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Temps Signal Long Baseball Season

October 20, 1997

MIAMI (AP) _ Think of the World Series shifting to Cleveland this week as God’s way of letting the baseball owners know their season is too long.

Temperatures are supposed to be in the 40s when the first pitch of Game 3 is thrown. By the time the last out is made, the National Weather Service predicts we’ll lose 10 degrees, but gain snow flurries. Lucky us.

At the end of Sunday night’s 6-1 win by the Indians (gametime temperature: 77 degrees), someone asked Indians manager Mike Hargrove if he could pinpoint why Marlins starter Kevin Brown was having so much trouble getting through his lineup.

``It looked to me,″ Hargrove said, ``like he couldn’t zero in on arm slot to throw the ball.″

It’s a safe bet that scheduled Florida starter Al Leiter won’t suffer the same fate Tuesday. He’ll be worrying too much about just holding onto the baseball.

``The ball becomes like a cue ball. It’s a matter of getting a grip. Obviously, you’re not sweating,″ said Leiter, who grew up in New Jersey and knows about these things, ``so you can’t get any moisture to get a good grip.″

The biggest defensive play in Game 2 came in the fourth inning, when the Marlins’ Charles Johnson topped a ball in front of the plate and Indians catcher Sandy Alomar sprung out of his crouch, grabbed the ball, and fired to third to get Moises Alou sliding in.

``I was holding my breath,″ Hargrove said, ``like everybody else.″

Next week, those will be the only moments when Hargrove and everybody else won’t be able to see their breath. It won’t be baseball. It will be EXTREME baseball.


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