Anyway, the lyric was: "I wanna be Bob Dylan... "
Who doesn't? I remember reading that this group often changed that lyric to pander to the specific audience they were performing in front of. For instance, if they were touring with Big Star, they would change it to: "I wanna be Alex Chilton... "
That's cool if it was the original lyric, but it's not. Aspiring to be Bob Dylan is a big job and if you're heart is truly in to it, you can't sway off course. Who is going to stop those geeks from singing "I wanna be Jeff Tweedy... " or "I wanna be Zack de la Rocha... "? Nobody, and that's the problem. Immediately this band is exposed as a fraud because they don't really want to be Bob Dylan. They just want to be cool like Justin Timberlake wants to be cool.
Maybe that's why I can't remember the name of the white boy with the extensions or what he called his band.
Anyway, I've been reading the first installment of Bob Dylan's memoirs, which I am enjoying very much. Obviously, that cat can really write. Based on Tarantula: Poems – a stream-of-consciousness tome that puts even Jack Kerouac and Thomas (not Tom) Wolfe to shame – and now Chronicles: Volume One it’s clear that ol’ Bobby D could have been an influential writer or novelist.
Like Bob writes in his memoirs, I too am a “traditionalist with a capital T.” He was talking about folk music with that line, but I sense that he’s talking about other things too. Like I bet Bob gets his hair cut in a barbershop that has a red, white and blue pole spinning out front with the old-fashioned chairs and old-timers who use talc, thinning shears and let you hold the mirror so you can check out how they snipped up the back.
I don’t think Bob goes to the Wal-Mart, Olive Garden, Home Depot, Best Buy or Barnes & Noble. Then again, maybe he does. Thanks to those stores, the suburbs have its exurbia. Even the backwoods folks can get vice grips, a CD, Pasta Primavera and a mocha latte at any time of the day.
Who knows, maybe that’s progress? After all, as much as Bob (and me for that matter) is a traditionalist he is also quite progressive. In fact, I imagine he’s more broad-minded than anything. Shit, maybe he goes to Home Depot all the time. Maybe he’s a mall rat.
So I went to the barbershop on Queen St. in downtown Lancaster this week for a haircut. As far as I can tell this joint – called Segro’s – is one of the few traditional (or “old-school” in the popular parlance) barbershop remaining in the area. I used to go to the College Barbers, which was a joint with three chairs, a long mirror and a leather bench built into the wall for people to sit and wait their turn. I used to like waiting so I could sit and read the paper or bullshit with Tom the barber. But apparently Tom wasn’t as into as much as I was, because he sold out and went to work at one of those blow-dry salons. Now, instead of regular old shears, clippers, talc and warm shaving cream, Tom has to shampoo, rinse and repeat.
So now I go to Segro’s, which like Tom’s old joint, is a throwback. I’m convinced the old-timer who cuts my hair was there at the beginning because he says he knew my grandfathers and talked knowledgably about seeing them around town in the 1950s and ‘60s.
Therein lays the point. Those old timers remember when the downtown flourished. It was a place where one went to be seen, to see and to take part in community life. But like urban centers all across America, the cultural shift and white flight placed the centers in the suburbs. The center of commerce in Lancaster is at the mall beyond the edge of town, not the city center.
Needless to say, there have been many groups and organizations – both public and private – designed to get people to come downtown. Sadly, these groups have been miserable failures. The ideas produced lack inspiration or innovation and the city leaders are arrogant in accepting ideas that are not their own and in how they treat the constituency.
In a nutshell, the downtown leaders and the groups associated with them are trotting out the same tired ideas from the same old tired people. They fear progress when it is progress that they must embrace or die.
Oh they have their ideas. One of them – and perhaps the only one at that – is to build an upscale hotel and convention center smack dab in the town square. OK, sounds good. Now how come I called around and couldn’t find a single group or organization that would want to hold a convention in downtown Lancaster, Pa.? How come it has been nearly 10 years since the project first came together and not a single minute of construction has been performed? How come the image of the state of the downtown sector has gotten worse, not better?
In Lancaster, Pa. the downtown resembles one of those old west ghost towns by 5:30 p.m. every day. Who would want to bring a convention to a town with nothing to do? Maybe the smart thing to do is to try to get people to come downtown instead of hanging out at the mall. That way outsiders will see the area as lively and want to bring conventioneers so they drop some expense-account cash in local restaurants and stores.
Good idea, huh? Well, not to the Downtown Investment District folks. In fact, it seems as if the Lancaster D.I.D. prefers the ghost town look. All that’s missing in downtown Lancaster is tumbleweed blowing across the main drag.
Now I’m not the smartest dude in the world. That one is pretty easy to figure out. However, I’m smart enough to know that if people like going to the mall, maybe other businesses should copy what the mall does. In fact, in Boulder, Colo., a town similar in size and population to Lancaster, the downtown leaders did just that. When the suburban malls started popping up, the smart folks in Boulder paved over a section of Pearl St. and turned it into an outdoor pedestrian mall. Not only is the mall popular with merchants, and consumers, but it is also a tourist destination.
When I suggested the Boulder model to the folks with the Lancaster D.I.D., they literally scoffed at me. They may have even rolled their eyes, for all I know. But it was definitely a scoff. It wasn’t that they hated the idea, they didn’t even want to consider it.
But when I asked why I saw more people at 7 p.m. on a Tuesday night at the Pearl St. Mall than I would in the entire downtown district of Lancaster for an entire week, they had no answer. Maybe I was asking the wrong questions. Maybe I should have asked why they were so lazy or what they were afraid of.
The point of this that the traditionalism we all love and miss is still there. We just need to be a little less lazy and we can make it return. That means we might have to challenge civic leaders to look beyond the tiredness of bureaucratic and political thinking.
Until then, I'll see you at the Orange Julius.
Good old Johnny Pesky was a part of the pre-game show on the Fox telecast. He also threw out the first pitch with his former teammates Bobby Doerr and Dom DiMaggio.Pesky’s story, of course, is well known by Red Sox fans. But in the late 1950s, he managed the Lancaster Red Roses, who were a farm team for the Pittsburgh Pirates at the time. It just so happened that my grandfather was a front-office type with the team and a local restaurateur, who catered to the town’s politicians, media types and athletes. Essentially, my grandfather was the Toots Shor of Lancaster, Pa. Anyway, because of the family connection, I got to know Pesky pretty well. In fact, the first time I met him was at the Cross Keys hotel in Baltimore where the Red Sox were staying during an important September series against the Orioles. Little did I know that Pesky’s Sox – he was the first-base coach – were in the middle of a colossal collapse that would culminate with Bucky Dent knocking one into the screen above the Green Monster in a special playoff game. All I knew was that I got to hang out in the hotel lobby with Don Zimmer, sat in a hotel room with a real big leaguer, got to go in the clubhouse before the game where I got a ball signed by the whole team, and then got kick-ass seats behind home plate for the big game. I remember Jim Rice blasting a home run that seemed to carry out of Memorial Stadium and little-used Larry Harlow hitting two homers to add to the Sox’s September woes. Throughout my teens I wrote letters to old Johnny and he always wrote back and sent me autographs of the players. Yes, I still have them all. One summer he called me at home from the clubhouse in Pawtucket, where he was managing, to answer questions for a story I was writing. This past June, Pesky and I had a chance to catch up in the clubhouse before a game against the Phillies. Needless to say, that conversation is one of the highlights in all of my time covering Major League Baseball. I heard enough stories during that short time with Pesky in the Red Sox clubhouse to fill a couple of chapters of a book. It was a great, classic moment that I quickly ran upstairs to the press box to tell all of the other scribes, but won’t relate in here for obvious reasons. Lets just say that neither Pesky nor I were too bashful about passing along information. If the Red Sox win the World Series, I hope Pesky is on the bench so that he can take part in the celebration on the field. He deserves that much. Game stuff Joe Buck talked about how starter Matt Morris has had a very inconsistent season and a very shaky playoffs. In my opinion, Buck is being kind. Morris just plain stunk this season. A former 22-game winner, who seemed poised to become a perennial Cy Young Award candidate, Morris has battled nagging injuries and bad outings during the last two seasons. After winning 39 games through 2001 and 2002, Morris won just 26 games during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. Set to be a free agent at the end of the World Series, Morris really could pushed his financial worth to the level it was in 2001 with a strong postseason. Instead, he is 0-1 in three starts, and has a 5.29 ERA in 17 innings. Worse, opponents are hitting .270 against him, which about how well the opposition hit him during the regular season. It would be hard for a general manager to justify paying him more than the $12.5 million he’s making this season when more consistent pitchers will also be available in the free-agent market. Once an automatic win for the Cards, Morris’ starts are similar to Derek Lowe’s for Boston. Top of 1 Curt Schilling and his balky ankle don’t get into much trouble in a drizzly, chilly opening frame. Albert Pujols laces a two-out double in the left-center gap, but Scott Rolen gets robbed by third baseman Bill Mueller to end the inning. It could be the first really good swing Rolen has had since the big homer off Roger Clemens in Game 7 of the NLCS. Edgar Renteria started the game with a 12-pitch at-bat before grounding out to short. Bottom of 1 Morris got the first two hitters to quickly ground out before suddenly losing all knowledge of the strike zone. He issued back-to-back walks to Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz before catcher Jason Varitek blasted a long triple to the triangle in center. Just like that and it’s 2-0. Oh, those bases on balls. Morris walked Kevin Millar but rediscovers his magic ground-out pitch to end the inning. Top of 2 Knowing that the TV cameras will zoom in his cadaver-sutured right ankle, Schilling wrote “K ALS” with silver marker near the injury. That, folks, is Curt Schilling in a nutshell. He knows where the cameras are at all times. Schilling gets a lot of help when Mueller makes another nice play by turning a sure RBI double for Mike Matheny into an inning-ending, unassisted double play. Good pitching is fifty percent good fielding. Bottom of 2 Morris gives up a leadoff single to Mueller and appears to shake off Matheny on two straight pitches before settling on one he likes and coaxing a double-play grounder out of the Game 1 hero Mark Bellhorn. When he strikes out Johnny Damon, Morris looks like his old self. Top of 3 Schilling retires the side in order on just nine pitches. Believe it or not, it looked easier than that. Bottom of 3 It didn’t take nine pitches, but Morris tore through the Sox hitters to retire the side with just 14 pitches. Interestingly, Morris had stuck with his fastball and changeup instead of his bread-and-butter curve. Either way, he ahs retired six in a row. Top of 4 Pujols leads off with another double and smartly moves up to third when Trot Nixon tumbled to catch a flare by Rolen. If Pujols had not moved up, he would not have been able to score when Mueller booted a slow roller by Sanders. The defense giveth and it taketh away. Schilling is starting to find his groove. Aside from Pujols, Rolen and Edmonds had some sloppy looking swings. It appears as if Schilling’s two-seamer has a lot of bite. Bottom of 4 Just as quickly as Morris found his good form, he lost it. A curveball got away from the right-hander and plunked Kevin Millar. Then, with two outs, Morris gave up back-to-back doubles to Millar and that wily Bellhorn. There are two more RBIs for Bellhorn and a 4-1 lead for the Sox. So far, the unsung second baseman is the MVP of the series. Top of 5 Schilling gives up a first-pitch single to Matheny, but quickly strikes out former teammate Marlon Anderson before coaxing a 6-4-3 double play from Renteria. Yeah, Schilling is starting to look tough to solve. Since he has only thrown 73 pitches (48 strikes), the big righty will probably be out there for a while. Bottom of 5 The unraveling of Morris continued with a leadoff walk to Orlando Cabrera. Though he almost plunked Ramirez before retiring him on a fly, Morris gets the hook in favor of Cal Eldred. But while Eldred is making his way in from the bullpen, the folks at Fox are too busy talking to Tom Hanks and Jimmy Fallon atop the Monster. Hanks is cool and is an admitted Oakland A’s and American League fan, but Fallon could be doing more with the tiniest bit of talent than any man in America. For that he deserves kudos, but we don’t want to watch him shill a shitty movie while Cal Eldred is on his way in… come on. Think of how hard Eldred worked to get to the World Series only to have it ruined because a talentless actor is doing a faux Southie accent. When Eldred finally gets the stage, Ortiz slams a long and loud foul past Pesky’s Pole for a scary strike before getting the big fella to fly out. Then he drills Varitek on his elbow armor to put two on with two outs. However, Eldred gets out of the jam with a nasty hook to catch Millar looking on a 3-2 count. Come to think of it, as far as stars go Tom Hanks could be as big as they get. Who cares about Cal Eldred? Top of 6 Schilling gets Walker to whiff on a splitter that was neatly set up by a four-seam fastball. He moves that four-seamer in and out to Pujols, getting him to fly weakly to right. Then with two strikes, Rolen reaches on another error by Mueller though Schilling had his old teammate on his heels using a mix of two and four-seamers. Nevertheless, Mueller tied a World Series record with three errors in one game. When Rolen reaches, lefty Alan Embree starts warming up in the ‘pen. The reliever looks on as Bellhorn boots one to give the Sox their fourth error of the game, but Schilling pitches around it by getting Sanders to ground out to Mueller. That’s eight errors in 15 innings for the Red Sox. Surprisingly Mueller, who I remember as a pretty good fielder and someone I talked to about various types of infielders gloves when he was with the Giants, is struggling out there. Bottom of 6 Fox showed Terry Francona huddling with Schilling when the inning ended, which allowed Buck and Tim McCarver to speculate whether or not big pitcher was finished for the night. Embree, the Civil War officer look-alike, is ready to go in the ‘pen. Chatty Ray King looks loose and ready to go, but he is most likely going to face Ortiz. Perhaps La Russa should have used him earlier because Eldred gave up a pair of two-out singles to plate two more runs. After Ramirez collected a wind-blown single, King finally got to face Ortiz. King gets a strikeout on Ortiz, but the Cards are in a hole because they can’t get that elusive third out. All six of the Red Sox’s runs have come with two outs. Because of this, it would make sense to pull Schilling and let the bullpen take care of the five-run lead. Top of 7 Stonewall Embree enters for Schilling and so does Pokey Reese to shore up the Sox defense. But the fielders could have taken a seat on the grass after Embree whiffed the side in order to send the game into Donna Summer’s rendering of “God Bless America.” Probably the most interesting part of the game so far was an interview with a 79-year old fan sitting in the bleachers named Annie. Old Annie really knew her stuff and was scoring the game when Chris Myers started talking to her. Bottom of 7 La Russa brings in the probable Game 4 starter Jason Marquis to give him some work and calm his World Series nerves. Buck says he likes the move, but forgets to mention that Marquis pinch ran and scored a run in Game 1. Still, it doesn’t stop Varitek to bash another one to the triangle that Edmonds had to make a tough over-the-shoulder catch to save extra bases. After two walks, Marquis’ maiden is officially broken with a scoreless inning. Top of 8 It’s do-or-die time for the Cardinals. If they are going to make a dent into the lead it better happen now or it’s going to be a 2-0 series. With that in mind, Renteria draws a leadoff walk off reliever Mike Timlin and Pujols gets his third hit with a one-out single. But Rolen lifts a sacrifice fly for the second out to make it 6-2 as Timlin gives way to Keith Foulke. That’s bad news for the Cards. Foulke comes in and quickly strikes out Edmonds to end the minor threat. Bottom of 8 Al Reyes sits down the Sox in order – Damon, Cabrera and Ramirez. Buck points out that Reyes was the pitcher who plunked former Sox’s star Nomar Garciaparra on the wrist that started a string of injury-filled seasons for the star-crossed shortstop. It was also noted that Reyes was left off the roster for the first two rounds of the playoffs and was only added when Steve Kline was deemed too hurt to pitch in the series. Needless to say, Kline was pretty pissed off. Top of 9 The cardinals appear to be in some real trouble. Down 2-0, they now must go to St. Louis and beat Pedro Martinez to avoid an insurmountable 3-0 deficit. That’s going to be tougher than normal because these Sox can feel it. They know they are just two more victories away from finally doing it. Yessir folks, maybe the world really is coming to an end. Still, no one has mentioned that the Red Sox had a 2-0 advantage over the Mets in the 1986 World Series. We all remember how that one ended, don’t we? WP: Schilling LP: Morris HR: none
I can think of only two World Series that have piqued my interest as much as the 2004 matchup between the Cardinals and Red Sox. Oh sure, I’ve been interested in all of them and probably have watched every single series since 1978, but I get the feeling that something great is going to happen this season. Maybe it’s because my favorite former Phillie player and manager are involved.Then again, there is a very real chance that the Red Sox could finally win the World Series. I thought I was going to see it happen back in 1986 as I sat on a reclining chair at my parent’s house on Woods Avenue in Lancaster, Pa., but that life-changing 10th inning of Game 6 unfolded like a bad horror movie. That game from that anticipated series between the Mets and Red Sox is probably my favorite ever. Yes, I rooted for the Red Sox, but there was so much drama, plot twists and turns and fateful plays that I have rehashed it and re-played it in my head so many times. I can’t help but think about Bob Costas and Jean Yawkey standing on a makeshift platform every time I walk into the visitor’s clubhouse in Shea Stadium. How surreal must have that been? I believe there should be a historical plaque marking the spot in the Shea Stadium turf behind first base where the ball skipped through Buckner’s legs. Looking out at that spot from a close vantage point is like examining the crack in the Liberty Bell or something. More than the 1980 series and the 1993 series, which I attended as an employee of the Phillies, the ’86 series stands out. Forget Buckner, what if Clemens hadn’t got that blister in Game 6? Or what if the manager John McNamara had gone with another reliever instead of Calvin Schiraldi to pitch the ninth? Better yet, what if McNamara had put in Dave Stapleton at first instead of leaving Buckner out there so he could be on the field for the celebration? Like he wouldn’t be able to hobble out to the pile from the third-base dugout. What about our friend Pesky? Was he there? Did he see it? What did he think? (Ed. Note: nice touch by the Red Sox for including him in the pre-game introductions. This group of Sox management gets it.) So many questions. So many answers. It never ends. Anyway, more on other memorable series’ later. First, however, a note: the Sox and Cards have both gone to the seventh game in all of their recent appearances in the World Series. The Red Sox went to seven in 1986 against the Mets, in 1975 against the Reds, and in 1967 and 1946 against the Cardinals. For the Cardinals, they went seven games in 1987 against the Twins, in 1985 against the Royals, in 1982 in a win over the Brewers, in 1968 against the Tigers, the winning 1967 season, the breakthrough victory over the Yankees in 1964, and the victory in ’46. The Red Sox are 5-4 in the World Series, while the Cardinals are 9-6. From 1903 to 1918, the Sox were the Yankees before the Yankees were the Yankees. They won five titles before anyone even knew what the hell the World Series was. Now, here’s Game 1. Top of 1 Tim Wakefield has the knuckler knuckling. Edgar Renteria whiffs to start the game, but Wakefield recovers after Larry Walker’s double to the right-field corner by getting Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen to weakly pop up. I guess Rolen didn’t follow his adage for hitting a knuckle ball. He once told me, “If it’s low let it go – if it’s high let it fly.” Wakefield gets out of the first on 18 pitches. Bottom of 1 Johnny Damon pokes a double down the line in left to start it off for the Red Sox on what Tim McCarver called “an exquisite” at-bat. Damon fouled off three 3-2 pitches in a row before dropping his bat head on a low and outside pitch from Woody Williams. It was “exquisite” indeed. Damon made Williams throw 10 pitches, which gave his teammates a good chance to see Williams’ repertoire. Orlando Cabrera attempted to bunt Damon to third, but was drilled on a 0-2 pitch that got away from Williams. The fans at Fenway booed, but they’re idiots. The last thing Williams wants to do is put runners on base. Clearly Williams is rattled. Manny Ramirez lines a screamer toward Pesky’s Pole in right that Walker somehow grabs. Then David Ortiz wrapped one around the pole for a loud and long three-run blast. Before Ortiz could find his seat in the dugout, Kevin Millar pokes one high off the Monster for a double. Ouch. As if that wasn’t enough, Bill Mueller laced one inside the third-base bag for an RBI single. Mercifully, Doug Mirabelli – the No. 8 hitter – strikes out to end the inning after four runs, four hits and 28 pitches. None of those pitches were more important than the 10 Damon saw to set up the inning. Top of 2 The Red Sox employed the old over shift for left-handed hitting Jim Edmonds, so the slugger dropped a bunt down toward third for a single. “If he would have bunted it harder he would have had a double,” McCarver quipped. After Reggie Sanders walked, Tony Womack bunted both runners over to set up Mike Matheny’s sacrifice fly. Talk about a National League run. Wakefield ends the threat with another strikeout and keeps the 4-1 lead. Bottom of 2 Mark Bellhorn drops in a flare to left for a single and makes me think that he could turn out to be the wild-card player of the series in the mold of former light-hitting middle infielders. Brian Doyle, Bucky Dent, Mark Lemke, Buddy Biancalana and David Eckstein spring to mind as players who often had a difficult time at the plate but smashed the ball all over the place in the series. Then there is Marty Barrett, the old Red Sox second baseman who got 12 hits in the 1986 World Series. Maybe Bellhorn will turn out to be Barrett. Then again, maybe he won’t get another hit and give way to Pokey Reese. Williams gets into some two-out trouble when Ramirez singles and Ortiz walks. Millar comes up and takes a vicious cut with the sacks juiced. Looks like the Sox are on to Williams. No worries though, Millar grounds to Rolen and Tony La Russa gets Danny Haren up in the ‘pen. Then again, he should – Williams has thrown 48 pitches through two frames. Top of 3 Walker homers around the pole in right to cut the lead in half. It appears as if Walker has figured out Wakefield. How tough is the Cardinals’ lineup if Larry Walker is hitting in the two-spot? Wakefield follows the homer by plunking Pujols with a curveball, but Rolen grounds into an around-the-horn double play to end the threat before it even got started. Bottom of 3 After coaxing a groundout to start the inning, Williams loads the bases on a pair of walks and a single high off the wall in left by Mirabelli. “He’s in a ton of trouble,” McCarver says. After Damon’s RBI single, La Russa gives Williams’ trouble to 24-year old Danny Haren. Cabrera greets the kid with a hard single to left, and now the right-hander is knee-deep in the mess. Ramirez grounds sharply into a fielder’s choice to drive home his first run in two weeks. After Ortiz walks on four pitches, Haren got Millar – the ninth hitter of the inning – to ground out. Fox showed Williams blowing a bubble in the dugout, which is funny because it had already popped. Geez, it’s 7-2. Top of 4 Went downstairs to get something to eat so I missed Wakefield walk the bases loaded on 14 pitches. However, I saw Matheny lift a sacrifice fly to right to score Edmonds and Millar’s throwing error on the cut-off to score Sanders. Then I saw So Taguchi hit a chopper to third that Mueller fielded cleanly, but couldn’t get out of his glove in time to throw Womack out at the plate. Then I saw Wakefield walk Renteria on five pitches, and get the hook before Bronson Arroyo came in to give up a single to right to Walker. Oddly enough, the Cards tacked on three more runs on just Walker’s hit. Wakefield’s four free passes more than Millar’s throwing error helped St. Louis get back in it. Bottom of 4 Pretty freaking cool… Fox just aired a miked conversation between Sanders and Cabrera where Sanders said: “I know you weren’t trying to throw elbows (on a takeout slide in the third), but it looked like you were trying to throw elbows.” How’s that for a polite, “Don’t do that shit again, or we are going to come gunning for your scrawny shortstop ass.” Good work by Fox. Not so cool, at least as far as the Cards are concerned, was the pair of walks Haren dished out to start the inning. But he got three straight flies, including one snagged by Walker that got hung up in the wind, to wiggle out of trouble. Top of 5 Hey what happened? Bronson Arroyo is dealing. He retired the side in order with two whiffs, but still looks like he needs a pair of glasses when peering in to see the signals. Bottom of 5 Haren still in there and throwing OK. The Red Sox are getting some pretty good swings at him, but good pitching comes thanks to good fielding. Where the Cardinals might have the edge in this Series is with the leather – they can really go get it. Rolen, Matheny and Edmonds will win the Gold Glove at their positions, while Renteria and Walker have won a few in they day as well. Top of 6 It was 49 degrees at game time and it’s starting to get a little windy. During the past few innings, balls hit to right field are a bit of an adventure. More of an adventure has been Arroyo. Clearly the Cardinals appear to be baffled by his sweeping, high leg kick and breaking pitches. Still, Taguchi beats out a bleeder and takes second when Arroyo’s boneheaded throw to first skips past Millar and into the seats. Still, Arroyo made Renteria look uncomfortable with his breaking pitches, quickly getting two strikes on the shortstop. But then Arroyo leaves one out over the plate and Renteria, savvy World Series vet that he is, laces it in the gap for a double. Not to be outdone, Walker gets his fourth straight hit and second double to drive home another run. Suddenly, just like that, it’s tied. Lucky No. 7 for both clubs. Bottom of 6 Haren is still in there. In fact, he retired the side in order. Since entering the game with one out in the third, Haren has allowed just a pair of walks and hits. He’s also retired nine of the last 10 hitters he has faced. I just thought of something: the announcing team of Joe Buck and McCarver has some tight St. Louis ties. Buck, as everyone knows, is the play-by-play man during the season for the Cardinals, while McCarver played for the Cardinals from 1959 to 1969 and then again from 1973 to 1974. McCarver also played parts of the ’74 and ’75 seasons for the Red Sox so I guess that evens it out. Top of 7 Mike Timlin relieves Arroyo and faces Rolen to start the inning, who, coincidentally, were traded for one another. Timlin, obviously, got out of Philadelphia after an unhappy half season there. He was very bummed out about being traded from St. Louis to Philly. I think he got into a fight on the street on his first day in town. Yeah, fun guy. Either way, he retired the side in order so that Kelly Clarkson could sing “God Bless America.” Bottom of 7 La Russa yanks Haren after 69 pitches in favor of right-hander Kiko Calero, who immediately walks Bellhorn. Lefty Ray King is warming up in the bullpen, presumably to face Ortiz. The cameras show King (big friendly and chatty guy) standing there with his hands on his hips ready to come in, while Calero walks Cabrera and then allows Ramirez to belt a run-scoring single to center. Edmonds had a chance to nail Bellhorn with a good throw, but he airmailed it. So with runners on the corners, King finally comes in to face Ortiz, who promptly hits a grounder at Womack at second that takes a weird hop and nails the Cardinal square on the sternum just below his throat. Womack has to leave the game, they give Ortiz a single and moody Marlon Anderson enters. Had the ball not taken such a nasty bounce, King and the Cardinals would have escaped the inning trailing by just one run. Instead, King had to give way for Cal Eldred after Millar popped out and skipper Terry Francona called for right-hander Gabe Kapler to pinch hit for Trot Nixon. After Kapler whiffs, Fox shows Ramirez celebrating on his way to first after his hit instead of digging hard for second. What they didn’t say is that it was a typical Manny move. To call Ramirez dumb would be an insult to dumb people. It’s 9-7 with the bottom third of the lineup coming up for the Cardinals. Top of 8 Matheny singled with one out and as I was marking it in my book I noticed that he has two sacrifice flies in the game. I bet that’s a World Series record. From here on out, both managers will be making moves based on matchups. As soon as La Russa sends pitcher Jason Marquis to run for Matheny and Roger Cedeno to hit for Taguchi, Francona pops out of the dugout to hook Timlin and bring in lefty Alan Embree. Is it me or does Embree not look like a Civil War officer with his droopy mustache and big chaw of tobacco? Either way, Stonewall Embree gives up a flared single to right and exits as quickly as he entered. Interestingly, Francona taps closer Keith Foulke to get the final five outs. Still, if Foulke is going to earn the tough save, he’s going to have to do it against the meat of the Cardinals’ order… with two on, no less. Nevertheless, Foulke has not allowed a run in his last 11 outings (since Sept. 22), and has only given up five hits over that same span. Still, that doesn’t stop Renteria from slapping a single to left that somehow got Marquis home. Marquis made it to third easily enough, seemed content to stop there, but then appeared to have run through a stop sign and head home. He would have been out by a step if catcher Jason Varitek had been able to get the tag down. TV replays didn’t show what happened, but Ramirez was charged with an error on the play. TV replays did show Ramirez’s next error. As the absent-minded left fielder was attempting to slide to catch a fast-falling fly by Walker, his knee got stuck on the turf causing him to lurch forward as the ball bounced off his glove and toward the corner. Just like that, it’s all tied again. Bottom of 8 Julian Tavarez enters and his fastball seems to be moving all over the place. Unfortunately for him, and perhaps a water cooler and bat rack a bit later, he stuck one over the inside portion of the plate and Bellhorn crashed it off the Pesky Pole for a two-run donger. If this series is going to continue to be played this way, there are going to be a lot of nervous and sick people at the end of next week. Geez. What was it that I wrote about Bellhorn? Am I a sage or what? Top of 9 Tavarez quietly sat down in the visitor’s dugout at Fenway, but you know he wants to firebomb the place. Instead he gets to sit there and watch Foulke whiff Sanders on three pitches. Moody Marlon’s double to left forced the tying run to the plate, but Foulke got Yadier Molina to pop up and Cedeno to fan to end the game. The Red Sox are three wins away. WP: Foulke LP: Tavarez HR: Ortiz, Walker, Bellhorn. Fox just showed that 13 of the last 16 World Series winners have taken the first game and 59 of the 99 World Series winners have taken the first game. What they didn’t show was that the Red Sox have won Game 1 in 1986, 1975 and 1946. They lost all three of those. The didn’t forget to mention that the 20 runs are the most ever scored in a Game 1, or that Ortiz tied a club record with four RBIs in a World Series game. Carl Yastrzemski drove in four against the Cardinals
Plenty of hype during the pre-game, but not as much as one would expect… especially for a Game 7 started by Roger Clemens. Psycho Lyons related a funny comment by our boy Scotty Rolen, which I’ve heard and seen him say thousands of times.Damn! Why did the Phillies have to trade him? Top of 1 Craig Biggio leads off with a homer tight to the line in left. He quickly circles the bases with his head down, but when he gets back to the dugout and sits down with his helmet off, he suddenly looks old. There’s one for Astros. Bottom of 1 Clemens retires the side in order, but reaches a three-ball count on each hitter. Rocket throws 18 pitches in the inning – nine balls and nine strikes. Bob Brenly points out on the telecast that Clemens always battles against a high pitch count. “Sometimes he throws 100 pitches by the fifth inning,” Brenly exclaimed, as if it were an in-depth point. And sometimes he likes to wear women’s underwear, mince around the house and be called “Sapphire,” but no one ever mentions that. It’s still 1-0 for the ‘Stros. Top of 2 That Thom Brenneman has a wonderful speaking voice. It’s forceful, yet kind. No one should feel annoyed when he announces that Jeff Suppan walked leadoff hitter Jeff Kent. Nor does anyone mind that he spells his first name “Thom.” To me that spelling says that Thom is willing to take the extra step. He’s not going to cheat anyone by hiding the “H” like all those sissy boys named “Tom.” I like that. I recall seeing Thom walk into the bathroom in the press box at Citizens Bank Park between innings when his Arizona Diamondbacks were in town last May. Thom took a urinal next to his broadcasting partner Mark Grace, who, as everyone knows, might be the funniest of all the good guys in the history of the game. Anyway, Grace and Thom were taking a leak as I was washing my hands when one of their cronies came into the room and started giving Grace a hard about taking a whiz between innings. “Do you have time for that? What happens if you don’t make it back in time for the start of the inning? Aren’t you worried? You better hurry up,” the crony chided Grace. “Doesn’t take too long to drain something this small,” Grace laughed back. What a gem. Jim Edmonds made a fantastic diving catch to rob extra bases from Brad Ausmus. Edmonds often is accused of hot-dogging and intentionally taking a slow route to the ball in order to make diving, highlight-reel catches because he loves the attention that comes with being on ESPN. However, in the seventh game of the NLCS, Edmonds isn’t going to pull such a stunt. He truly made a dynamic catch. Thom exults it and it is replayed from three different angles and varying speeds before the Cardinals come up in the bottom half of the inning. Bottom of 2 Rolen leads off and flies to center on the second pitch. After Clemens threw 18 pitches in the first, shouldn’t Rolen make the old man work a little more? Making matters worse, Edmonds grounded weakly to second on the first pitch. That’s two outs on three pitches for Clemens. Reggie Sanders only takes a pitch before grounding to third. Six up and six down for Clemens on 23 pitches Top of 3 Missed the first part of the frame, but saw Carlos Beltran swipe second after drawing a walk. The stolen base coupled with an aggressive tag up on a routine fly to center helped Beltran score his record 12th run of the series when Edmonds’ throw skipped past Rolen at third. Beltran has yet to be caught stealing in 38 attempts as a National Leaguer. Too bad he won’t keep the streak going next season when he’s making $20 million with the Yankees. Bottom of 3 Tony Womack works Clemens to 2-2 before legging out a double to left-center. Mike Matheny smartly moves him over to third before pitcher Suppan lays down a perfect squeeze bunt. Great call by Tony La Russa. Womack timed it well by waiting for Clemens to commit to the plate before digging to the plate. Suppan can handle the bat pretty well for a pitcher. The only play was to first. The squeeze makes it 2-1 Top of 4 I need to go for a run. Maybe I’ll hit the road at 9:45 or 10 p.m. My son Michael had a bath and spent the evening at the Barnes & Noble with my wife. He’s going to have a bottle and go to bed while I contemplate running and watch Game 7. Jeff Kent, the hero in Game 5, leads off by getting hit by a pitch. Meanwhile, the commentators are talking about La Russa’s uncanny ability to steal signs. Pretty fascinating. Sometimes, they say, La Russa will stand behind the cameras at the end of the dugout so he can get a clean view at his target without getting caught. Morgan Ensberg singles to make it first and second with no outs. This gets the bullpen stirring for the Cardinals. Luckily for Suppan, he is able to get a ground out and a whiff from Brad Ausmus with runners on the corners. He gets Clemens to strikeout to wiggle out of the jam. I recall writing a bunch of deadline stories about Suppan in 2003 and noting that making a deal for him would be a good move both financially and with the rotation. Apparently, general manager Ed Wade did not see what I wrote. In case he stumbles on here, I’ll re-post those old stories here and here. Bottom of 4 Clemens sits down Larry Walker, Albert Pujols and Rolen in order. Of the 13 hitters he has faced, Clemens has thrown a first pitch strike to 11 hitters. Incidentally, Rolen is the only hitter he started with a pitch out of the zone. Through four innings, Clemens has thrown 53 pitches (36 strikes), while Suppan has hucked 77 pitches. Still 2-1. Top of 5 Beltran hits a screamer to Rolen, but the big boy gobbles it up for the second out. Bagwell skies one to the track in left to end a pretty uneventful frame. Suppan really needed an easy one, especially against those big bats. Bottom of 5 Thinking about that run but it’s raining. I hate running in the rain. Edmonds leads off with a single for just the second hit off Clemens. The commentators just pointed out that the last time the Red Sox made it to the World Series, Clemens started Game 6 and won his first Cy Young Award. As soon as this is pointed out, the big right-hander strikes out Sanders. Clemens, of course, was something of a novelty that summer of ’86. For those of us who didn’t live in New England, he kind of came out of nowhere. Actually, we knew about him because he struck out a record 15 hitters as a injury-riddled rookie in ’85, and had been the star pitcher for the College World Series-winning University of Texas, but he wasn’t a household name. It’s funny what a 24-win season followed by 18 more seasons of averaging 16 wins a year does for a guy. Anyway, Womack reached and was picked off by Ausmus thanks to a bad call by first-base umpire Eric Cooper. I wonder what that Jim Wolf is doing? Top of 6 Still raining. Looks like the run is off unless this game ends before midnight. I’d like to get one in sometime today. Now Thom is talking about the Astros’ crazy run to the playoffs. I think the run is best described by Paul Hagen in the Daily News. Wait a second… what happened to that inning? Looks like Suppan got out of it with 12 pitches. He’s up to 98 through six, but should be out of the game because he’s slated to leadoff the sixth. Bottom of 6 Roger Cedeno singles for Suppan. Good choice in a hitter, because Cedeno is 11-for-25 against Clemens. Try to figure that out. Edgar Renteria bunts him to second and good old Larry Walker, cut from the same cloth as Mark Grace, hits a dribbler to Clemens for the second out. Coincidentally, Walker and Biggio used to have some sort of communication via the bathroom in the visitor’s dugout at Veterans Stadium. I took a picture of it. How good is Albert Pujols? So good that he knows that Clemens is going to eventually throw him a fastball. He waits for it and laces a double to left to tie the game. Then, Rolen lines a first-pitch fastball over the fence in left to put the Cards up by two. Anyone who knows me knows what I think about Rolen. Don’t get me started on him, because I’m not allowed to root. It would interesting to hear what Rolen will say about his homer after the game. It will be even more interesting to hear what he says if his homer is the last hit Clemens allows in his career. I’m sure Scotty will tell his daughter about it. She’s due to arrive in January. Top of 7 Orlando Palmeiro pinch hits for Clemens with two outs and reliever Kiko Calero hits him. It’s the only hiccup in the inning as the Cards hold on to the 4-2 lead. Bottom of 7 Simple organ for the stretch. Sure is a far cry from Ronan Tynan at the Stadium. Meanwhile, the cameras zoomed in on Rolen during the playing of “God Bless America.” If the game holds with the current score, he’s the big star and Pujols is the MVP. Smartly, astros’ skipper Phil Garner taps 20-game winner Roy Oswalt to relieve Clemens. His first pitch bounces five feet in front of the plate, but he impressively retires the side in order by striking out two. Maybe Oswalt should have started in place of Clemens? Top of 8 Here comes crazy Julian Tavarez, the John Holmes of Major League Baseball. Yeah, that’s right. He’s also a bit crazy, but that’s pretty well documented. Renteria makes back-to-back good plays at short to retire Beltran and Jeff Bagwell. The Cardinals can smell it. Just for good measure, Renteria makes another stunning play, but when he rifles it to first, it smacks Tavarez on his glove-covered broken hand. Interesting. Bottom of 8 Old Phillie Marlon Anderson smacks a pinch double to start the frame. He comes around to score on Larry Walker’s single with two outs. The cardinals are so close they are starting to breathe heavy. You can see their hearts race. Top of 9 Jason Isringhausen takes the ball and quickly retires the first two hitters. La Russa looks like he needs oxygen. When the final out is recorded, the Cards look relieved and like they are going to break into a group cry. Why not, there are tons of guys on that team who have played a long time and never made it to the World Series. Larry Walker, Jim Edmonds are the old boys who are getting their first shot, while Rolen and Pujols are the kids who are stepping onto center stage. Then there are Sanders and Renteria, who seem to get to the Series every year. Good for them. For Rolen, he is getting what he left Philadelphia for. I wonder if all the headaches, arguments, back stabbings, name-calling, booing and mistreatment was worth it for Rolen. From the way his face looked when his pregnant wife Nikki ran out onto the field to join in the celebration, it looked like everything was worth it. A man saw his dream come true by smacking a homer. His wife, pregnant with his first child, came onto the field to hug him, all of the TV people wanted to talk to him and his teammates wanted to pour champagne on his head. How cool is that? Yeah, Philadelphia is a million miles away.