Vida Blue has lost control of his demeanor, going so far as threatening to "blow away" reporters for unfavorable commentary.
Joe Altobelli, National League manager of the year in 1978, has lost control of his team.
Coming Apart -- starring the San Francisco Giants, or as followers of the club are needlin', San "fiasco" Giants.
It was Blue whose 18-10 campaign, 2.79 ERA helped make the Giants a contender a year ago and win laurels for Altobelli, the longtime skipper of the Baltimore Orioles' Rochester proving grounds. Blue and several fellow pitching staffers have become central figures in the 1979 disarray by the Bay.
John Montefusco, starter and loser to Chicago on Sunday, left Candlestick Park saying he didn't plan to come back. "We'll just have to see if he shows Tuesday night," said Altobelli, whose club had yesterday off before engaging St. Louis.
Ed Halicki, assigned to the bullpen after recovery from a strength sapping illness, repeatedly has demanded to start; in St. Louis the other day he erupted with a scene in which he verbally ripped Altobelli and said he was through with the Giants.
Ed Whitson, acquired from the Pirates in June in exchange for early season malcontent Bill Madlock, punched out mild-mannered S. F. Shortstop Roger Metzger in Pittsburgh over some BP banter.
And all four unhappy hurlers were fined for drinking aboard the team plane last week -- Montefusco's $500 toll bringing on his threat to vamoose.
The ban on drinking in flight was imposed after Blue and Montefusco harshly criticized Altobelli's handling of pitchers during a trip home at the All-Star break. It was just another instance of widespread backbiting among the Giants over a season that began in high pennant hope but he has turned to dust.
Blue, with a 5.20 ERA and 10-11 record (after a flying 4-0 start), has taken it hard.
On the last road trip, he growled he would bring a shotgun to keep reporters from coming into the locker room; he also threatened violence with a bat, and Sunday -- most of this according to Glen Schwartz, who covers the club for the San Francisco Examiner and is object of most of the former Oakland Ace's venom -- Blue grabbed a chair while berating two writers, warning one to move away or "I'll hit you over the head."
The same five-man, one-woman jury that on Aug. 17 awarded Rudy Tomjanovich $3.3 million damaged from the Los Angeles Lakers for The Punch heard Rocket General Manager Ray Paterson, testify yesterday in federal court in Houston. Patterson said that it cost the club a bundle trying to replace the All-Star forward during his incapacitation.
The Rockets are suing for $1.8 million from the Lakers, who employed forward Kermit Washington when the former American U. star, now San Diego Clipper, shattered Rudy T's face in a Dec. 9 1977, NBA game. Patterson told the jurors it cost the Rockets $450,000 in a three- year, no-cut contract for Alonzo Bradley, picked up from Athletes in Action, to try to plug the gap -- and that loss of Tomjanovich had a "direct bearing" on the team laying out another $1 million to bring a free agent Rick Barry for two years.
Furthermore, Patterson said, the Rockets were so disheartened after the incident they "moved around like zombies" in plunging to a cellar finish in their division in '77-'78. . .
O. J. Simpson's daughter Aaren, age 23 months, has died at UCLA Medical Center, nine days after her mother pulled her unconscious from a swimming pool.
Pro football's highest-paid player (given leave by the San Francisco 49ers during the emergency) and Marquerite Simpson, divorced earlier this year, have two surviving children, Arnelle, 11, and Jason, 9.
The NFL star issued a statement: "My deepest appreciation and thanks go to everyone across the nation whose gestures of prayers, cards, phone calls and well-wishes sustained our family". . .
Metrorail does it! Didn't George Allen say they would? Begins Sunday operations just in time to carry the faithful to the Redskin opener Sunday. Replete with free parking at eight stations, on the Red, Orange and Blue lines; train fare 50 cents each way. All this plus the perennial Metrobus service (round trips $3.50 to $4.50 from 13 downtown and suburban locations).