World Series Notebook
DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
Oct. 26, 2000
NEW YORK (AP) _ The New York Yankees wanted Derek Jeter to provide a spark at the top of their lineup. And he delivered immediately.
Jeter, who has hit safely in 13 straight World Series games, hit a leadoff home run for the Yankees on the first pitch from Bobby J. Jones in Game 4 against the New York Mets on Wednesday night.
Yankees manager Joe Torre had batted Jeter second in the first three games of the World Series, and used Chuck Knoblauch and Jose Vizcaino in the leadoff spot. But Torre decided to start Luis Sojo at second base in Game 4, and thought Jeter would be more suited to leading off.
``Luis has been a good No. 2 guy because he does make contact,'' Torre said. ``We won some games with Jeter in the No. 1 hole. He's just batted second more times than any other position.''
The Yankees shortstop, a career .353 hitter in the World Series (24-for-68) batted second in 127 games this season, and led off 21 times.
``I've batted leadoff before and I'm not going to do anything different,'' Jeter said.
Jeter has been used throughout the batting order by Torre during his career, and has normally produced.
``If I recollect correctly, in the five years that I've been here, he's batted everywhere from first in the lineup through ninth,'' Torre said. ``So I know he can get it done, and hopefully score a run in the first inning for us.''
The Mets also made a lineup change in Game 4, switching Todd Zeile and Robin Ventura in the batting order. Zeile will bat fourth, while Ventura will hit fifth _ the same order the Mets used in Game 1. Zeile was hitting .462 in the World Series with one RBI, while Ventura was hitting .250 with a home run.
HOME SWEET HOME: Mets outfielder Jay Payton is wondering where were all the Mets fans at Shea Stadium in Game 3.
Payton expected the fans, known for being loud and distracting to opposing players, to be a bit more vocal in the next few games.
``I was a little upset that Yankees fans had too many tickets here,'' Payton said. ``We didn't hear any 'Let's Go Mets!' chants at Yankee Stadium. I could hear groups of Yankees fans here. I'm sure they've got more fans than us in this city, but we're trying to change that.''
Andy Pettitte, the Yankees' Game 5 starter, had no doubts that Mets fans would be loud during the final two games at Shea.
``Going into the other team's park, you've got to know that it's going to be loud,'' Pettitte said. ``So, you just have to get tunnel vision and try to block them all out.''
STRUGGLING STAR: The Yankees are waiting for Bernie Williams' bat to reappear.
The star outfielder is hitless in 12 at-bats during the World Series, including 0-for-4 in Tuesday night's Game 3 and a flyout in the first inning of Game 4, and has driven in just one run. But manager Joe Torre remains unconcerned.
``Bernie, when he struggles normally, it's feeling for the ball,'' Torre said. ``I think (Tuesday) he was probably pumped up a little bit too high. I think he's trying to hit it over the parking lot instead of over the fence.''
Torre thinks Williams, who hit .307 with 30 home runs and 121 RBIs in the regular season, will come out of his slump soon.
``I thought he had some good swings (Tuesday night), but they were a touch too hard,'' Torre said.
BIG DOGS: The Baha Men's huge hit single, ``Who Let The Dogs Out,'' has become the New York Mets rally song as well as an arena and stadium staple across the country. But there's at least one person in the Mets organization who is far from a fan of the energetic song.
``I can't stand that let out the dogs song,'' Mets co-owner Nelson Doubleday said. ``I have three dogs of my own.''
Despite Doubleday's dislike of the song, the Baha Men performed at Shea Stadium before Game 4's raucous crowd at Shea Stadium.
LOU CLEARED: Seattle manager Lou Piniella will not be penalized for admitting he told Mariners pitcher Paul Abbott to throw a pitch over the head of Yankees catcher Jorge Posada during the AL championship series.
Frank Robinson, baseball's vice president in charge of discipline, said the investigation of the matter was over. Piniella ordered the pitch in retaliation after Roger Clemens threw an inside pitch that brushed back the Mariners shortstop Alex Rodriguez.
HAWAIIAN PUNCH: Benny Agbayani knows a little bit about providing some postseason punch.
The Mets outfielder, who is from Hawaii, requested the scoreboard operators before Game 3 to display the cartoon character from the Hawaiian Punch beverage ads on the scoreboard every time he comes up to the plate.
Agbayani, who has hit in all 12 postseason games for the Mets this year and in 13 straight dating to last season, hit the go-ahead double in the eighth inning of Tuesday night's 4-2 victory.
The bat Agbayani used to deliver the hit was given to the Hall of Fame after batting practice Wednesday night for display.
``Well, I guess it worked,'' Agbayani said.
The cartoon character, which had been previously displayed on the scoreboard just after Agbayani's big hits, was printed on white towels with Agbayani's name and given out to fans before the game.
AROUND THE HORN: Five members of the 1969 Miracle Mets _ Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver, first baseman Donn Clendenon, second baseman Al Weis, and outfielders Tommie Agee and Ron Swoboda _ took part in the ceremonial first pitch. ... Five members of the U.S. Navy injured in the bombing of the USS Cole on Oct. 12 _ Chief Petty Officer Michael O. Russell, and Petty Officers Alonzo Williams Woods Jr., Larry Bloodshaw Jr., Bobby Asher and Robert McTureous _ were honored in a pregame ceremony. Seventeen sailors died in the attack. ... Renowned artist LeRoy Neiman sketched Yankees and Mets players during batting practice. ... Uma Singh, of San Jose, Calif., missed a shot at winning $1 million when he hit the base of the target in the pregame Gillette Strike Zone Challenge. Singh, 43, a medical researcher who never played baseball before last Thursday, won the consolation prize of $25,000.