No doubt many of you plan to stay up late the next nine days to watch the World Series.
And no doubt many of you will find yourselves at 3 a.m., stretched across the couch, with your mouth open like a fish. And suddenly, you wake, and say,
“Grrpl . . . zzt . . . uh . . . who won?”
Well. Never fear. I am here to make things easier. I am here to save your couch. I am here to explain what will happen in this World Series between the
Cardinals and Twins.
Even before it happens.
GAME 1: We open at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. I said: “WE OPEN AT THE METRODOME IN MINNEAPOLIS! Never mind. You can’t hear anything here anyhow. The Twins take the field and are given a standing ovation. They throw the ball around the horn, and are given a standing ovation. Frank Viola tosses eight warm-up pitches. And is given a standing ovation. In the bottom of the first, Dan Gladden draws a leadoff walk. He then steals second, third and home. The Twins win, 1-0. In a typical, low- key response, a parade is organized, and the mayor of Minneapolis declares the next day a holiday — no school, all businesses closed. “But it’s Sunday,” someone tells him. “WHAT?” he says, rubbing his ears. “WHAT? ARE YOU SPEAKING?”
GAME 2: Danny Cox takes the mound for St. Louis. He retires the first 26 Twins in order, as the Cardinals build a 3-0 lead. Things look bad for the home team. But the man running the PA system at the Metrodome — which is really a giant disco during the winter — has a plan. Knowing that Cox was born in Northhampton, England, he slips on “God Save The Queen” in the middle of a 3-2 delivery. Cox leaps to attention. His curveball lands in the dirt. Ball four. This happens seven straight times, and the Twins win, 4-3.
GAME 3: The scene shifts to St. Louis. The Cardinals’ running game is revitalized. Vince Coleman steals five bases. Willie McGee steals four. Still, the game stays close. It’s tied, 7-7, in the ninth, when a Tony Pena fly ball is misplayed by Twins outfielder Tom Brunansky, allowing the winning run to score. “I looked up,” says Brunansky “and I saw this round white thing, and I went to catch it, but it didn’t move.”
“Tom,” someone says, “that was the moon.”
“Unfair!” snarls Brunansky. “We don’t have that stuff in the Metrodome!”‘
GAME 4: Busch Stadium is filled with fans waving cowbells. Some even put them around their necks and moo. The game stays close until the ninth, when Twins starting pitcher Joe Niekro is thrown out after an emery board is discovered in his shoe. “It’s for my toenails,” he insists. “A man can’t pitch without trim toenails.” Jeff Reardon is brought in. Ozzie Smith cracks his first pitch over the left-field wall. St. Louis fans chant: “OZ- ZIE! OZ-ZIE!” Twins fans counter with: “HARRIET! HARRIET!” Meanwhile, the nation’s sports writers, still upset that their trips to San Francisco were ruined when the Giants lost, decide to charter a plane and go there anyhow. After all, how much time can you spend looking at an arch?
GAME 5: Cardinals win, 5-4. At least that’s what the radio says in San Francisco.
GAME 6: Back to Minneapolis, where the Metrodome is crammed with 55,000 screaming fans. I said: “THE METRODOME IS CRAMMED WITH–” Never mind. Don Baylor, the veteran, is seen holding a newspaper clip from 1985 and whispering to the Twins’ clubhouse man. Next thing you know, Vince Coleman is eaten by the tarp. “Not this again,” moan the St Louis players. Without their leadoff man, the Cards are no threat. Minnesota wins, 14-1, on home runs by Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, Gary Gaetti, Randy Bush, Steve Lombardozzi and Winny the Wonder Hog.
“You miss Vince?” someone asks manager Whitey Herzog.
“DINNER MINTS?” he says, rubbing his ears.
“Never mind,” comes the answer.
GAME 7: A second holiday is declared in Minneapolis, even though, once again, it is Sunday. A record crowd of 60,000 packs the Metrodome, and 10,000 more hide behind the blue shower curtain that is the right-field wall. “What are you people doing back there?” a guard asks them. “Nothing. Got any soap?” they answer. Meanwhile, the game is a shutout until the sixth inning, when Greg Gagne hits a double. Kirby Puckett steps in, and cracks a triple down the line, scoring Gagne, who celebrates with an ice cream cup. “GAG-NE WITH A SPOON!” reads the scoreboard.
The crowd is roaring like thunder. But the Cards rally back. They put a man on third, with two out in the ninth. Out steps Jack Clark, his injured foot wrapped in plaster. Only a home run will win it. And — WHACK! the ball goes high and deep and hits the shower-curtain wall. “Ouch!” comes a strange voice. But the home run stands. The Cardinals win. Or will win, when Clark’s foot heals enough for him to run the bases. Until then, the teams are forced to live inside the Metrodome, eating bratwurst and drinking Coke and listening to that non-stop noise.
“Great series,” someone says to Herzog.
“LAKE ERIE?” he says.
“Never mind,” comes the answer.