WILD CARDS PLENTIFUL IN LOW-STAKES
By Bob Broeg
Post-Dispatch Sports Editor
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"First Spring Training Game"
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., March 9- If it were show business instead of baseball, they would
have opened and closed in two.
For small birds of an athletic feather, the Cardinals laid a large egg yesterday in a
televised game that had a football score and was so onesided that one press-box quipped,
"I’d rather watch filmed highlights of the Pittsburgh Steelers’
Six runs down after the first inning and 11 behind after the second, the birds were
bombed, 17-7, by the New York Mets, who looked like the New York Yankees of yesteryear.
And it must have been pretty hard on radio and TV to get much enthusiasm into the
commercials urging the fans to hurry out and buy the single-game tickets now on sale.
It was, of course, only one game and one that doesn’t count, but it’s not
only hard to find something nice to say after that kind of rout, it would be silly to try.
The wisest man in town was Gussie Busch, the big boss of the birds. Busch, smoking
under the collar a bit because of the delay of Richie Allen and Steve Carlton in
reporting, came back from a cruise, checked in at Al Lang Field and, showing why he is the
master at Grant’s Farm and the big eagle down on Pestalozzi, shrewdly left- before
What he avoided watching was a 20-hit assault by the Mets on Nelson Briles and three of
four pitching replacements for a total of 38 bases.
Briles, choosing to spurn his breaking stuff the first time out, stuck with a fast ball
that was too slow and too high coming in, but mighty quick going out. The 15-game winner
of 1969 was tagged for 10 hits and nine runs while pitching one inning and to three
batters in the second.
Included among the hits off Briles were a three-run homer by Ron Swoboda and a two run
blast by Teddy Martinez. If you’d never heard of Martinez before, don’t feel
uninformed. He’s a Dominican shortstop up from Memphis, where he hit all of three
home runs in 118 games last season.
Heck, like big boy Swoboda, Martinez homered twice yesterday, getting a grand slam off
Chuck Taylor for a total of six runs batted in to five for the muscular right fielder who
was a World Series hero last fall.
The game had more Taylors than Hart, Schaffner and Marx. Chuck Taylor was clobbered for
the Cards and Ron, Who used to pitch for the Birds, gave up five hits and two runs in
three innings as he relieved another ex-Cardinal, Ray Sadecki.
Sadecki followed Tom Seaver, the National League’s Cy Young winner and most
Even the Cardinals participated briskly with 15 blows, of which four were doubles and
three were triples, for 25 total bases. Lefthanded-hitting Leron Lee, a sixth-inning
replacement, slugged a triple and a double.
Then there was the third Taylor. At one point the Cardinals had a battery of C. Taylor
and C. Taylor.
Whether Carl Taylor can catch well enough to backstop Joe Torre will have to wait
further tests – "He has been out from behind the bat too long," said
manager Red Schoendienst, about Carl – but there’s no doubt that the
hard-hitting Taylor will be in there somewhere. He ripped two singles and a triple in four
If it had been show business and, as mentioned, the Cardinals had opened and closed in
two, at least Carl Taylor could have consoled himself with good reviews.