Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Saturday, Oct. 29.
First and foremost, this is my 300th edition of this blog. I want to thank each and every one of you who read it, comment on it and generally want to make me keep writing. In the postseason, while there will be fewer blog entries I will be working on my memoir, ” “Baseball As I Saw It,” about my youth and the dozen years I spent broadcasting baseball for a living. I hope some of you will read this book when it comes out. Again, thanks to all of you who helped me hit 300.
Last night, the wind was blowing a gale out toward Waveland Avenue. That’s usually the ingredient for a slugfest. So, what did we get? A 1-0 Indians’ win over the Cubs in game 3 of the World Series. It’s the second 1-0 loss Kyle Hendricks has been part of, although he was gone long before the Indians scored. Hendricks was out in the fifth, and it was still scoreless in the 7th when the Tribe scored the only run either team would get. Coming off the bench, Coco Crisp put up a pinch-hit RBI single driving in Michael Martinez from third. As a result, the Indians are ahead 2 games to 1, having won the first World Series game at Wrigley since October 9, 1945 when the Tigers mutilated the Cubs 9–3 in game 7 of that World Series. By shutting the Cubs’ bats down cold, the Tribe have now hurled 5 shutouts in the postseason, something no team has done.
The bars surrounding the park were crowded early yesterday morning, and their tariffs weren’t cheap. In one case, $100.00 would get you in the door, $250 would get you food and a couple of drinks, but a table to enjoy them at would cost you a thousand dollars-an amount that was called “a grand” in the days of the Cubs’ last World Series. Meantime in downtown Cleveland, over 20,000 fans came out to watch the game on their stadium’s video board. This will be repeated for games 4 and 5 with money raised to go to MLB and Indians’ charities. I don’t know if food and drink were as inflated as they were for roistering Cubs’ fans some 350 miles further west. At Wrigley, 41,703 actually made it into the stadium. If I may be excused for sounding like radio broadcaster Bill Corrum introducing the celebs before a boxing match, the crowd was star-studded indeed at the antique ball park. Bill Murray (GhostBusters, Meat Balls, Caddy Shack, Stripes) sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” at the 7th-inning stretch, a custom only a few years older than Wrigley Field. Rock singer Eddie Vedder was on hand. So was Jon Hamm, best known for the series “Mad Men.” Former Cubs’ infielder Derrek Lee was in attendance along with pitcher Ryan Dempster and Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg who was on assignment with the Cubs’ flagship station WSCR. Those in attendance didn’t get to watch their team do as much as score a single run. The closest the home team got was in their last atbat in the 9th when they had runners at second and third and two out, shades of the 1962 Giants against the Yankees. But instead of the high dramatics of Willie’ Mays’ line shot to Bobby Richardson to end things, the Cubs ended with a whimper as Javier Baez struck out. In spite of the 1-0 score, neither starter made it through the fifth inning. Rather than starter Josh Tomlin, the win went to Andrew Miller who was hit for by Crisp who drove home the winning run. The loss went to Carl Edwards JR., (no relation to the NASCAR racer) who hit the wall in the 7th inning.
For Indians’ manager Terry Francona the next step seems obvious. Corey Kluber who shut the Cubs out in game 1 is going on 3 days rest and pitching in the enemy ball park. He struck out 8 of the first 9 outs he got in game 1. Francona’s hope is that lightning can strike twice, which would put his Indians up 3 games to 1. The Cubs will turn to the tried and true veteran John Lackey who is making his 7th appearance in a World Series game since 2002. He’s the man who started game 7 of that 2002 series when the Angels upset Barry Bonds and the Giants. While he has no decisions this year, the Cubs have won both games started by the 38-year-old Lackey.
A two-time World Series winner, Pete Richert (pronounced Rickert) is 77 today. He pitched from the bull pen for both the 1963 Dodgers and 1970 Orioles. In his Dodgers’ debut in April 1962 he struck out the first 6 men he saw from the bull pen. The first 3 were solid hitters Vada Pinson, Hall of Famer Frank Robinson and Gordy Coleman. 4 of those K’s were in one inning. No other pitcher has struck out 4 men in one inning of his MLB debut. He was traded to the Senators the year before the Dodgers won the 1965 World Series, and was still in Washington while their neighbor to the north, the Orioles won the 1966 World Series. He got to Baltimore in time to lose the 1971 and 1969 World Series while beating the Reds in 1970.0