The All-Star Game was just what the people who built the Metrodome deserved: a boring party with very dull guests. Goose Gossage called the crowd "50,000 mannequins." Said George Brett, "Playing indoors reminds me of when I was a kid and you had to go to your room and you couldn't go outside. It was like you were being punished." ...Sparky Anderson walked Tim Wallach on purpose with two outs in the ninth so that ex-Tiger Glenn Wilson could get an at bat in his first All-Star Game. He struck out against Willie Hernandez on a pitch that was about two feet outside, but he said, "It was fun. I kept looking down at my uniform and looking around at all the great players, and cheering and ragging the other team. And what Sparky did, that just shows you why he's great for baseball." ...Lou Whitaker, whose Tiger uniform never made it to Minnesota, put together a makeshift ensemble, thanks to a visit to a concession stand and donations from his AL teammates. But he played without a jock. Not to worry. Said Whitaker, "I have good hands." ...While Joaquin Andujar stayed home sulking, Pedro Guerrero, a friend, showed up, even though he couldn't play because of a sprained back. "It's a great honor to be here," said Guerrero. "I don't know what Joaquin's thinking. We're two different people." ...Oil Can Boyd, who desperately wanted to be in the game, didn't bother to watch on TV. Said the Red Sox' pitcher, "This is the last All-Star Game I'll miss."
Neil Allen thinks his problems are going to be solved now that he has been traded—for next to nothing—to the Yankees. Doesn't he know how ruthlessly Billy Martin handles his pitchers? Doesn't he know that George Steinbrenner eats insecure players for breakfast? Allen, 1-4 with two saves and a 5.59 ERA, begged to be traded because he couldn't handle the pressure of succeeding Bruce Sutter in the St. Louis pen.
"I went in with a bad attitude," says Allen, who was dealt to the Cards in 1983 for Keith Hernandez. "I was going to make them forget Hernandez. Then I was going to make them forget Sutter. As it turned out, the only one whom people there want to forget is Neil Allen."
Rod Carew insists that hit No. 3,000 will be a bunt. "I've always been known for my ability to bunt," says Carew, perhaps the best bunter of the last 20 years, "and that will be only fitting." ...Pity the poor Indians. They are last in the majors in attendance (419,857 in 46 dates), and their record for the 10 dates (including one doubleheader) on which they've drawn more than 10,000 fans is 1-10.... The White Sox, who look great one week and terrible the next, had to put Bob James, their bullpen ace and only reliable short man, on the disabled list with a bruised knee. They just might be out of the division race by the time he returns.
When the Padres returned to work Thursday after the break, they had a rare team meeting. It began when Dick Williams asked a question and then answered it: "Do you know what today is? It's 18 games before the strike." With the players set to strike Aug. 6, Williams wants to go all out to make sure the Padres are in first place if there is a stoppage. After all, play may not resume. "We'll play each game like it's the last game of the playoffs," Williams said.
The Pirates have won 19 games since Rick Reuschel was called up from Triple A on May 21. Reuschel has won eight of them.... Former Brave Rufino Linares, who started the season as a minor league coach and was called up by the Angels last week, once objected when Nolan Ryan threw him a changeup on the first pitch. He told Ryan, "Challenge me!" Silly boy. Ryan played him a bar of chin music.... When Ron Cey's poodle, Penelope, disappeared from his parked car recently, the dognapping made the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times. WHO'S-GOT PENGUIN'S POOCH screamed the headline. Cey offered a $100 reward and she was returned. Now if they could only find out who's got Penguin's bat—Cey is hitting .206.
Reggie and his friend Walter Harris could only watch as the American League went down the tubes.
MR. OCTOBER GOT A JULY VACATION
As a punchless American League lost the All-Star Game last week, a man who might have provided some clout watched the game from his Newport Beach, Calif. home. If Reggie Jackson had a bad taste in his mouth, it wasn't because of the popcorn. More likely it would have been caused by his AL coworkers getting only five singles in their 6-1 loss to the Nationals, who have now won 22 of 25 games.
Jackson, who said he was "disappointed but not upset" about not being an All-Star, wasn't the only prominent absentee. Angel teammate Rod Carew, then 15 career hits shy of 3,000, wasn't chosen for the first time in his 19-year career. Tom Seaver was also snubbed. Pete Rose, who did make the NL team, noted the absence of these future Hall of Famers and offered a solution to the problem of how to accommodate both the players whose stats merit selection and the older superstars the fans want to see: Let each league president add a couple of wildcard picks to the rosters.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
TOM SEAVER: The 40-year-old White Sox righthander won the 298th game of his career with a 1-0, four-hit shutout of Cleveland. Seaver, left off the All-Star team, raised his season record to 10-7.
What a difference a second half makes," said Ranger utility man Alan Bannister, who DHed in the first game after the break. "It took me two months to go 0 for 5. This time I did it in three hours.