NEW YORK -- When the Diamondbacks clinched the National League pennant, a sportswriter from Minneapolis went over to Mike Morgan to shake his hand and congratulate him. The writer had covered Morgan when he pitched for the Minnesota Twins.
|Don't expect to see Byung-Hyun Kim closing out Game 6 or Game 7.
Then, a writer from Texas came over to shake Morgan's hand. And someone from Cincinnati. And Chicago, Oakland, Seattle, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Toronto, Baltimore, Texas.
The D-Backs are the 12th team for the 42-year-old Morgan in 20-something seasons but this is his first World Series. And he'll cherish it. Unfortunately, he'll also recount everything he did for years to come.
Just ask his teammates.
"He'll go over every single pitch with every single guy," Arizona first baseman Mark Grace said.
What Morgan does -- and this is really inside information -- is hang out by the shower area. And as the first wave of players come in to wash off, Morgan will start reciting, pitch by pitch, step by step, what he did in that game. And he's stark naked.
"He remembers every pitch he threw me," Grace said.
And Morgan will repeat his outing for the next wave of players. And the next. And the next.
Byung-Hyun Kim won't ever forget the two pitches he served up in Game 4 Wednesday night. Tino Martinez connected on one to tie the game 3-3, hitting a two-run homer with two out in the ninth. The other, which Derek Jeter launched over the short porch in right, won the game in the 10th for the Yankees. Then, there was the one to Scott Brosius with two out in the ninth in Game 5, another two-run game-tying homer.
The Yankees won 3-2 in 12 innings in Game 5 as rookie Alfonso Soriano hit a one-out RBI single. Instead of being one win away from their first World Series, the D-Backs are one loss away from ending their season.
Such is the nature of the reliever's job. Morgan knows this. He probably talked to the 22-year-old Kim Wednesday and told him that. Well, maybe not. Grace wanted to.
"My Korean's a little rusty," Grace said. "He's fine. He's still a baby. He's had some tough times. If we have to call on him in the ninth inning, I'm sure he'll be ready."
Bullpen coach Glen Sherlock said Kim was "electric" warming up.
"There was no reason not to put him in there," Brenly said.
There's no reason to panic.
"I'm sure the Yankee fans were panicking after they lost the first two games," Grace said. "I'm sure the Diamondbacks fans are panicking after we've lost these games."
Is Grace panicking?
"You know when you're nervous it's when you're in a boat that's sinking in the middle of the ocean," Grace said. "The last time I was really nervous was watching my son being born by C-section and seeing my fiance's insides.
"Baseball is fun," Grace said. "I'm not nervous. It's a challenge."
Who's sizzling: Miguel Batista was solid, pitching 7 2/3 scoreless innings in his first World Series start. He struck out six and deserved better.
Who's fizzling: Byung-Hyun Kim, who blew back-to-back saves in the World Series at the most inappropriate time.
Fearless prediction: There will be a Game 7 if Game 6 starter Randy Johnson has anything to say about it. However, don't expect to see Kim in Game 6 -- or 7.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com.