players, who asked not to be named, offered their own theory for the unbecoming
reticence of La Russa, who is renowned for his thoroughness and gamesmanship:
He was uncomfortable making such an accusation against a team managed by his
good friend Jim Leyland. Both players said they were disappointed that La Russa
did not pursue the issue more aggressively.
returned to the dugout after the first inning, he was intercepted by Tigers
first base coach Andy Van Slyke and third baseman Brandon Inge. After speaking
with the two, Rogers disappeared down the runway steps. He emerged to pitch the
second inning with the yellow-brown substance gone but for a light stain.
Rogers, when asked
why he removed the substance, first said, "I didn't know it was there, and
they told me and I took it off, and it wasn't a big deal." It was unclear
whether his use of "they" referred to teammates or umpires. But when
asked if somebody had complained, Rogers said, "No, I just saw it."
The umpires, he
was asked, didn't mention it at all? "No," Rogers replied.
However, La Russa
did finally address the issue, meeting with the umpires as Rogers came out to
pitch the second inning. "I said, 'I hope it gets fixed. If it doesn't get
fixed, then I'll take the next step,'" La Russa said a day later. After
Rogers set down the Cardinals in order, home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez did
confer with Rogers. According to umpire supervisor Steve Palermo, speaking for
the crew after the game, "Alfonso Marquez just asked Kenny to remove that
batted in the second inning, Palermo huddled with Marquez. For something La
Russa would describe as "not important," the controversy, seen by
millions of viewers, attracted conspicuous attention on the field. "If he
did it and got away with it, good for him," Spiezio said. "Next time
we'll have to pay attention to it."
within four innings of Christy Mathewson's 101-year-old record of 27
consecutive scoreless innings in a single postseason may have been the weirdest
feat of these oddball playoffs--this from a guy who had been 0--3 with an 8.71
ERA in nine career postseason games before this year. But Reyes's easy win was
the runner-up. La Russa was so unsure about what the rookie could give him in
the opener that, at dinner on the eve of Game 1, he asked his coaches to submit
guesses as to how long Reyes would last. La Russa settled on no more than six
Only two days
earlier Reyes was in the bullpen at Shea Stadium in New York trying to fix a
flaw in his windup that had tipped his fastball to Mets hitters in Game 4 of
the National League Championship Series. Reyes had lasted only four innings in
that start. " Shawn Green is as good as it gets with the stuff," Duncan
said, referring to the New York rightfielder's knack for figuring out when a
pitcher is tipping his pitches. "And it becomes contagious. More and more
guys on the team become aware of it and start looking. We think we've [solved
Reyes threw 74
fastballs among his 93 pitches in World Series Game 1, and, still, the Tigers
looked as if they had no clue what was coming. "We looked like a team that
hadn't played for seven days," Leyland said, speaking of his club's long
layoff after winning the ALCS. Reyes allowed one run in the first and one in
the ninth. In between he retired a World Series rookie-record 17 batters in a
row. "It's an honor," Reyes said of starting the opener. "I'm just
glad they had the confidence to give me the ball. I can't even remember a lot
of it. I feel like it went by so fast."
supported him with home runs by Scott Rolen and Albert Pujols off Detroit
rookie Justin Verlander, the latter on a first-pitch fastball with first base
open and two outs in the third inning--a situation that screamed for Leyland to
order an intentional walk. "I pitched to him, and obviously he burned
us," Leyland said. "I take the bullet there. If somebody gives you
criticism, you accept it, because it's ultimately my decision."