Another classic World Series, at least in the press box

Posted on October 30th, 2008 – 3:36 PM
By Joe Christensen

Every year, I get melancholy the day after the baseball season ends. Today, I’m grateful. I had a great time covering the World Series.

It didn’t turn into a seven-game classic, but I got to see the home team clinch for the first time since 2002. It was a fun story to cover with the intrigue surrounding Game 5. The best part, though, was getting to see the scribes.

In Philadelphia, my press box seat was right between John Lowe (Detroit Free Press) and Richard Justice (Houston Chronicle), two distinguished gentlemen.

Between games, I got to hang with Dave Sheinin (Washington Post) and Dan Connolly (Baltimore Sun), two friends from my time on the Orioles beat. I got to see my college buddy Todd Zolecki (Philadelphia Inquirer) in his element. Zo and I were colleagues on the same sports staff with our own Michael Rand at the Minnesota Daily.

Our business is changing. The number of papers sending writers to these national events is shrinking.

So I never took it for granted, sitting there in the presence of writers who have won the Spink Award, which is presented each year at the Hall of Fame, including: Rick Hummel (St. Louis Post Dispatch), Tracy Ringolsby (Rocky Mountain News) and Peter Gammons (ESPN).

Among the esteemed columnists at the Series were Mark Whicker (Orange County Register), Ray Ratto (San Francisco Chronicle) and Joe Posnanski (Kansas City Star).

I could go on and on. Click on any of the above links to get a feel for the talent in that press box.

With around-the-clock highlights and the Internet, there are countless ways to follow the Series, of course. But there is still value in sending local writers.

There were former Twins everywhere, for example, and I hope you got a sense of that from our coverage. I found J.C. Romero holding his daughter on the field, 45 minutes after Game 5. He had just picked up his second win of the Series.

“You’re going to laugh,” he said. “But I told my wife I was going to win tonight. And it just happened that the good Lord answered my prayers, and he gave me that ‘W.’ I’ll take it with a humble heart.”

Then there was Charlie Manuel’s postgame press conference. He was Cleveland’s manager from 2000 to 2002, and things didn’t end very well. With the national media assembled, Manuel saw longtime Cleveland Plain Dealer beat writer Paul Hoynes and didn’t even wait for the question.

“Hoynsie, I’ll ask you something,” Manuel said. ”Why don’t you go back to Cleveland and tell them we won the World Series, all right? OK?”

Hoynes, who had a hard time controlling his laughter, said, “Do you think you proved anything to the people back in Cleveland?”

“I wasn’t working on trying to prove nothing,” Manuel said. “Don’t take this in a cocky way: I already knew how good I was.”

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