New York aims for 4
With dazzling plays by Derek Jeter, bat wizardry by Ichiro Suzuki, late-inning drama, and determined comebacks, the AL championship series emerged as a baseball fan's delight.
It's the New York Yankees vs. the Seattle Mariners. The Yankees led the series, 1-0, going into last night's game. The Yankees are trying to become the first team to win four straight World Series crowns since Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle helped the Bronx Bombers do it a half-century ago. "If you're going to go to the World Series, you might as well go through New York," says Seattle reliever Jeff Nelson.
For years, Chicago baseball fans knew how to handicap the playoffs. They simply calculated the Ex-Cub Factor. Whichever team had the most former Cubs would lose. It worked for years.
These days, there's a new secret force at work in the postseason: the Ex-Oriole Factor. However, it works just the opposite of the Ex-Cub Factor. The team with the most former Orioles wins. The system correctly predicted all four division series. Three of the top stars of this postseason are former Orioles: Jamie Moyer, Curt Schilling, and Mike Mussina. Every playoff team except the Astros had central Ex-Oriole components. The Astros were the only team that didn't win a game.
The sports agent brokering the sale of the ball that Barry Bonds hit for his 73rd homer believes it will sell for considerably less than the $3 million ball that Mark McGwire hit for his 70th in 1998. Barnes estimates the ball will sell for $1 million to $2 million at a New York auction house or on eBay in January.
There is still some dispute about the ball's ownership. Patrick Hayashi of Santa Clara, Calif., ended up with Bonds' 73rd home run ball. Another fan, Alex Popov, is claiming the ball belongs to him. Officials with the San Francisco Giants have declined to get involved.