Off to one side a few people were watching the young pitcher being grilled. "Ballplayers build up a tolerance to some questions and automatic responses to others," remarked one longtime observer of these scenes. "Kison hasn't cultivated this yet, but he will, and maybe that's a shame. Right now he refuses to answer dumb questions in a clever way but is willing to answer good questions in a fresh new way. Soon he'll answer them all with safe clich�s."
"Bruce will have to learn how to handle writers," Steve Blass said. "Sometimes he makes judgments too soon, not considering all the possibilities. I've tried to tell him he can't be too quick in evaluating people, especially writers. But Bruce is flexible. He'll learn as he gets older. He'll become more aware, which is a shame. It's a loss of innocence. He won't be this Bruce Kison anymore; he'll be a new Bruce Kison, because people demand more from us than we're capable of giving."
It was midnight when Kison finally emerged from a shower into an all-but-deserted locker room. Dripping, he moved to his stall and began drying himself. He is incredibly long and bony. His ribs showed.
"Jeez, I hated all that attention," he said. "I must have acted like a fool in front of those writers. Did I? Jeez, I hope not. Aw, I know I did. A real fool." He threw his towel into the center of the room and muttered as he dressed. Bob Veale, the only other player in the room, came over to Kison and said, with mock solemnity, holding an imaginary microphone in front of Bruce, "Tell me, Kison? How's it feel to set a World Series record by hitting eight batters in three innings?" Kison smiled and said nothing. "And to be such a big hit with all those sportswriters, too?" Veale added. "My goodness, Kison, tell me, how's it feel?"
When Veale was gone Kison said of him, "He told me to go into the locker room between innings so my arm wouldn't stiffen up. He's always helping me like that. I feel sorry for him. I wonder why I'm so lucky. I see him sitting alone at his locker, not saying anything, and I wonder what he's thinking. He has to watch me get all this attention in my first year and he's been here 10."
On the morning after his big win, Kison arrived at Three Rivers Stadium at nine o'clock for a television interview with Sandy Koufax. He was smoking a cigar, which made one feel one ought to tell his father on him.
Kison and Koufax stood halfway down the third-base line and chatted while television cameramen set up equipment in the visitors' dugout. The sun hung over the center-field bleachers, cutting through the morning mist. It will directly behind Kison, making him seem a dark silhouette. Koufax, at 35, looked tense and strained as a greyhound. He wore a navy blazer with an NBC crest on the breast pocket, a red shirt and a patterned tie, double-knit slacks and alligator loafers. As he talked with Kison, he constantly tugged at his shirt collar, stretched his neck, smoothed his already smooth hair and glanced toward the cameramen. Kison stood spread-legged and motionless. His hands were stuffed into his back pockets. His shirt hung outside of his pants and he wore cowboy boots. When the cameraman signaled Koufax to begin he raised the microphone to his lips, assumed a smile and began asking Kison questions. Kison replied in a monotonous voice. His hands remained in his pockets and his eyes drifted over Koufax' head to the deserted stadium. The first three lakes were unsuccessful and with each Koufax became increasingly annoyed. Finally, when Koufax blew a fourth take the cameraman signaled for him to continue. Koufax yanked the microphone away from his mouth and said. "No, we won't! Bruce doesn't want to live with that, do you, Bruce? And I am not going to make a fool of myself in front of millions of viewers."
The fifth take began with Kison saying, "I was very displeased with my performance in Baltimore in the second game...."
On the morning of the seventh and final Series game in Baltimore, Kison sat at a table in a coffee shop and waited impatiently for his scrambled eggs. In the deciding contest, Kison realized he might be the first reliever if Steve Blass faltered, and that, with the uncertainty of reaching his own wedding that night in Pittsburgh, made him unusually irritable. Kison's irritation had also grown from what he considered to be undue attention heaped on him ever since his fourth-game win. He did not like his instant notoriety, he said.
To pass the time while he waited for breakfast, Kison tried to reevaluate, objectively, his pitching of the past year, so as to be able to negotiate his 1972 contract with the front office. He decided that his 10 victories in AAA, his six during the regular season with Pittsburgh and his playoff and Series victories qualified him as an 18-game winner. Furthermore, the playoff and Series triumphs would be worth a lot of money to the Pirates and, if they won that afternoon, a great deal more. He deserved a small portion of this cash, he said, and he wondered just how much he should ask for. (Ironically, when the Bucs divided up their World Series and playoff booty, they failed to give Bruce Kison a full share.)