And all this time, the fans here assumed the Phillies were on Quaaludes.
Just a year ago, the last team in baseball that would ever have been accused of playing with pep -- let alone pep pills -- would have been the tranquilized Phils.
During the loose-ship torpor of the benign Danny Ozark managerial era, the only thing in Veterans Stadium that was green and full of energy was the Phillie Phanatic.
Perhaps it is a backhanded compliment to rookie Manager Dallas Green and his resuscitated, tied-for-first club that this week the Philadelphia Journal -- the local tabloid -- could have a front page headline that read, "Narcs: 'We're After the Phils'."
Now, after a week of overblown stories that made the Phils out to be the Amphetamine Annies of baseball, the storm appears to have blown past and the only speed merchants are in the Phillie outfield.
"Phillies players and their wives were contacted today by officials from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation of persons not employed by the club," said a statement issued by the club's president, Ruly Carpenter, this evening.
"Each individual interviewed cooperated fully and was assured that he or she was not suspected of any criminal involvement."
Translated, this means that a Reading, Pa., doctor is still being investigated for prescribing amphetamines indiscriminately.
The names of several Phillies are among those on the doctor's prescriptions. At worst, those players are guilty of poor judgment in guarding their own health, and the indiscretion of being identified with baseball's long history of greenie gobbling.
Since many a career has been shortened or damaged by a player's getting hooked on the 162-game-a-year upper-downer roller-coaster, plenty of Phils may have cause to look in their hearts. But they aren't breaking any law, other than the law of good common sense.
At the moment, the best way to get a postgame interview with a Phillie may be to show a badge. Aside from those with narcotics agents, the Phillies aren't "cooperating fully" on interviews. Perhaps rightly, they are in a righteous huff that their peccadilloes have been made grist for the front-page mill.
For the past two nights, the Phils have beaten up on the woeful Chicago Cubs, then retired en masse to the off-limits training rooms to avoid the media with which they have always had an unusually adversary relationship.
It is unfortunate that the Phils, who are no more "up" than any other major professional sports team, are now being called The Big Green Machine."
This is actually the season when the talented Phils may be growing up and playing to their talent, rather than disgracing it.
"We're no longer the young, awesomely talented club that scared people for so long," says Mike Schmidt, the NL's home runs leader.
"The talent in our division -- in Montreal and Pittsburgh -- has caught up with us. We have to make a transition and become a club that concentrates on little things.
"When we look at the Expos, we see ourselves in '76 when we rolled over everybody on raw talent. The Pirates and Cardinals have been teams like that, too full of ability, but more in love with hitting than with winning.
"Last year, the Pirates learned to have fun making the routine play on defense, making the team play instead of the selfish play," said Schmidt, who had a pair of triples in tonight's 7-2 win before 50,209.
Manager Green, tall in the saddle and loud in the microphone, has laid down the law to what was a lackadasical crew in a fourth-place '79 season. "We needed Dallas," said Schmidt, who once said of Ozark, "The poor guy is just lost most of the time."
"Dallas may be going overboard with the authority and all the rules, but it's better that way than the other," Schmidt said. "You get the sense that Dallas is watching every little thing, just watching to come down on you.
"But he's not quite a drill sergeant. We joke more now about mistakes and make sure everybody is aware of them.
"When you play team ball, you can feel its effect on the whole game. The whole atmosphere changes," said Schmidt, who suffered and ground his teeth during the years when he was one of the few hard-nosed Phillies.
"Only the players in those two dugouts notice the mental errors. But it changes the internal momentum of the game."
No game could have provided a better example of "internal momentum" and the new Phillie style than the win tonight.
Garry Maddox, the Mighty Burner, went from first to third (with a headfirst slide) on a bunt back to the mound, then scored on Larry Bowa's two-out squeeze bunt. When did the Phils last do that? Or even try?
Schmidt legged a routine double into a gambling none-out triple with another belly-flop slide, then scored on a short sacrifice fly -- another run courtesy of taking an extra base.
The four-run seventh inning that broke open this affair began when leadoff sparkplug Lonnie Smith stole second, forcing a catcher's bad throw into center field, took third, then scored on a bloop hit over a drawn-in infield.
"We're a very different team," said veteran Del Unser. "We still miss a lot of signs, make mistakes, but now we talk about it and open things up for discussion. We're better fundamentally -- usually a bad area or teams with obvious talent. We're more reponsibile now -- we know our duties. We aren't too loose, like we were.
"This team's personality is just starting to form."
"We haven't felt yet, as a team, that we're great," Schmidt said. "Because of all our starting-pitching problems, we haven't shown more than 60 percent of our potential.
"Our greatness is going to come in August and September, if it's going to come at all. We have a lot of questions about ourselves, but I still believe that we are the most feared team in our division. Every other player knows that we are just a couple of starting pitchers away from being a terror."
A couple of starting pitchers is, of course, an enormous order to fill. However, the key to this Phillie season may be Bob (Whirlybird) Walk, the 23-year-old right-hander. He is 5-0 since being called up from Oklahoma City.
"Walk on the Wild Side" was the word on the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder when he was shelled in his early starts here.
"Whirlybird thought too much on the mound," said one Phil. "The coaches just told him to work faster, find a groove and stop trying to beat the hitters with his brain instead of his arm.
"He may outgrow his nickname for absent-mindness."
Last spring, the Phils were touted as a dream team with an all-star at every position. "I still look around the field and wonder if any other player in the whole league could break into our starting lineup," Schmidt said. "Well, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but not much."
The Phils, however, now try to bury those boastful thoughts and play as though they were a team of scrappers.
Pete Rose shows the way, as he did tonight with three doubles. "We're a more hustling and excited team this year," Rose said with a grin. "But the reason for that is Green, not greenies."
Tonight, the Phils put on their annual midsummer fireworks display after the game. Those bombs bursting in air seemed a symbol of the high hopes this town had for its glorious Phils last year, but which have only begun to be realized now.
If the Phillies have finally discovered a bit of pep, it is hardly something for which they should be criticized.