Work in Sports
World Series notebook
John Franco pays David Cone a mid-game visit
NEW YORK (AP) -- David Cone and John Franco, like two schoolyard buddies, decided to do some catching up at an unlikely time and place.
During Game 2 of the World Series on Sunday night, the former Mets teammates were caught on national television joking at the fence dividing the two bullpens. The extended encounter took place just innings after both pens emptied onto the outfield grass during the first-inning, bench-clearing scrum instigated by Roger Clemens throwing of Mike Piazza's broken bat.
After the Yankees' 6-5 win to take a 2-0 lead in the series, Franco simply called it a private matter, but Cone, denied the meeting with his former teammate from 1990-1992 before he was traded to Toronto even occurred.
"I don't know what you're talking about," he said with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner standing nearby.
Major league baseball prohibits opposing players from hanging out during games, but it is largely ignored during the regular season.
Under the spotlight of the World Series, though, it might be difficult to ignore.
"There is a technical rule regarding the fraternization of the players which has to be taken note of," Sandy Alderson, executive vice president for baseball operations, said after the meeting was brought to his attention.
On Monday, Cone's sudden memory of the incident sounded more like an alibi:
"The bullpens are so close. He (Franco) walked by and I gave him my congratulations."
Tell it to Mr. Alderson.
After answering every conceivable question about his World Series-dominating relationship with Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza was able to find the positive in Monday night's five-run ninth in rally.
After not being able to score for 5 1-3 innings off Yankees relievers in Game 1's 12-inning loss and getting just two hits off Clemens over eight innings in Game 2, the Mets jumped all over the normally reliable Yankees bullpen.
"You score those runs against two of the toughest relievers in baseball. I think it goes without saying," Piazza said about the Mets gaining an edge from their rally.
After going 0-for-3 against Clemens, Piazza hit a long two-run home run to left field off reliever Jeff Nelson, who shut down the Mets in Game 1 but couldn't get an out in Game 2.
Even after manager Joe Torre called for Mariano Rivera, who had a record 0.46 ERA in 38 postseason appearances including two scoreless innings in Game 1, the Mets kept hitting.
With Robin Ventura on first, Todd Zeile, who hit a ball off the very top of the left field wall in Game 1, was robbed by defensive replacement Clay Bellinger at the top of the wall. Jay Payton then hit the second homer of the post season off Rivera, a three-run shot to right field.
"We've been down 3-0, obviously, to the Braves, and we almost evened the series. But that's extremely difficult to do," Piazza said.
"It's a must win tomorrow."
Seeing both sides
Joe Torre knows all about the challenges an AL manager faces in games without a DH.
In addition to managing in three World Series in the last four years, as well as interleague games, Torre managed in the NL 14 years.
"You have to be a lot more on your toes when you make pitching changes," Torre said. "You decide to try and sneak this extra out through with this pitcher, because he may be the second or third hitter in the next inning.
"So you really have to be on your toes not to run out of players, which is easy to do especially if you get behind in the game, you start pinch-hitting a lot."
Torre said it might be easier to manage in the AL.
"I just say it's less complicated, because there aren't as many decisions you have to make," he said.
Torre, 487-322 (.602) with the Yankees, was 894-929 (.490) as an NL manager.
Lenny Harris knows how to avoid the intense media scrutiny of a World Series, especially this Subway Series. Harris who has been playing professional baseball since 1983 does not watch the game on television.
Not even the highlights of his first World Series.
"I don't watch ESPN or baseball analysis and all that stuff," Harris said.
Harris, who was obtained by the Mets on June 2 in a trade with Arizona, went 0-for-4 in Game 2.
"I only watch boxing on TV," Harris said.
Around the horn
Mets reliever Turk Wendell took time out from practice Monday to explain his "hunting trophy" necklace in an interview with Biff Henderson, the Late Show with David Letterman stagehand turned correspondent. ... The aroma of fresh paint greeted visitors taking the subway to Shea Stadium on Monday. The Willets Point-Shea Stadium subway station got a fresh coat of paint Monday, just like the 161st Street-Yankee Stadium stop received before Game 1. Everything from the blue railings to black garbage cans were touched up for Games 3, 4 and 5 (if necessary). ... Chuck Knoblauch marveled at the newly sprayed World Series logo in front of the visitors dugout at Shea. He was keenly aware of the bright Met orange in the logo, but had to strain to find a little bit of Yankee gray in it.