BOSTON — Aha! I know what’s going on here. Not long after Saturday’s game — when Fenway Park had emptied and the Red Sox had clobbered the Tigers for their 24th straight home victory — I heard the telltale clue.
“We did it again,” the leprechauns chuckled from somewhere inside the stadium, maybe behind the right field bleachers. “We still got it. Heh-heh.”
Here is the big secret. Here is the story behind this incredible Red Sox win streak. The ghosts from Boston Garden, who usually spin their magic for their beloved Boston Celtics, have moved across town and taken a summer job: They have stopped with the lay-up and the free throws; they have started with the RBI.
“One home run for Dewey Evans” they said Saturday from somewhere, maybe behind the Red Sox bullpen. “And one for Mike Greenwell and . . . oh, what the heck? Another one for Dewey.”
They are scooping out the magic like ladles full of soup. How else do you explain it? These same Red Sox, who were more of a flop on the road than the Tiny Tim Show, are once again giant killers back in Fenway. They scored more runs in Saturday’s 16-4 rout than they scored in five games in Detroit last weekend.
Last weekend, Doyle Alexander stymied them. This time: Goodby, Doyle. Last weekend, Jeff Robinson held them scoreless for nine innings. This time: Goodby, Jeff.
“And a double for Rich Gedman, and a triple for Dewey and . . . what the heck. Another double for Gedman. That’ll be fun.”
What did that little girl say in “Poltergeist II?”
They’re baaack. Would it ever end?
What a pain for Detroit fans. Did you watch Saturday’s game? Did you see that eighth inning? Seven runs on what? A million hits? The Red Sox batted around and began batting around again. The Tigers used Don Heinkel and Paul Gibson and Mike Henneman and the runs would not stop. Long? It was long. NBC was worried about pre-empting “Saturday Night Live.” And this was a day game.
“And a double for Greenwell and a triple for Dewey,” the ghosts giggled from somewhere, maybe in the nets above the left field wall. “And, let’s see. A double for Spike Owen. There’s something different.”
A double for Spike Owen? Twelve total bases for Evans? Todd Benzinger. What about Todd Benzinger? The guy struck out four times and reached base twice anyhow — on wild pitch third strikes. Since when does that happen? Unless . . . well, you know.
“We were hitting the ball like I couldn’t believe it,” admitted Boston manager Joe Morgan. “We got it into the alleys time and time again.”
Sure. What do you think? That stuff just happens? In back- to-back games? After a 2-7 road trip? Maybe Morgan hasn’t been around long enough to remember Larry Bird and that pass with five seconds left. Maybe he missed Kevin McHale’s three pointer. Havlicek stole the ball! Does that ring a bell, Joe? Havlicek stole the ball?
The alleys. The net. You name it, Boston put it there. Nineteen hits. Sixteen runs. Evans, who had been 0-for-22 before returning to Fenway, hit his second homer Saturday out of the stadium and onto Lansdowne street. It probably hit the Tigers bus and cracked a window.
This was a little funny, no? This was a little . . . odd? Sixteen runs? With the the Tigers hottest pitcher on the mound? Tom Brookens makes an error? Rich Gedman drives in runs? Spike Owen?
I’m telling you. There are little green fingerprints all over this scorecard.
“Tee-hee,” came the sound from somewhere, maybe the light stands out in center field. “Is this fun, or what?” Maybe it’s summer school
Maybe they got bored. Maybe the Garden is too hot in August. Maybe as punishment for the Celtics defeat they were sent to work the long hot season at Fenway, sort of like a truant kid who has to go to summer school.
Whatever. It’s them. Unless you find it merely coincidental that the Red Sox embarked on this record-setting home win streak in late June — just a few
days after the NBA season ended? Not that I’m superstitious or anything.
“It definitely looks good for us,” said Greenwell (four hits) after the game, which moved Boston within 2 1/2 games of the division-leading Tigers.
“If we keep playing at this level, we’ll be hard to beat.”
“But what about this stadium?” someone asked. “Why are you so different here?”
“I don’t know,” he said, smiling. “If I did I’d bottle it and take it on the road.”
Sure, sure. They can say “I don’t know” all they want. They can credit home cooking and home field and home faces. The folks from Detroit know better. We have seen this before. We have beaten it before. And if we have to endure it again . . . well, so be it.
“Four hits for Dewey, four hits for Greenwell,” they laugh from somewhere, maybe behind the Marlboro sign in right field.
Twenty-four games in a row. The Boston playersshrug. The Boston players smile sheepishly. But they’re notfooling us. We know what’s out there, somewhere, dancing around a fire, singing evil songs. The leprechauns are wearing Red Sox now. They know it. We know it. Something’s got to be done about it.
Ohhhh . . . Isiah?