Burn the film. Put a black border around the box score. Spring training came to October tonight.
When Sparky Anderson's Detroit Tigers win a World Series game and he's depressed, that's a bad ball game.
The Detroit Tigers beat the San Diego Padres, 5-2, tonight in Game 3 of what is quickly becoming an Anti-Classic. The Tigers lead the Series, two jokes to one.
The Series records set or tied here told an ugly tale. No team ever walked more batters (11) than these Padres. None hit worse in the clutch than these Tigers (14 men left). No two teams stranded so many (24).
No wonder the bored crowd (51,970) started an antiphonal chant in the late innings: "Tastes great . . . Less filling."
This night's recipient of the Kurt Bevacqua Award is: Marty Castillo of the Tigers. There are probably people who are related to Castillo who don't know he's playing in the Series these days.
That didn't keep the No. 9 batter, whose usual position is "bench," from hitting a game-winning two-run homer.
The evening's winner of the How To Pitch Real Bad trophy was: Tim Lollar of the Padres. Following in the ignoble San Diego tradition of Eric Show, Mark Thurmond and Ed Whitson, Lollar was knocked out in a four-run Tigers second inning.
"Very, very bad," said Padres Manager Dick Williams of his starter's work. "The only hitter Lollar was ahead of all night was Castillo and he threw him a fast ball down the middle on 1-2."
Anderson was just as downcast. "Thank goodness they were walking people," he said. "I hope before it's over we do some hitting to show people we can hit. You can't leave 14 men on base and win many games.
"I'm just glad this means we're going back to San Diego (for Game 6, if the Padres win one here), 'cause we're not hittin' at all and I believe we're in for a tough Series."
Williams tried to out-poor-mouth Anderson, saying, "I'm glad to hear Sparky say we're goin' back to San Diego. I know we are. I hope they are, too . . . I hope we have a game Tuesday."
The supporting cast also deserved credit. Rotund long reliever Greg Booker, the Padre general manager's son-in-law, poured balls on the fire, walking four of the seven men he faced, including the first batter he faced to force home a run.
His replacement, Greg Harris, came into the game with the bases full of men Booker had walked and immediately hit the first batter he faced in the foot to force home another gift run.
Detroit's winning pitcher was balding veteran Milt Wilcox, who could more properly have been called the evening's sole survivor as he dodged jams for six innings. Wilcox is known as the Count of Cortisone and the Duke of DMSO because of his ailments.
Wilcox needed the whole pharmacopoeia in this one as he allowed six hits in the first 3 1/3 innings, but remained on the mound because the Padres resolutely refused to get a hit when it mattered.
"That wasn't Milt," said a subdued Anderson. "His big toe hurt . . . Not one of his better games."
"Hopefully, I won't have to pitch again (in this Series)," said Wilcox.
Tiger Stadium hadn't hosted a World Series game in 16 years before tonight and the question is whether it's had one yet. After these follies, it's hard to tell whether this Series will be remembered most for bonehead baserunning, asleep-at-the-switch managing, poor pitching, comic fielding, lousy clutch hitting or heroics by mystery men.
This Series' rich history of gaffes was extended this brisk evening. True, no one quite matched Bevacqua's base running or Bobby Brown's bunting or the Tigers' knack for getting picked off first base in Game 1.
And, to be sure, nobody equaled the Kirk Gibson Hat Trick in Game 2 when he kicked a ground ball for one error, tripped over one of his own relief pitchers and dropped a fly ball for another, and was doubled off first base by 100 feet on a long fly out.
The Padres' walks -- all 11 in the first five innings -- were a real tone setter.
Four tailor-made double play balls were turned into force-outs; the winner of the boot-kick-bobble-dive-and-crawl competition was the same heroic Castillo who, two innings after his 410-foot, upper-deck homer off Lollar, turned a two-on, one-out grounder over third base into a one-man trained-seal act.
"It was like a bad dream," the Padres' pitching coach, Norm Sherry, said. "You expect 11 walks in the rookie league, not in the majors. It was like I was in another world on the bench."
The real culprit was Lollar, who kept up the Padres' tradition of abominable starting pitching.
With one out in the second, the coldest player in the postseason -- Chet Lemon, in a one-for-20 slump -- lined a single to right. One out later, up stepped Castillo with his .234 batting average and four homers in '84.
Where Bob Dernier, Rick Sutcliffe and Larry Herndon had trod before in this postseason, Castillo followed. None of them had double-figure home run years, but that didn't keep them from homering against San Diego's starters.
The three Padres who will start here -- Lollar, Show (against Jack Morris Saturday) and Thurmond (against Dan Petry Sunday) -- have a 9.90 postseason ERA in six starts. Opposing hitters are hitting .382 and slugging .764 against these worthies.
Lollar then walked Whitaker. This is Rule 17 in the How to Pitch Real Bad Handbook: always follow a home run with a walk. It comes right after Rule 16: Always throw a gopher ball to the No. 9 hitter. And right before Rule 18: always follow that post-homer walk with a fast ball down the middle to start the next hitter.
The recipient of the fat fast ball was Trammell, who doubled inside the left field line, the swift Whitaker scoring in a cloud of dust.
Gibson walked and Lance Parrish smashed a grounder in the hole that third baseman Graig Nettles would have eaten alive had this been the Series of '77, '78 or '81. But Nettles is 40 now. The ball trickled out of his glove and Lollar trickled to the showers.
Booker and Harris followed -- forcing homes being their specialty.
Even the Padres' two runs were rather sorry things. Steve Garvey drove in a run with a ground-out in the third and Nettles brought home one with a sacrifice fly in the seventh. But both were really rally-killing outs, not valuable runs batted in.
Detroit's Willie Hernandez, who got the last seven outs for a stylish save, came on and inadvertently helped generate the only memorably excellent play of this night.
With a Padre on third and two out in the seventh, Hernandez hung a screwball to Terry Kennedy, who drove a 410-foot liner to deep center.
Lemon broke every rule. He turned the wrong way twice. He backpedaled at the last instant. And he reached behind him to catch the ball.
The stumbling, staggering catch was as exciting, acrobatic and clutch as it was fundamentally flawed.
"It looked like the Willie Mays catch (in the '54 Series)," said Wilcox of Lemon's stubbling snag.
Well, maybe if Mays had an inner-ear infection.