Virgil Torments His Father in Phillies’ Victory Over Padres
Ozzie Virgil Sr. was quite tranquil there at his locker, his glasses pulled over his eyes so he could read a stat sheet. Abruptly, he was interrupted by microphones and notepads, not because he’d done anything special, but because he reared a son who had.
It was all very strange to him. He wanted to be happy, yet felt very sad. Ozzie Virgil Jr. had beaten the Padres on Monday night, homering twice in a 3-2 Philadelphia victory. Had the Padres won, it wouldn’t have mattered and might have been great.
But Ozzie Virgil Sr. works for the Padres as their third-base coach, and he tells Padre pitchers how to throw to his son.
“Keep the ball in on him,” he says.
But that did not work Monday night.
So this means Ozzie Virgil Sr. lost, strange because he should feel as if he won. He does not understand this predicament.
“It’s not fun when you get beat by him,” Ozzie Sr. said. “It’s tough on me . . . You always like for him to do well, and it’s a thrill very few of us accomplish, getting to see your son play. It’s just tough on me, especially when I can’t do anything about it.
“I guess it’s a feeling that anyone in my shoes knows.”
Strangely, this predicament affected others differently. Back in the Phillie clubhouse, Ozzie Virgil Jr., just back from a Padre postgame show, wandered inside smiling.
In the past, Ozzie Jr. would try too hard in front of his dad, trying to impress him, trying to be like him. This was obviously detrimental.
“When we go between the lines against each other . . . it’s a war,” Ozzie Jr. said. “Before, I’d try to go up and try to do a little too much . . . That’s what gets me in trouble. Once I became a big leaguer, I got over the hump and could play more relaxed.”
Ozzie Jr. has eight homers and is a rising star, perhaps. He got his chance last season when Bo Diaz was injured, and he ended up hitting 14 home runs after the All-Star break, a sign that a good future possibly existed.
But this baseball is a silly business, and the Phillies actually drafted a catcher in the first round of the free agent draft on Monday. His name is Roy McCall, a high school player from Abingdon, Va., who is 17 and who hit .529 this season, along with nine homers.
Someone told Ozzie about this Monday morning, but he was hardly concerned, saying later: “I have confidence in myself, and that’s all that matters.”
Padre starter Dave Dravecky had confidence, too, considering he had come into this game having won his last four decisions. Virgil’s first homer, with no one on, came in the second inning on a 3-2 pitch, and then Rick Schu led off the fourth with a grounder to Garry Templeton, who made an error when he couldn’t get the ball out of his glove cleanly.
With two outs then, Virgil homered again.
So Dravecky yielded only one earned run, but lost.
Not that the Padres didn’t have chances. Graig Nettles and Carmelo Martinez scored in the fourth (Templeton’s double scored Martinez) to make it a one-run game.
Then, in the eighth, Tony Gwynn doubled off Phillie starter Kevin Gross, and Kent Tekulve was summoned from the bullpen. He got Steve Garvey to ground out on a sinker. He walked Nettles (“I pretty much pitched around him,” Tekulve said), then he got Kevin McReynolds to pop out to the shortstop, Steve Jeltz.
In the ninth, it went 1-2-3. Mike Schmidt, the Phillies’ new first baseman, made a nice stop of a Templeton grounder to end the game.
The Padres’ runs actually came this way: Nettles, in that fourth inning, lined a ball to right field that Glenn Wilson genuinely felt he had a chance to catch. The ball, however, bounced just inches in front of him, bounded past him and rolled to the fence. Nettles chugged his way to third, courtesy of what was ruled a two-base error.
McReynolds, up next, grounded to third baseman Schu, who froze Nettles, but not well enough. While Schu threw to first for the out, Nettles scored, sliding in safely before Schmidt’s throw to the plate.
With two outs in that same inning, Martinez singled, and Templeton followed with a double down the right-field line. Martinez scored before Templeton was thrown out going for a triple.
Of course, the tag at third was made by Schu, who replaced Schmidt as the starting third baseman about a week ago.
And according to Phillie Manager John Felske, the move has turned out to be delightful. Schu had been tried as a shortstop in Triple-A, but the consensus there was that he was a better third baseman. And he looked it Monday night, catching a line drive and showing a terribly strong arm, too.
As for Schmidt, he has had his problems, but it’s only when it comes to movement. For instance, Felske said Schmidt isn’t used to the spin on popups. The ball drifts a different way than when it’s hit toward third. Also, Schmidt has never had to move very far laterally to his right, mainly because there isn’t much room in that direction at third base.
Carmelo Martinez was named National League Player of the Week on Monday, yet he said he is not overly thrilled. “It feels good, but as I’ve said, I have no goals. I don’t care what I hit, as long as we win. It’s not like I don’t care, but I don’t want it to go to my head.” . . . The Padres had a merry, merry month of May. Not only was their record 17-8, but pitcher Andy Hawkins was 6-0 with a 2.72 ERA, pitcher Dave Dravecky was 4-0 with a 2.19 ERA, catcher Terry Kennedy hit .321 with 22 RBIs and Steve Garvey hit .321 with 4 homers and 10 RBIs.