World Series Diary
Sports Illustrated baseball writer Mark Bechtel reports from the post-game celebration
Posted: Thursday October 22, 1998 12:59 PM
So much for my powers of prediction. I was feeling pretty high when I nailed both the AL Division Series (Yanks in three and Indians in five were my picks), then hit the ALCS on the nose (Yanks in six).
I didn't like the way the Yankees were hitting or pitching coming into the Series, so I went with the hot pitcher, Kevin Brown , and said Padres in seven.
I guess you could say I missed it by a bit.
I learned my lesson, though. If I'm ever in this position again, I'm not picking against Joe Torre. He's like that chick in the Police song: Every little thing he does is magic. Ricky Ledee in left? Are you serious? Torre's got Tim Raines , a switch-hitting vet, and Chad Curtis , another solid guy with experience, and he goes with a kid who hit, like, .240 in a handful of games? Then Torre made a couple of head-scratching calls during the course of action, like leaving Jeff Nelson in to throw two balls to Ken Caminiti before going to Mariano Rivera in the eighth last night.
Well, you know what? Everything worked out just fine. The guy is practically incapable of making a bad move. Sure, he's got a talented team. But to do what he did in New York, and to do it with such class deserves some serious props. I'm sorry I ever doubted him.
Field of Screams: Padres owner John Moores was holding court on the field before Game 4, discussing Proposition C, the referendum on public funding for a new park in San Diego. According to Moores, the Padres did some polling and found little change during the Pads' postseason run, which is a good thing. It means that voters will be making their decision based on the merits of the proposition, not by sentiment for a hot team. In fact, Moores is afraid that the team's success might actually hurt the initiative's chances. He says that some voters might stay at home, thinking that the Padres' World Series run has secured the new park. One thing is for certain: the team could use a new place to play. The field was in horrible shape after the Chargers' game on Sunday. There were dead spots all over the place, which were covered up with paint. One other certainty: the vote will be tight.
Heartburn for Chili: In the Yankees' locker room after Game 4, the team broke into chants of "Straw Man! Straw Man!" in honor of Darryl Strawberry. Torre talked to Straw before the game, and his teammates got him on the horn after the title was theirs. The celebration actually spilled back onto the field, because the visiting locker room at Qualcomm Stadium isn't too big. The only notables on hand were memorabilia fanatic Charlie Sheen, who I believe once paid $13,0000 for Joe Charboneau 's jock strap, and Tom Arnold, who I saw being introduced to Chili Davis by some player who then left the scene. Imagine being Chili. You just won the World Series and you end up celebrating with a complete stranger who used to be married to Roseanne.
The money man: Good to see Andy Pettitte pitch so well. Pettitte had a very bad season by his standards, and when he got shelled by the Indians in the ALCS there was talk in the New York tabloids and on the radio that he should be skipped should the series go seven games. (The seventh would be his turn.) It turned out to be a moot point when the Yankees won in six, but Pettitte was pushed back to Game 4 of the World Series, meaning he would pitch once at most. Well, Pettitte -- who beat John Smoltz 1-0 in Game 5 of the 1996 Series-went out and showed again that, regular season be damned, he is one of the best big-game pitchers out there.
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