Were the games not so exhilarating, the talk of this series would, no doubt, have been the talk of the series. But, said rightfielder Paul O'Neill, who hit .471 against the Pirates, "the games were so great my stomach was turning the whole time."
"I go home, and my wife gets out the Pepto-Bismol and the Maalox and the Rolaids," Van Slyke had said in Pittsburgh. "This series is killing her."
The Reds, on the other hand, may soon be in for a Maalox moment of their own. "The A's starting pitching is good, their relief pitching is good, they play very good defense," says Williams. "They hit and run. They hit home runs. They have speed to steal bases. But they aren't invincible."
If the A's arc to be vinced, however, the Reds need Davis to do a number at the plate. He looked his usual self in the playoffs, waving his bat like a conductor's baton, but his .174 performance showed he was in fact wielding a wind instrument.
"Everybody here wants to be Kirk Gibson," said O'Neill at the start of the series. Now each of the Reds has a chance to do just that. Trouble is, all season this team has had difficulty deciding just which Kirk Gibson it wanted to be. At the beginning of the season, the Reds played like the 1988 World Series hero and got off to a 33-12 start. After June 3, they looked more like the disabled deodorant shill of 1990 and went 58-59. Then last week, the Reds appeared capable of demoralizing the A's, just as Gibson had done two years ago with his two-out, two-run homer in the ninth inning of Game 1.
Who will show up in this World Series? Apparently, not the Dibble we've come to know. In the jubilant Reds clubhouse last Friday night, a new Dibble announced, "In regard to Doug Drabek, I was frustrated. A lot of people think we're cocky and arrogant. We're not. Sometimes we're sore losers, and I regret that."
Seconds later, he discounted his earlier trade demands, saying, "I don't want to go anywhere. A lot of what you say is taken out of context."
And finally, "My vow to the team was...I'm not talking in the World Series. This is it. I'm doing my last interviews."
To which there is only one reply: My [butt].