You want to know how the World Series turns? You’ve come to the right place . . .
GAME 1: Controversy erupts before the first pitch is thrown when Reds owner Marge Schott demands her entire team wear dog ears during the national anthem. “You’ll look just like my dog, Schottzie!” says Schott. “No way,” says Ron Oester. “OK, you’re fired,” says Schott. The Reds quickly pull the ears over their heads. By the time the Oakland Athletics stop laughing, it is the eighth inning. Dave Stewart is working on a no-hitter. Willie Randolph has two home runs. The Reds batters are completely flustered, since those dog ears keep flopping in their faces whenever they swing. Oakland wins easily, 9-0. Jose Rijo and Rob Dibble, who have sworn not to talk to the press during the entire World Series, keep their word. They don’t talk. On his way out, however, Dibble is heard to say “woof.”
Later, when the stadium is empty, a lonely figure is seen sliding headfirst into second base.
GAME 2: A pitchers’ duel, Bob Welch vs. Danny Jackson. Each has a shutout going into the ninth inning. With two out, Eric Davis pounds a Welch fastball into centerfield for a triple. Marge Schott comes running onto the basepath.
“Here,” she says to Davis, “wear this!” “A flea collar?” says Davis. “You want me to wear a flea collar?” “You like your job here?” says Schott. Davis puts it on. Welch, the pitcher, takes one look at Davis, then doubles over in laughter. And Davis steals home. The Reds win, 1-0.
After the game, a lonely figure is seen hustling from home plate to first.
OFF DAY: The Athletics work on their sports cars. The Reds go for rabies shots.
GAME 3: M.C. Hammer, who used to be a ball boy for the Athletics, is in Oakland to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. “Can’t touch this,” he says. He then zips the ball 10 feet over Terry Steinbach’s head. “Told you,’ says Hammer. When the game begins, it is apparent this will be the Athletics’ night. They get consecutive home runs from Rickey Henderson, Carney Lansford, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Harold Baines, Dave Henderson — and Kirk Gibson, Cecil Fielder and Darryl Strawberry, whom Tony La Russa acquired on the off-day “just for a little insurance.” The Athletics win, 26-0, after Dennis Eckersley gets the last three outs on three pitches. None of the Reds are available for postgame interviews. Instead, reporters can talk to another Cincinnati coach, Sam Wyche, but only if they take their clothes off.
When the Oakland Coliseum is dark, a lonely figure is seen taking practice swings at home plate.
GAME 4: The Reds must play this game shorthanded, as Barry Larkin, Chris Sabo and Hal Morris, all former Michigan players, decide to fly home for the Michigan-Iowa football game. “We can’t allow those stupid referees to steal another one from us,” they say. Marge Schott packs their bags; She drops a doggie biscuit in each. Meanwhile, the game begins. Stewart pitches well until the ninth, when he is relieved by Eckersley, who retires the last three Reds just by looking at them. The Athletics win, 4-0, but the victory is overshadowed by umpire Terry Cooney, who ejects Rijo in the third inning. “I didn’t like the way he was looking at me,” Cooney says, “So I yelled to him,
‘I hope you’re not looking at me.’ And he said, ‘I have to look at you. You’re behind the catcher.’ So I threw him out. I can’t have players embarrassing me like that.”
After the game, a lonely figure is seen doing calisthenics in the outfield.
GAME 5: As punishment for losing the last two games, Marge Schott makes all her players sit in the corner. “Stay,” she says. They stay all day. This gives Lou Piniella enough time to draw up 40 pages of strategy. When the game finally starts, he has moved Eric Davis to first base, Luis Quinones to centerfield and Rob Dibble to starting pitcher. The Athletics are confused, and the Reds jump to a quick 6-2 lead. They win when Piniella orders all his players to groan “Oh, my aching back!’ when Jose Canseco comes to the plate in the bottom of the ninth. Canseco strikes out. Afterward, Piniella receives a telegram. “How would you like to work for me?” It is signed George Steinbrenner. “Never heard of him,”‘ says Piniella. “He a new guy?”
After the game, a lonely figure is seen heading for the airport.
OFF DAY: The Athletics work on their stock portfolios. The Reds win first prize at the New York Kennel Club.
GAME 6: It’s back to Cincinnati, where, according to Marge Schott’s wishes, all fans must wear a leash before entering the stadium. “Oh, Schotzzie!” she squeals to her ever-present pet. “Isn’t this exciting?” Schottzie yawns, then throws up in her lap. The game begins, and it’s a home run derby. Canseco, McGwire, Sabo, Davis and Steinbach all hit dingers. In the bottom of the ninth, the Athletics lead, 15-14. Piniella, desperate for a run, calls upon Tony Perez, Joe Morgan and Johnny Bench, who have come out of retirement for this game. Perez and Morgan strike out. Bench steps in to face Eckersley. “Come on, hot shot,” Bench says. Eckersley looks at him, blows a breath, and Bench falls over. The Athletics win. Canseco and Henderson leap into each others’ arms and scream, “Let’s ask for $10 million a year!” Stewart is named MVP. La Russa is named Chairman of AT&T.
Meanwhile, a lonely figure is seen entering the prison bank. He asks for a deposit slip. “I never bet on my team,” he says, grinning. “But I never said nothing about betting on Oakland . . . ”