Julie Croteau, who pinch-ran in Game 2, and Lee Anne Ketcham, who hasn’t thrown a pitch yet in the Series, were invited to the teams’ barbecue Wednesday night, and they sat around trading funny stories with the major league stars.

“Remember in 1985, that guy we got in a trade, Jose Uribe?” Ozzie Smith said. “Did you know his real name was Jose Gonzalez? But he thought there were too many Joses playing, so he changed it to Uribe Gonzalez.

“Then he thought there were too many Gonzalezes, so he changed it to Jose Uribe.”

“He was the player to be named later,” Ripken said.

Everybody cracked up.

“Hey, Kirby,” Ozzie said, noticing Puckett’s second plate of barbecue,
“when they gonna put a weight clause in your contract?”

“They had one, but I renegotiated it.”

More laughter. Ketcham said, “you ever hear about the horse who played baseball?”

Everyone stopped. She was on her own now. “Um,” she stammered, “yeah, there was this horse that came to the manager and said, ‘I want to play for your team.’ So the manager said, ‘Let me see you hit.’ The horse took a bat in his teeth and hit a home run. ‘Not bad, let me see you catch.’ The horse ran out and caught everything in his teeth. ‘Pretty good,’ the manager said. ‘OK, last thing, let me see you run.’

“The horse looked at him and said, ‘Are you stupid? If I could run, I’d be at Belmont.”

Dead silence. And then Kirk Gibson, of all people, chuckled, and then he laughed a little — he was trying not to — and Smith laughed, and Ripken laughed, and pretty soon they were laughing. Except Yogi Berra.

“So wait,” Yogi said. “Did he sign the horse or not?”

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