The Phillie players were making a ruckus most of last night at the hotel, but it was easy for me to nod off after all the bat and club house work I was doing. Any kid who tells you being a batboy is the most fun job in the world doesn't know what he's talking about.
There's only one game today and tomorrow so I should get through those no sweat, and then we have a day off to take the train down to New York and play the Giants starting with a big July 4th double-header. Before heading over to the field this morning I sent Rachel a telegram and told her to meet me behind the Phillies' dugout at the Polo Grounds and didn't say a word about my new job. She'll probably be over the moon about it.
Johnny Couch was facing Jesse Barnes today, and because I was able to finish my bat setups earlier this time, I had a chance to learn a few things about what players do before a game. Namely, they play cards, cuss at each other a lot and look at girlie magazines. Heinie Sand, who it turns out is a nice guy from San Francisco and is just a little taller than me, told me that most every club in baseball keeps a stack of swimsuit magazines and cheap detective tales around, thinking the players will get satisfied with them and not want to go out carousing for girls after the games. As I watched Hod Ford poke through a copy of Detective Classics with an almost-naked girl on the front, it seemed to me it just made the players want to hit the town even more.
The other thing that happens is nobody talks to the starting pitcher. Unless you're the manager or coach, you have to treat him like he isn't even there. I made the mistake of looking at Couch's face today when I handed him his polished shoes and I thought he was going to murder me.
The good thing is that my look didn't wreck his performance today one bit. For the first five innings all he did was give the Braves two singles. The problem was that Barnes was throwing just as good, even though he'd lost ten straight times after winning his first three of the year.
Sand, Harper and Holke then singled in a row in the top of the 6th to puts ahead 1-0. I was running bats around with Cy up at the plate and I missed the pitch he whiffed on. Wrightstone popped out to end the inning, but in the last of the 7th Couch got tired real fast. Bill Cunningham tripled to their canyon of a center field, Frank Gibson doubled and after a Wilson single, Cotton Tierney hit a sacrifice pop fly that put them ahead.
The dugout mood got dark and crabby then. Cusses were aimed at the ground or sky instead of at other players. Harper came up to me in the 8th and said "Rub my bat, kid." I said "Aren't I supposed to lose it again?" and he said "Rub it and if I get another hit you're in the H.G.F." I asked him what that was, but he didn't answer. Sand singled again to start the inning and Harper went to the plate. Where he singled! Holke followed with a loud double and we were tied up 2-2! Sand came in the dugout after scoring so I asked him what H.G.F. was but he went right past me like I suddenly had a disease.
Couch pitched a scoreless 8th, but Cunningham started the Boston 9th with his second straight triple off him. The small crowd was going crazy. Fletcher waved the infield in close but it didn't matter. Gibson skied a ball out to Cy, but his throws was late and weak and the winning Braves run scored.
I was afraid to look at anyone in the club house after. Harper talked a bluer streak than I ever thought was possible and threw his roast beef sandwich across the room. "We should NEVER lose to these rubes!" he screamed. I went back to that hamburger joint by myself because Grover had gone back to Philadelphia to retire, but when I opened my hotel room door later there was a note on the floor:
H.G.F. 10 p.m. RM 609.
Naturally I was up there five minutes early and knocked. There was some low whispering inside, and then Russ Wrightstone opened the door. The room had so much cigar smoke I could barely see who else was there, but it was Harper, Holke and a weasel-looking bench guy who almost never plays named Andy Woehr. They all had big Cuban cigars, glasses of light brown stuff that looked like whiskey, and two young girls dressed in underthings were sitting on the bed painting each other's nails.
"Welcome to the Havana Grit Faction," said Wrightstone, and yanked me inside. It was him and Harper's secret society that Fletcher didn't even know about, and to get into it you needed a special invitation. Harper said I belonged because I'd brought him nothing but good lumber luck on my first two days on the job. So in the next hour I smoked my first cigar (which I'm still coughing over as I write this), drank my first Canadian whiskey from Wrightstone's private jug, and learned that Holke liked to be called "incredible" whenever he got a big hit. I thought that was kind of dumb, calling a guy The Incredible Holke when he was only hitting around .300, but if I was going to stay in this faction I had to play along.
I also learned how to paint a girl's toenail, but I'll keep that one under my hat and use it on Rachel. Good night, reader-people!
PHL 000 010 200 - 3 8 2
BOS 001 300 00x - 4 9 1
Other National League games today:
ROBINS 9-13-0, at GIANTS 4-10-1
It's Bill Doak's turn to make the Giants' lineup look like minor leaguers. After they score three runs off him in the last of thr 1st they get hypnotized the rest of the game and never put two hits together. Meantime Bentley gives Brooklyn five runs in the 2nd, finished by a 3-run Bernie Neis homer, and the Robins add on the scoring from there and jump over New York in the standings again.
REDS 10-18-1, at CUBS 5-7-1
Vic Keen is a mystery. The Cubs pitcher has a ton of talent but seems to get destroyed almost every time he pitches. Cincy does it today with four doubles, a triple and homers from Bressler and Roush. Carl Mays recovers from Gabby and Grimes homers to get his ninth win.
PIRATES 7-9-3, at CARDINALS 5-14-2
Buc manager Bill McKechnie could shuffle his starting lineup players like a deck of cards, have his batters hold their bats upside down and still beat anybody. Shortstop Glenn Wright has made about ten errors in less than a week (three more here) and Pittsburgh has still won every game. Kremer is completely horrible, giving the Cards 14 hits, but St. Loo strands 13 runners and help extend the Pirate win streak to seven.
|NATIONAL LEAGUE through Tuesday, July 1|
|New York Giants||40||32||.556||9.5|
|St. Louis Cardinals||37||35||.514||12.5|