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October 12, 1999 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-10-12

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12 The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 12, 1999

Mets just love their
ghost of a chance

Pedro, Red Sox
storm past ribe

Los Angeles Times
NEW YORK - Held triumphantly
overhead by a young lady in the twi-
light at Shea Stadium Saturday, the
sign read:
"Yo. Chipper, Get Ready to Get
Chopped."
She could easily have been speak-
ing for her favorite team. Make no
mistake, this is what the New York
Mets wanted. They wanted another
crack at the Team of the Decade.
They wanted the Atlanta Braves as
much as they want the New York
Yankees in a Subway World Series,
although that may be an embellish-
ment.
"This is special," relief pitcher
Turk Wendell said amid the cham-
pagne showers in the Mets' club-
house after they had eliminated the
Arizona Diamondbacks in four
games of the division series, "but it
will be that much more special once
we beat the Braves."
Fighting words?
Well, the Mets get a chance to
make it happen starting tonight in the
National League Championship
Series at Turner Field.
And if the Braves are now saying
they expected the Mets to be here all
along, well, that's not what the Mets
thought they heard from the Braves
when they last played.
They thought they heard adrena-
line-stoked John Rocker saying how
much he hated the Mets.
They thought they heard Rocker
and others saying the Mets were
dead.
Of course, at that point in the last
week of the regular season, the Mets
did appear dead - eliminated from
Ihe Eastern Division race and virtu-
ally out of wild-card hope.
They had been swept by the Braves
in a three-game series in Atlanta as
Chipper Jones all but sewed up the
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National League's award for most
valuable player. They had lost seven
in a row before winning the middle
game of another three-game series
with the Braves, who won two of
those three games in the next-to-last
series of the regular season.
Now?
Well, as Met Manager Bobby
Valentine said Saturday after the riv-
eting victory over the Arizona
Diamondbacks: "The next team we
play is going to be playing against
ghosts because they said we were
dead. I don't know if they ever
played against people coming back
from the grave."
The Mets came back by sweeping
the Pittsburgh Pirates on the final
weekend of the regular season, rout-
ing the Cincinnati Reds in the wild-
card playoff and ousting Arizona by
first beating Randy Johnson and then
winning two in a row at Shea
Stadium without an injured Mike
Piazza.
"Our heart's still pumping," the
catalytic Rickey Henderson said
amid Saturday's celebration. "The
Braves left the last time and felt we
were no match for them. They felt we
were dead and wouldn't get the
opportunity to see them again. I'm
real happy to see them again. We're
coming back alive."
They are coming back with seven
wins in their last eight games. They
are coming back with people named
Todd Pratt and Melvin Mora and
Benny Agbayani helping to sustain
the momentum.
"You couldn't write a better
script," said Piazza, whose swollen
thumb prevented him from gripping
a bat Saturday but didn't stop him
from handling a bottle of cham-
pagne. "We're not about one person.
We're getting contributions from
everybody, and that's what it takes to
win in the postseason.
"Everyone in the National League
knows that to reach the World Series
you have to go through Atlanta. It's
the one hurdle people will be looking
at us to get over and wondering if we
can, but I think we can. We've
become a different team than the one
that last played Atlanta. Maybe the
best thing that happened to us was
that we got all of that negative ener-
gy out of here. We hit bottom and
bounced back. Now we're relaxed
and riding a wave."
Of course, dude, it's a long way
between rhetoric and reality, and the
Braves know all about riding a wave.
They've won eight straight divisioi
titles. They won nine of 12 from the
Mets during the regular season and

AP Photo
Shortstop sensation Rey Ordonez is hoisted by a teammate after the Mets' 4-3
extra-inning victory Saturday, capping off the National League Division Series.

three in a row from the Houston
Astros after losing the opener of
their division series.
They have Greg Maddux, Kevin
Millwood, Tom Glavine and John
Smoltz set to throw their Cy Young
awards at the Mets.
(OK, Millwood hasn't won one
yet, but give him time.)
The smart thing might be for the
Mets to temper their cockiness and
leave the "Yo, Chipper" signs at
home, but who wouldn't be a little
giddy at having produced a second
life? Valentine hugged dapper co-
owner Fred Wilpon Saturday and
said, "Ain't it great? And we're just
getting started."
Perhaps. The Mets did get team-
wide contributions against Arizona,
and starters Al Leiter, Rick Reed,
Kenny Rogers and Masato Yoshii,
who is expected to start Tuesday,
have probably never been in better
form during a season that has now
produced 100 wins.
Then there's Valentine, of whom a
top Atlanta scout said Sunday, "You
can say anything you want about his
ego and his mouth, and it would
probably be accurate, but he knows.
how to run a game. He has the right.
people in the right place at the right
time, and he has the Mets at the top
of their game despite everything they
went through earlier. Sparky
Anderso, would say a lot of things,

and you knew he was trving to take
the pressure off his phayrs and put it
on himself. Maybe that's Bobby's
motivation, although Spark never
went as far with the things he said as.
Bobby does."
The latest "ill-timed fire," as
General Manager Steve Phillips put
it, involved a Sports Illustrated pro-
file that was released before Game 3
of the di vision series with the
Diamondbacks.
Valentine was quoted as saying
that he had five losers in the club-
house and not a lot of intelligent
players. He held a clubhouse meeting
before that game and ;aid he was
sorry if he offended none but "if
the shoe fits, wear i."
"We're obv iously. going to keep
hearing a lot about that in the next
week," Met center fielder Darryl
Hamilton said in the clubhouse
Saturday, "but we've come too far to
worry about it, talk about it, or lose
sleep over what he says or what he
thinks. We're still playing and the.
guys are still believing."
A special group of guys, the victo-
rious Valentine said Saturday of the
same group he had described as lack-
ing, intelligence and being losers.
Whichever and whatever, the Mets
head to Atlanta as division series
winners. They are alive, well and
playing the team they wanted to be
playing

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Boston
Red Sox encircled Pedro Martinez in
their clubhouse, pouring champagne on
their star pitcher as the walls shook to a
salsa beat.
If Martinez didn't completely exor-
cise Boston's curse, he certainly found a
temporary cure.
Just three days after he and his team
were both counted out, Martinez
brought the Red Sox all the way back.
After dropping the first two games
and losing Martinez and Nomar
Garciaparra to injuries, the Red Sox out-
slugged the Cleveland Indians 12-8 last
night to win Game 5 of their first-round
playoff series and advance to an AL
championship series matchup with the
New York Yankees.
"You might say we're celebrating a lit-
tle too hard," pitcher Bret Saberhagen
said in the middle of the Red Sox party.
"But after a series like this, you have to
kick off your shoes a little bit."
Making a surprise relief appearance,
Martinez pitched six hitless innings and
struck out eight.
"I wouldn't come out," Martinez said.
"As long as I was able to throw the ball
over the plate, I was going to stay in
there."
Troy O'Leary supplied the offense,
twice thwarting the Indians' strategy of
intentionally walking Garciaparra by
driving in seven runs with a pair of
homers - including the first postseason
grand slam in Red Sox history.
With the shocking win, the wild-card
Red Sox will play their hated rival in the
postseason for the first time, starting
Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.
It was too early for manager Jimy
Williams to begin worrying about pitch-
ing matchups against the defending
World Series champions.
"Who we going to pitch?" he said.
"What day is it?"
The five games were a blur of come-
backs, injuries, pitching changes and
runs, runs and runs - 79 in all, three
short of the record for postseason series.
O'Leary, who went 0-for-6 in Game
4, hit his slam in the third and snapped
an 8-8 tie in the seventh with a three-run
homer as the Red Sox, trying for their
first World Series title since 1918,
became the fifth major league team to
rally from an 0-2 deficit in a best-of-5
playoff series.
Martinez pulled himself from his start

DiamondWJA on
National League
Championship Series
Atlanta vs. N.Y. Mets
Game 1: Tonight, 8:12, Atlanta
Game 2: Tomorrow, 4:09, Atlanta
Game 3: Friday, 8:12, New York
Game 4: Saturday, 7:42, New York
Game 5: Sunday, 4:09, New York*
Game 6: Tuesday, 8:12, Atlanta*
Game 7: Wednesday, 8:12, Atlanta*
American League
Championship Series
Boston vs. N.Y. Yankees
Game 1: Tomorrow 8:15, New York
Game 2. Thursday, 8:15, New York
Game 3: Saturday, 4:19, Boston
Game 4: Sunday, 4:50, Boston
Game 5: Monday, 8:15, Boston*
Game 6: Wednesday 4:19, New York*
Game 7: Thursday, 8:15, New York*
* if necessary
in the opener after four innings with a
strained muscle in his back. And it got@
worse for the Red Sox when Garciaparra
was unable to go in Game 3 because of
an injured wrist.
But Boston pounced on Cleveland's
shaky pitching staff, scoring nine runs in
Game 3 before shattering records with
their 23-7 rout in Game 4.
But Martinez brought some sanity to a
series of atrocious pitching, putting an
exclamation point on his dominating
1999 season. The right-hander, who
went 23-4 during the regular season, will
now get a chance to pitch the Red Sox
back to the World Series for the first
time since 1986,
"He couldn't even pick up the ball two
days' ago," Saberhagen said, ."and was
almost in tears. He's just the most unbe-
lievable pitcher I've ever seen in my life."
Meanwhile, the Indians, who have
been waiting since 1948 to win a Series,
were denied a third straight trip to the*
ALCS when their pitching staff col-
lapsed.

AP Photo
Cleveland's hopes died once Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez entered the game In the
fourth inning yesterday. Martinez didn't allow a hit and struck out eight in six innings.

DAILY SPORTS.

There are

London...........$472
Paris ..............$496
New York.......$270
Amsterdam.....$583

Thera are,
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