Fantasyland, USA — Dear Boss: You know I never ask for anything! Well, maybe a little expense money once in a while, and a couple of days off twice a year.
But if you make me write this ridiculous story about the Milwaukee Brewers winning their first nine games this season, including a no-hitter by 22-year-old lefthander Juan Nieves against the Orioles in Baltimore, nobody is going to believe it.
I mean, we're talking about a team that hasn't been anywhere near the top lately. Milwaukee finished in the cellar in 1984 and just barely out of it the last two seasons. Do I have to remind you that this was a club that lost 45 games on the road last year and barely played .500 ball at home?
Everybody knows the Brewers have a few good players like Robin Yount and Paul Molitor, but it takes more than that to win nine games in a row. Who is going to believe, for example, that Rob Deer and Dale Sveum are both hitting over .400? Deer is a pretty good power hitter, but his batting average last year was .232 - and Sveum's wasn't much higher.
And this guy Nieves! As a rookie last year he lost eight games in a row at one point, and he wound up 11-12 with with a 4.92 earned-run-average. Juan says he likes to go to the beach on his day off, and everybody knows real ballplayers go to bowling alleys. You know as well as I do that there is only one major league pitcher on the Brewers, and that's Ted Higuera, who is the American League's Fernando Valenzuela.
I also hate to bring this up, but did you hear what Nieves said after his no-hitter? He said he did it for his teammates, and that he didn't even think about the no-hitter until late in the game. He also said his fastball was mediocre and his slider was awful.
In a spot like this, Bo Belinsky wouldn't have even done an interview on TV without having Mamie Van Doren right next to him so he could ask her advice.
Another thing, I don't think anybody is going to buy that part about the Brewers' new manager - some guy named Tom Trebelhorn. He's wallpaper.
I ask you now, who is going to hire an unknown with a social science degree who works as a substitute teacher in the off season, or a former minor league catcher who never threw a ball in the majors? Hey, Billy Martin is still around, you know.
You want me to write about the Stepford Wives buying the Seattle Mariners, I can do 800 words on that in less time that it takes Tommy Lasorda to eat a full Italian meal garnished with egg rolls! But the first-place Milwaukee Brewers? You've got to be kidding. I do that and the Baseball Writers' Association is sure to take away my card.