednesday night. All Dykstra did was hit two two-run (no, I wasn't stuttering) home runs, and a double and scored four runs.

But lovable Lenny grounded out to open the seventh and struck out to close out the eighth, and he had what has to be the greatest bad night in World Series history.

Until the Blue Jays checked in with their six-run eighth inning, the thinking was that if anyone was going to get the Series Most Valuable Player trophy away from Dykstra, they would have to wrestle him to the ground and pry it out of his hands with a crowbar.

Now? Who knows?

While they kept playing more World Series here, at least one more game, it's hard to see how they could top this one.

The Jays have momentum and a 3-1 Series lead, and they have the Phillies stunned and their fans fleeing the building.

If it's any consolation to the Phillies, they put more points on the scoreboard Wednesday night than the Eagles have over the last three games.

The weather forecast for last night, by the way, was for clear skies, which will be good news to CBS, because the network feared a rain-out that would push Game 5 to today and interfere with the season premiere of "The Spotty Drizzle Show," and you hate to see that.

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