NEW YORK -Left-hander David Wells will take the mound for the New York Yankees in Game 1 tonight, but he was still throwing curveballs at the Boston Red Sox yesterday.
Wells, who unabashedly believes that the "Curse of the Bambino" is the reason that the Red Sox have not won a World Series since Babe Ruth helped pitch them to the world title in 1918, said yesterday that he joined Roger Clemens and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre in Monument Park to toast Ruth after the pennant celebration.
"Roger, Mel and I went out there, decided to have a touch with The Babe," said Wells. "Roger said, `Hey, we've got one more thing to do. I've got to grab Mel.' We went out there, and we did it. He's shining on us. He's looking down. Why not give him a toast, man? He's the one who got us here. From 1918 till now, the curse lives."
Wells will be pitching on one day's rest when he faces Marlins starter Brad Penny, but it probably won't be a problem. Thursday he faced only three batters, giving up a home run to designated hitter David Ortiz.
"It would have been my side [workout] day anyway," Wells said.
Marlins manager Jack McKeon said tonight came down to a choice between Penny and rookie phenom Dontrelle Willis.
"Penny and Willis are the best rested pitchers we have," McKeon said. "Penny's done a good job all year long, though he had a tough outing against Chicago. But ... I think he did a marvelous job the other day in relief. I really think he's up to the task."
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera said he didn't sleep at all Thursday night, after pitching three innings to earn the victory and seal Most Valuable Player honors in the American League Championship Series.
"I tried to go to sleep, but I couldn't," Rivera said. "It was a lot of emotions."
He said he could pitch tonight.
Yankees coach Don Zimmer continues to make headlines nearly a week after he was involved in a brief altercation with Pedro Martinez.
Zimmer, in the emotional aftermath of the Yankees' pennant-clinching victory on Thursday, told a New York tabloid that he was tired of the treatment he has been getting from the Yankees' organization and would not return to the coaching staff next year.
Manager Joe Torre tried to defuse the controversy yesterday.
"Don Zimmer ... if you've been around him for five minutes you know what kind of person he is," Torre said. "He's very emotional. He's gonna tell you how he feels. I know he loves being here. ... I think we'll wait till later on when things calm down."
Ratings a winner, too
The Yankees' 11-inning Game 7 win over the Red Sox had the highest League Championship Series TV ratings in a decade.
Fox Sports' telecast Thursday drew a 17.1 national rating - the best for an LCS game since Philadelphia's Game 6 victory over Atlanta in 1993 got a 17.4.
The rating came one night after Wednesday's seventh-game win by Florida over the Cubs in the NLCS drew a 16.9 rating.
The average for both championship series, which both went seven games, was 10.7 - up 65 percent from last year.
A ratings point represents 1,084,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 108.4 million TV homes.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.