Saturday, May 5, 2018

GUEST POST: David Lippman’s Trip to Game 3 of the 1999 World Series



1999 World Series Game Three October 26, 1996
Atlanta Braves vs. New York Yankees
By David H. Lippman

                My brother couldn’t use his tickets, so that was the only reason my wife Kathy and I were there. Kathy wasn’t sure she wanted to go. She had just endured the 14-inning National League Championship Series nightmare at Shea Stadium ended by Robin Ventura’s “grand slam single” amid pouring rain and vexatious sinuses and didn’t want to put up with another freezing and rainy night at the ballpark. But it was likely our only chance to see a real World Series game.
            
    As usual on both Yankee game night and Manhattan rush hour, the Lexington Avenue northbound express was jammed, with a hat trick of Yuppies heading home to the Upper East Side in chic power suits, working-class Latinos and blacks in jeans and denim, and Yankee fans in pinstriped shirts and dark blue t-shirts with that interlocking “NY.” It was a cheerier version of the “Last Train from Barcelona.”
             
   The game was a critical moment for the visiting Atlanta Braves and the New York Yankees alike. The Yankees had burned Atlanta in the first two games there, 4-1 and 7-3, and were now leading the World Series 2-0. The Yankees were fighting to keep up with the endless and implacable demands of their history. Tonight’s win would give them a commanding lead in the series. More importantly, it would set a major league record of 10 consecutive World Series wins, a trail dating back to 1996. It would also be their 100th World Series game win. As Kathy and I navigated through the crowd outside Yankee Stadium to get the lanyards for our tickets, I felt as if the ancient stadium and its ghosts seemed to be staring down at the present team, arms folded in judgment.
          
      Our seats were in Yankee Stadium’s upper deck in right field, which made the contestants appear like miniatures in the distance. We could not see the right field outfield wall below us and would have to rely on replay screens to tell us what was going on. Game time temperature was a tolerable 57 degrees but began to fall in the October cold.
           
     Two of the teams’ titans were facing off: The Braves’ Tommy Glavine, a future 300-game winner and Hall of Famer, against the Yankees’ Andy Pettitte, a member of the “Core Four,” whose Number 46 would ultimately be retired and honored in Monument Park. Both were control pitchers, with superb location. Pettitte’s signature was his peering down at the batter with the beak of his cap slightly covering his eyes, to give an aura of menace.
           
     I had never really learned to appreciate Andy Pettitte. In 1998, he’d had a tough year. In 1999, he’d had a dreadful first half. But he bore down in the second half. Only when he left for a three-year sabbatical in Houston did I realize his toughness. Andy’s later replacements – mediocrities like Javier Vazquez, Kevin Brown, and Jon Lieber – never showed the essential ferocity the Yankees needed in the post-season.
              
  But this chilly evening, it was the Andy Pettitte I did not appreciate, and as I began filling in the batting orders on the immense World Series scorebook in my hands, I feared that the Atlanta offense would finally show up and show the Yankees up.
          
      Before the game, the usual ceremonies: Challenger the tame bald eagle flew in from the visitors’ bullpen beyond left field to home plate, taking his time, in a very neat parabolic arc to his handler at home plate. United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, wearing an official World Series jacket, threw out the first pitch, to display New York’s role as an international capital and baseball as an international game. As a pitcher, he was a great diplomat.
           
     Pettitte went to work on leadoff hitter Gerald Williams, who lashed a single to right field. He moved to third on a Bret Boone double. Chipper Jones, universally loathed by New York baseball fans because he hit Met and Yankee pitching with equal impunity, dribbled a ground ball to third baseman Scott Brosius. The normally sure-gloved Brosius intended to throw home to nail Williams at the plate but could not scoop up the ball on the first try. He had to settle for erasing Jones at first, and the run scored. So far, Pettitte appeared to be hitting the inside and outside corners with his tricky stuff with his usual effectiveness.
             
   The Yankees struck back at Glavine in the first inning when leadoff hitter Chuck Knoblauch belted a double to right. He moved to third on a sharp Derek Jeter line out to right and scored when Paul O’Neill smacked a line drive to right that popped out of Brian Jordan’s glove for an error. A rally was building that was ended seconds later when Bernie Williams hit another liner, this time straight at first baseman Brian Hunter, who stepped on first base for the inning’s final out.
           
     The score remained tied at 1-1 until the top of the third, but it was clear that Pettitte did not have his best stuff, putting two runners on in the second inning, and coughing up a wild pitch. Meanwhile, Glavine, who had missed starting Game One with a stomach virus, was popping his way through the Yankee lineup with pinpoint control on his sinking fastball. In my scorecard, I wrote, “Pettitte is doing his Ron Darling imitation, being tentative…intimidated... falling behind hitters.”
          
      Pettitte got into trouble in the third. Second Baseman Bret Boone greeted him with a double to center and moved to third on a Chipper Jones grounder to short. Right Fielder Brian Jordan singled Boone home. Center Fielder Andruw Jones singled Jordan to second, bringing up DH Jose Hernandez, who bashed a double to left field, scoring both runners. The Braves now led 4-1, with a runner on second and one out. A line out and fly out ended the rally, but not before Braves fans near us brandishing elaborate and illuminated Tomahawks did the “Tomahawk chop” to support their team.
             
   Matters worsened in the top of the fourth, when Left Fielder Gerald Williams smacked a one-out triple to center, and Bret Boone bashed another double, this one to left, scoring Williams. The Braves now led 5-1, the Stadium was a lot quieter, and I was feeling colder. With a win here and John Smoltz providing another one tomorrow, the Braves could tie up the Series and go back to Atlanta, no DH, and a crowd full of “Tomahawk choppers” out for Yankee blood.
           
     After Boone was caught stealing third, Chipper Jones singled to center, and Yankee Manager Joe Torre shuffled out to the mound to remove the puzzled Pettitte, summoning the reliable Jason Grimsley. Torre gave Grimsley his usual simple brief for these situations: “Hold them here and get yourself a win.”[i] While Torre did so, Derek Jeter and Chuck Knoblauch, trying to keep warm in the cold, told each other the same thing.
            
    They were right. The tide began to turn in the bottom of the sixth. Left fielder Chad Curtis led off against Glavine, who was still locating his pitches perfectly.
             
   Chad Curtis had a public reputation as a solid offensive and defensive outfielder. Like a number of ballplayers, he was openly Christian, giving credit to God for his successes in postgame interviews. However, he annoyed his less-devout teammates by constantly trying to aggressively proselytize his narrow brand of Christianity to them. He pressured team leaders Jeter and David Cone to convert – both rebuffed him. Curtis threw out the dirty magazines players kept in the toilets. When Yankee management asked Curtis to keep an eye on Chuck Knoblauch, fearing that his partying habits were the cause of Chuck’s wild throws, Curtis took the assignment to an extreme – he would pound on the second baseman’s hotel room door to make sure he was there. When Curtis played for Cleveland, he got into a punching match with imposing teammate and former MVP Kevin Mitchell in the clubhouse, over Mitchell playing a rap song in the clubhouse. Mitchell threw Curtis over a ping-pong table and Curtis suffered bruises that necessitated a trip to the 15-day disabled list. When Curtis played in Texas, he would shut off the “Jerry Springer Show” if it played on the clubhouse TV before the game.[ii]
           
     Perhaps most annoying to the Yankee management was that on August 9 of that season, the Yankees got into a fight with the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field, started by the usual cause – warning hit batsmen after home runs. The two teams emptied onto the field, but Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, then still friends, met up, and pretended to hit each other, laughing and joking. Neither players were aware that the portly, beloved, and fragile Yankee coach Don Zimmer had been knocked to the ground and needed help getting on his feet.
           
     Curtis saw this odd behavior. When the fight ended 15 minutes later, and the Yankees returned to the dugout, Curtis confronted Jeter, yelling, “You are a good player, but you don’t know how to play the game.”
            
    Jeter told Curtis to “get out of my face” several times. The confrontation continued in the postgame clubhouse, in full view of the media, when Curtis approached Jeter, and the shortstop, aware of his image and the penalties that could result for physical violence in such a situation, merely said, “Not now, not now.”
             
   Curtis did not listen. With the Yankee beat writers looking on, he tried to explain to Jeter why he was not playing the right way. He called his actions “a small piece of mentoring” and believed he was helping the young players understand the consequences of his on-field behavior.
          
      Privately, some Yankees agreed with Curtis, including coach Willie Randolph, a walking paladin of Yankee tradition, but pitcher David Cone noted that if Jeter’s behavior had been wrong, Curtis had no business chastising the shortstop in public. Later Curtis apologized, but Jeter would not forget the insult.[iii] Nor would the Yankees. Tired of Curtis’s irritating behavior, they were making plans to find him a new home as quickly as possible.
           
     Curtis’s mere presence in this game was unusual. Yankee Manager Joe Torre had originally planned to start Ricky Ledee in left field, noting that Curtis was 0-for-13, lifetime, against Glavine.
            
    Now the Yankee season fell on this least-wanted member of the team on an increasingly cold night. With two out in the fifth, he tore a home run into the right field seats to make the game, 5-2. It was his first post-season home run. An unnerved Glavine served up a single to catcher Joe Girardi, but a Knoblauch ground ball back to the box ended the inning.

                Jason Grimsley had done an excellent job all year, posting a 7-2 record, with a 3.60 ERA, in 55 relief appearances. He had not pitched in either playoff series, as the Yankees had pretty much steamrolled their opposition. Overlooked by the fans, unsung by the media, he did another excellent job this evening, holding the ferocious Braves for 2.1 innings, yielding only two hits. Only later would we learn that his statistics and fine pitching that year were the result of HGH anabolic steroids, and his name would come up in the famous Mitchell Report. But as he gave way at the top of the seventh, he was a Yankee hero for the night, even if he did not get any applause.
          
      Jeff Nelson, an imposing figure at six feet and eight inches, came on to start the inning, and he stifled the Braves efficiently. 56,794 fans rose to their feet between innings to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Kathy and I stretched legs rendered immobile by seven innings of sitting.
              
  Glavine was still pitching in the bottom of the seventh with one out, when Tino Martinez, the Yankee first baseman, came to bat. He had achieved the impossible in his first season: he had successfully replaced Don Mattingly. Tino’s power hitting, skilled glovework, and leadership made him a beloved figure in Yankee Stadium. Now he showed the power ability again, smashing a pitch into the right field second deck, to cut the Braves’ lead down to 5-3. Yankee fans jeered and taunted the Braves’ fans, doing their own “Tomahawk Chop.”
            
    Nelson disposed of the Braves handily in the top of the eighth, and Braves manager Bobby Cox got his eighth-inning pitcher, Mike Remlinger, and his closer, John Rocker, ready in the bullpen. Glavine had done his job – seven good innings. But Glavine’s pitch count was low, and the cerebral Massachusetts native pitcher assured Cox he felt fine. “He was throwing great,” Cox said later. “He didn’t want to come out of the game. I asked him if he was tired and he said no.”[iv]
              
  Girardi led off the inning and lined a single to left. Next up was Knoblauch, the accused hard-partier himself, whose defensive abilities had collapsed after a legendary mental blunder in the 1998 American League Championship Series, where he had stood challenging an umpire’s call on a bunt attempt while the ball rolled fair behind him and allowed a critical Cleveland run to score. The spectacle of Knoblauch shouting at the ump, pointing at first base, chewing his gum, while failing to reach for the ball and fire it home to easily nail Enrique Wilson proved the failure of multi-tasking and seemed to have devastated the second baseman.
              
  Years later, after his baseball career ended, Knoblauch would admit to using HGH steroids, but point out that after doing so, he suffered the worst offensive year of his career. And more shockingly (or perhaps less surprisingly because of steroids), he would plead guilty to misdemeanor assault, trying to choke his soon-to-be-ex-wife amidst their ugly divorce. He drew a year’s probation. For these various incidents, the Minnesota Twins chose not to induct him into their Hall of Fame, despite him winning Rookie of the Year for them in 1996.
            
    But this evening, Knoblauch faced Glavine, and ripped a powerful drive that sent Jordan back to the wall. The ball jumped into Jordan’s glove and back out, landing in the first row of seats on the first deck. I didn’t see the home run…the ball disappeared below me. I had no idea Knoblauch had homered until I saw first base umpire Derryl Cousins wiggle his arm for the home-run signal. The game was tied, 5-5.
              
  “I was so happy, I wanted to lift him up and carry (Knoblauch),” Yankee center fielder Bernie Williams said after the game. “But I realized we still had to win the game.”[v]
              
  Cox would be bitter in his post-game analysis, remembering how a major factor in his 1996 World Series loss to these same Yankees was caused by an umpire preventing one of his outfielders from reaching a crucial pop fly. Now he saw Knoblauch’s short home run in the same way. “We basically got beat with the pop-up,” he said. “It was a Yankee home run. We got beat with a 315-foot home run. You get a 315-fot fly ball and it’s an out in my book.”[vi]
              
  Knoblauch’s response was simple. If that was good luck, “We’ll take it every time.”[vii]
               
The Stadium erupted. All 56,000-odd fans leaped to their feet, stomping and cheering at the sheer unexpected drama. As Knoblauch ran around the bases, I could feel the 76-year-old ballpark vibrate beneath me.

                Kathy was less impressed. “Don’t tell me we’re going to be stuck here for 16 innings,” she said.

                I was too busy cheering, but when I was done, I told her, “I hope not.”

                That was all for Glavine. He had done his best, but there was nothing left. Cox shuffled out to the mound, took the ball, and summoned his closer, John Rocker, to prevent any further damage.
               
The very name “John Rocker” still sends veteran New York baseball fans into anger and fury. 1999 was the Georgian’s rookie year, and it seemed appropriate that he pitched for his Atlanta Braves. It also seemed appropriate that he had the empathy and sensitivity of the generations of Georgians who had preceded him, like Richard Russell and Eugene Talmadge. He had already irritated New York with his generic arrogance and impressive pitching.

                Now he would do both in the eighth inning to end the damage, yielding a single to Derek Jeter, followed by turning a Paul O’Neill bunt into a double play, followed by a Bernie William fly ball to center.

                Nonetheless, the Yankees were feeling happy, Cone said later.[viii] They were turning the game over to a young closing pitcher who still had his hair, and had only just gained his signature entrance music, “Enter Sandman,” by Metallica. The song was caused by a losing pitcher in the 1998 World Series, Trevor Hoffmann. When he entered in San Diego, to the sound of “Hell’s Bells,” Yankee Stadium Operations Director Kirk Randazzo was impressed by both the song and the reaction among the normally laid-back Southern California fans.

                 He summoned five employees, not including Rivera, who “auditioned” six possible selections and chose “Enter Sandman.” Rivera played no part in the choice, preferring Christian music.

                Now the thumping and steady sound of “Enter Sandman” burst from the Yankee Stadium speakers, and 54,000 fans leaped to their feet as Rivera jogged in the home bullpen, head down, intent on his work. This was always my second-favorite thing at Yankee Stadium. My first is always Old-Timer’s Day.

                Rivera’s appearance was not initially impressive. Boone rapped his fourth hit of the night, a single to right, to lead off the inning. Gambling on that one run, Cox sent in Trot Nixon to run for him, and the speedy Nixon proceeded to embarrass himself on the national stage by being caught stealing second. Rivera disposed quickly of the next two hitters.

                Rocker matched Rivera’s excellence in the bottom of the ninth with three quick outs, and Kathy became increasingly irritated at the possibility of enduring another sea-serpent baseball game, and having to go home at 3 a.m. I hoped such would not be the case.

                Cox thought the same in the 10th. We were now in the 50th extra-inning game in World Series history. After Andruw Jones grounded out to second to open the inning, Cox sent veteran Ozzie Guillen to bat for Hernandez. Rivera was unimpressed and struck out Guillen. Ryan Klesko punch-hit and singled to right, and Greg Myers batted for first baseman Brian Hunter, grounding out to Martinez.

                Pinch-hitters Klesko and Myers stayed in the game, at first base and behind the plate respectively, and Cox, recognizing that he had got two innings out of Rocker, and needed him tomorrow, summoned Mike Remlinger from the bullpen to face leadoff hitter and unloved Yankee Chad Curtis.

                Curtis’s plan was small, he said later. To hit the ball up the middle, not do too much with the pitch, and simply start the inning.

                Curtis fouled off the first pitch and stepped out. In the Yankee clubhouse, pitchers Jeff Nelson and Jason Grimsley watched the game on television, Nelson’s arm in an ice pack, Grimsley in the opposite corner.

                Curtis stepped back in to the batter’s box. Remlinger threw a changeup and hit the ball deep to left field. I watched the ball fly toward the visitors’ bullpen in left and lost it in the lights, crowd, and distance. However, I saw two things at once – it was flying in the directly opposite direction that Challenger the Eagle had taken from the visitors’ pen, but with greater speed. I also saw that the ball was going to be a game-winning home run, although I couldn’t tell where it would land.
               
Nelson and Grimsley, who had the advantage of the TV view, could – as did the Yankees in the dugout, and most of all, Curtis himself, watching the drive from the plate. He flipped his bat and ran around the bases, expressionless. “I don’t remember anything,”[ix] he said later, when asked about the ritual trip around the bases to score the run and end the game. The ball had landed in the visitors’ bullpen. To this day, I have no idea what happened to it.

                He leaped into a sea of happy teammates at home plate to celebrate the Yankees’ 6-5 victory. The Yankees were now one game away from sweeping the Atlanta Braves and winning their 25th World Championship.

                There was more: it was Torre’s 11th consecutive World Series victory, which broke the major league record set by his illustrious predecessor, another Joe, Irishman McCarthy, who won 10 straight World Series games between 1937 and 1941. Curtis’s game-winning shot was the 11th time a World Series game had ended on a home run. The last one had been Joe Carter’s legendary 1993 World Championship blast in 1993. The four Yankee home runs were the most in a World Series game since the A’s bashed five at the expense of the San Francisco Giants in Game Three of the 1989 World Series.

                And perhaps most importantly to me, as a man whose family had rooted for the Yankees since 1912, and had seen all their history, this was the 100th World Series game the team had won in its long and incredible history.

                Beneath me, the Stadium was vibrating again from cheers and stomping feet. Around me, fans were roaring in delight, and ridiculing the Atlanta and its irritating “Tomahawk Chop.” Down on the field, NBC reporter Jim Gray ambushed Curtis for the usual post-game victory valediction.
           
     Once again, Curtis failed to rise to the moment. Before Game Two, in Atlanta, a massive on-field ceremony had honored the “All-Century Team,” which included controversial hit king Pete Rose. At the ceremony, Gray had asked Rose if this was an appropriate moment for Rose to address his issues of gambling on baseball. Rose had refused to answer the questions. Baseball players and fans were appalled by Gray’s boorish behavior. The Yankee players privately voted to snub Gray if he tried to interview them.

                Facing Gray and NBC’s cameras, Curtis snarled, “As a team, we kind of decided, because of what happened with Pete (Rose), we’re not going to talk here on the field.” With that, Curtis stalked off to accept interviews from other media outlets, and Gray was left to awkwardly “throw it up” to the main booth.[x] The Yankees were left to awkwardly explain Curtis’s questionable behavior.
                
Victory soon followed. Roger Clemens, finally seeking both a World Series game victory and a World Championship ring, earned both the following night for the Yankees, and ran atop the Yankees dugout after the game, high-fiving and shaking hands with happy fans. Darryl Strawberry broke down in tears at the victory parade in the Canyon of Heroes.

                Disorder also followed. By December, the night’s hero, Chad Curtis, was traded to the Texas Rangers for the forgettable pitchers Brandon Knight and Sam Marsonek. A Yankee official explained the trade by saying, “Chad just couldn’t stay around any longer because that act gets tired. Once he became comfortable here, he became a preacher, and it ran its course.”[xi]

                Curtis soon annoyed his new team by being second among American League left fielders in errors, with five, and telling Jewish teammate Gabe Kapler during stretching that he would “burn in hell” if Kapler didn’t accept Jesus Christ as his “Lord and Savior.”[xii] Next year, Curtis hit a mere .252 and ended his baseball career.

                He began a new one as an athletic director and coach at Christian high schools in Michigan, eventually at Lakewood High School, a public school. In 2012, he was charged with six counts of criminally sexually touching four 15- and 16-year-old girls in his schools. Curtis resigned his position, stood trial in 2013, and was convicted.

                Facing Barry County Court Circuit Judge Amy McDowell with the same stone face and tight crew-cut he wore as a Yankee (only a little grayer), Curtis spoke for an hour at his sentencing. In his peroration, Curtis blamed the victims for his plight, saying he had rebuffed their advances, called himself a servant of God and hoped he could write a book with the victims about the case. Three of his victims left the courtroom in disgust.

                The prosecutor, Julie Nakfoor Pratt, was astounded by Curtis’s statement at the sentencing, calling it “the most selfish, self-serving, victim-blaming statement I’ve heard in my career as a prosecutor. It speaks volumes about his character, or lack thereof.” [xiii]

                The judge was also unimpressed. She sentenced Curtis to the top of the range, seven to 15 years in prison. Curtis’s earliest release date is 2020. Meanwhile, his victims filed suit against him. Three settled and one case went to trial, winning the victim $1.8 million from Curtis.

                Kapler had a comment, too: “I’m floored that I misjudged the character of a man so horribly. Perhaps I was blinded with the mantle of righteous moral authority he always tried to wear and never looked deeper.”[xiv] Sic transit Gloria mundi.

                On the opposing team, John Rocker also faced disaster. In December, he would grant an interview to Sports Illustrated writer Jeff Pearlman, denouncing New York, the Number 7 train, and all of its manifold riders, by ethnicity, sexual preference, and family organization, comparing Queens neighborhoods to Beirut. Being ignorant, Rocker was unaware that the No. 7 train had that year been designated one of America’s “National Millennium Trails,” along with 15 other iconic routes, including those taken by Lewis and Clark, the Underground Railroad, the Iditarod, and routes created to honor the Civil War, the American Revolution, and even the Hatfield-McCoy feud. The five miles of the No. 7 train are known as the “International Express” for the line’s role in redistributing vast numbers of immigrants to America in general and New York in particular after it was built, a role it plays to this day.

                Rocker’s interview had the usual impact. New York was enraged, the Commissioner’s Office was furious, Rocker’s teammates were shocked, and the press questioned his sanity. Rocker drew a suspension, was required to apologize to his teammates, and spouted self-serving apologies, claiming he had merely intended to respond to the abuse New York fans gave him.

                In 2000, Rocker grandly announced that he would take the No. 7 train to Shea Stadium when the Braves came into town. The New York Police Department talked him out of it. The security measures at Shea were immense, but, oddly, most of the booing went to former Met Bobby Bonilla, now an Atlanta Brave. Rocker had merely disrespected New York. Bonilla had spent the final innings of the critical final game of the 1999 NLCS playing cards in the Met clubhouse with equally lethargic teammate Rickey Henderson. Bonilla had disrespected his team, his city (and birthplace), and the entire game of baseball. New Yorkers had no use for all three violations of the code. Perhaps more annoyingly to Met fans, Bonilla’s contract called for deferred payments on unique scale – every July 1, from 2011 to 2035, Bonilla is paid $1.19 million, for his ability to breathe. Compared to that, Rocker was small beer.

Oddly enough, the deal was negotiated by Bonilla’s wife, his high school sweetheart. In 2009, the pair divorced, and now Madiglia “Millie” Bonilla pockets most of the $1.19 million in that settlement. There’s irony – and more reason for New Yorkers to dislike a Bronx native.

But when Pearlman materialized in the Braves’ clubhouse later that 2000 season, the pitcher exploded and threatened the writer with physical violence. That, combined with Rocker’s poor pitching, was enough for Atlanta…they shipped him to Cleveland, and the once-bright star fizzled out quickly. He did a sorry term with the minor-league Long Island Ducks, insulting fans who insulted his mediocre pitching, and gave up the game for the presumably more enjoyable life of writing for conspiracy theory websites.

                All that remained for the future, though. For that one brief moment, shining under the immensely powerful lights of Yankee Stadium, Chad Curtis was the glittering hero for the Yankees. The Yankees had set all kinds of victorious records. My boys stood within inches of yet another World Series. Being a Yankee fan is harder in some ways than rooting for other teams – you are required to meet impossible standards and expectations, to maintain and uphold traditions of excellence set nearly a century ago. You have to measure up to the achievements of players long-dead, visible only on grainy black-and-white newsreel or harsh color videotape, and failure to do so means that an entire nation jumps on you for failing to do so.

                The flip side is that when your boys win, the rest of the country is angrier – you are expected to win. With all that money, you should win. New Yorkers are seen as arrogant, omnipotent, and endlessly successful. New York Yankee haters forget that the Yankees still have to play and win their games under the same rules as every other team, and New York-haters should try living here. New York invented stress.

                But it didn’t change the equation for this night. Once again, as Shakespeare wrote, “We sit on England’s royal throne, purchased with the blood of our enemies.”

                And perhaps most importantly, Kathy was relieved. The game was over. We would get home at a reasonable hour.

                Which we did. 




[i] New York Times, October 27, 199
[ii] Sports on Earth, “Sins of the Preacher,” by Greg Hanlon, April 3, 2014 http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/70575174/how-chad-curtis-went-from-hero-to-convict-for-sexual-misconduct
[iii] The Captain, by Ian O’Connor, Houghton Miflin Harcourt, 2011, pages 161-162
[iv] New York Times, ibid.
[v]  New York Times, ibid.
[vi] New York Times, ibd.
[vii] New York Times, ibid.
[viii] New York Times, ibid.
[ix] New York Times, ibid.
[x] The Captain, ibid.
[xi] Sports on Earth, ibid.
[xii] Fox Sports, “How I was Fooled by Chard Curtis’ Religious Beliefs,” by Gabe Kapler, April 7, 2014 https://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/how-i-was-fooled-by-chad-curtis-religious-beliefs-040714
[xiii] MLive, “Chad Curtis blames his victims in court speech, offers to write book with one,” by Barton Deiters, http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2013/10/chad_curtis_delivers_speech_in.html  October 3, 2013
[xiv] Fox Sports, ibid.

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