In Florida, Conine unable to curb his enthusiasm

Ex-Oriole gets swept up in emotion of NL victory

World Series notebook


October 19, 2003|By Joe Christensen and Peter Schmuck | Joe Christensen and Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK - Jeff Conine endeared himself to his Orioles teammates for 4 1/2 seasons with his professional manner, quiet leadership qualities and dry wit. It's been that way his whole career.

So for those who know him closely, it was almost stunning to see the exuberance he showed after the Florida Marlins eliminated the Chicago Cubs in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series.

After escaping from a champagne and beer shower, Conine thrust his face right into a television camera and said, "We shocked the world!"

As he prepared for Game 1 of the World Series, Conine thought back to that night at Wrigley Field and explained his rare public display of emotion. Seven weeks after getting traded from the Orioles to the Marlins, he chalked it up to his new environment and his new teammates.

"It's infectious, the enthusiasm they've shown, the heart that they play with, the never-say-die attitude," he said. "It's just been extremely fun to be around, and it rubs off on you. You just get caught up in it.

"A lot of teams might look at this team and say they show up the other team by parading around too much, and they pump their fist too much, but it's all genuine emotion these guys show. And once you play with them you realize there's nothing malicious, they're not rubbing anybody's face in it."

Rodriguez: no regrets

Ivan Rodriguez left a lot of money on the table in Baltimore when he signed his one-year, $10 million contract with the Marlins last winter. The Orioles offered him $21 million over three years, but Rodriguez wanted to stay close to his Miami home for one season before testing the market again.

Rodriguez, who was named Most Valuable Player of the NLCS, doesn't regret that decision now.

"If I would have signed with Baltimore, I wouldn't be here right now," he said. "I would be home. I'm in the World Series for the first time in my career, and I'm going to enjoy it."

Torre sets rotation

Yankees manager Joe Torre announced the rest of his starting rotation. Andy Pettitte will go in Game 2 tonight, former Oriole Mike Mussina will go Tuesday in Miami and Roger Clemens will pitch Game 4.

"Games 2 and 3, we talked to both Pettitte and Mussina yesterday and just told them that [pitching coach] Mel [Stottlemyre] and I were sorting it out, trying to figure out which way to go. We didn't have it until we came to the ballpark today.

"Andy's done well at home, so he's pitching Game 2. If it does go beyond 4 and 5, he'll have Game 6 and that will be at home also.

"Moose threw us 30-something pitches the other day [in relief Thursday night]. He threw again today. So he should be fine for Tuesday. Then Roger will pitch Game 4."

McKeon not so sure

Marlins manager Jack McKeon still has not announced his rotation beyond Game 3. Mark Redman is set to go tonight and Josh Beckett will start the first game at Pro Player Stadium, but after that is anybody's guess.

"We'll play it by ear after that," McKeon said before last night's game.

No doubt, the wily old manager was waiting to see how Brad Penny responded to World Series pressure last night. He also may be waiting to see how much he needs to use rookie phenom Dontrelle Willis in relief during the first three games.

Carl Pavano, who pitched well in Game 6 of the NLCS, also will start the series in the bullpen, but he also could get a start before it's over.

"He's a guy who's worthy of starting," McKeon said. "He could very easily start one of these games later on."

Redman redux

This won't be the first time Redman has pitched at Yankee Stadium. When he was a Detroit Tiger, he carried a shutout into the ninth inning in July 2002, but lost a 2-1 decision.

"Thanks for bringing that up," Redman said with a laugh during yesterday's pre-game news conference. "If we would have stopped at the eighth inning, it would have been a great game. Hopefully, I'll be in the situation of pitching a shutout, but we have a great closer that would close that game up for me:"


The Marlins hope that they can benefit from Rodriguez's long career in the American League to gain an extra edge over the Yankees' hitters.

"There's no question Pudge ... has been a tremendous asset to us in going over players that have played in the American League," McKeon said. "He's going to have a significant input with our decisions as to how we pitch some of these Yankee players."

Around the horn

Left-hander David Wells, at 40 years, four months and 28 days, last night became the sixth-oldest pitcher to start a World Series game. The oldest was Jack Quinn, who was 45 when he started Game 4 for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1929. ... The Marlins entered the Series with a 5-0 record in playoff series. They are the only major league team to win as many as two Division Series (2-0) without a loss. ... The team that has won the first game has gone on to win the World Series 59 percent of the time, and five of the past six times. ... Since 1997, the Marlins and Yankees are the only teams to reach the World Series more than once.

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