World Series notebook

Monday, October 23rd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

On what grounds?

Mets manager Bobby Valentine made a couple of pointed remarks before Sunday's Game 2 about how soft the dirt in front of home plate was in Game 1. Valentine referred to it as "a sandbox," although he acknowleged his players Todd Zeile and Jay Payton were wrong not to run hard after chopping grounders into it when they were easily retired.

"I know we've had trouble with it ourselves, and a lot of it has to do with the weather," Yankees manager Joe Torre said, dismissing the notion that the field was doctored. "We don't play around with it. The Dodgers used to do that a lot, and that's probably why [Valentine, a former Dodger] is mentioning it." –Ken Daley

Viz Kid returns

After having four hits in Game 1, including the game-winner in the 12th inning, Jose Vizcaino was back in the lineup as the Yankees' starting second baseman.

"[Saturday], he was in there because the matchups [with Mets starter Al Leiter] were good," Yankees manager Joe Torre explained. "Today, he's in there because he's good." –Ken Daley

Stressful time

Yankees GM Brian Cashman said Saturday's Series opener was hard to take, even with his team emerging on the winning side.

"A game like that was one of the best games to watch," Cashman said, "but it wasn't healthy for you when you live and die with every pitch." –Ken Daley

Cruise control

An 'A' list of celebrities attending Saturday's Game 1 (including Jack Nicholson, Billy Crystal and Susan Sarandon) gained more star power Sunday. Actor Tom Cruise was a guest in the box of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. –Ken Daley

New York marathon

Playing an extra-long game in Saturday's World Series opener is nothing new for the Mets. Saturday's 12-inning game, which took 4 hours, 51 minutes, was the longest game in World Series history in terms of time elapsed.

The Mets, however, also played the longest postseason game in history, taking 5:46 to beat Atlanta in Game 5 of last year's National League Championship Series. In the NL Division Series earlier in the month, the Mets took 5:22 to beat San Francisco in Game 3.

Going into Game 2, the Mets had gone to extra innings in six of their 20 post-season games over the last two seasons. The Mets have nine extra-inning wins in their post-season history. Only the Yankees (13) and Atlanta (10) have more. –Evan Grant

Harris hits

For the second consecutive night, Mets manager Bobby Valentine bypassed Bubba Trammell in forming his lineup, even though Trammell had better statistics against the Yankees starter than any of his other options at designated hitter.

Claiming that being the designated hitter was a lot like pinch-hitting, Valentine put Lenny Harris in his lineup. Harris batted seventh. Harris, who had three at-bats in the Mets' first 10 post-season games, seemed to be an odd choice. Harris was hitless in six at-bats against Yankees starter Roger Clemens. He also is a left-handed hitter, and Clemens held lefties to a .206 average this season, while right-handed hitters batted .267. Valentine said he chose Harris for the lineup because he had 130 career pinch hits.

Trammell, whose two-run pinch-hit single tied Game 1, was 2-for-5 with a home run against Clemens. In addition, he hits right-handed. –Evan Grant

Briefly ...

Despite getting hit twice with pitches, fouling another off his foot and having a couple hit him while he was behind the plate in Game 1, Mets backup catcher Todd Pratt reported no problems. Pratt, however, was not in the lineup Sunday. ... Mets general manager Steve Phillips said playoff failures of closer Armando Benitez would not affect the Mets' decision on whether or not to re-sign setup man John Franco. Franco, a left-hander, can be a free agent at the end of the World Series. It's expected that Franco, who lives in Staten Island, will re-sign with the Mets. ... Mets pitchers threw five shutout innings to start Game 1, extending the staff's scoreless innings streak to 18. The Mets already had a 26-inning streak earlier in the post-season. –Evan Grant

From the tabloids

While the first game was a World Series classic, the headlines in New York's rival tabloids continue to be mostly tepid.

On Sunday, while the Daily News trumpeted ``Yanks Magic,'' as its lead headline, the Post was a bit more creative. In regards to Jose Vizcaino's game-winning hit, the Post proclaimed ``Viz Kid!'' on its front. –Evan Grant