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Year in Review: 1997

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Re-rank the list of top sports stories of 1997

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Tiger Woods takes
golf world by storm

Pedro Martinez signs
record deal with Sox

Latrell Sprewell
assaults coach, gets ax

Rick Pitino becomes
Celtics coach, president

Bill Parcells quits after Patriots' banner year

Martina Hingis
rules women's tennis

Florida Marlins win World Series

Women's pro hoop
meets with success

A Patriots surprise:
Super Bowl XXXI berth

Wil Cordero charged
with assaulting wife


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Check out the top news stories of 1997

A few things we picked up on . . .

By Dan Shaughnessy, Globe Staff, 10/28/97

MIAMI -- Picked-up pieces from two weeks on the hot/cold trail with the Marlins and Indians . . .

- In years to come, when we look back on this World Series, it may be viewed as the one that got baseball back on track because it showcased so many of the game's flaws. Despite a fabulous finish, Florida-Cleveland featured expansion pitching, interminable games, midnight finishes, dreadful TV ratings, a snowstorm, umpires assigned because of rotation instead of merit, and the lasting impression that championships are bought instead of earned. Now that all the bad stuff is out in the open, it's up to baseball to get back on course. The lords of the game had better wake up.

- The saddest commentary on the condition of today's baseball players was the sight of Cleveland pitcher Chad Ogea being resuscitated on the bench after he actually had to run the bases in Game 6. What is it with these guys? Ogea is a 26-year-old professional athlete. He can't run 360 feet without needing oxygen and smelling salts? How does this look to football, basketball, hockey, and soccer players?

- The line I wish I'd written came from Miami Herald columnist Dan LeBatard, who noted that the Indians' roster sounds like the staring lineup for a men's hair salon. Think about it: Bip, Manny, Jaret, Omar, Sandy, Chad, Orel and Marquis. Not that there's anything wrong with it.

- All true New Englanders had to be Cleveland fans, and there is no hardball god when the people of south Florida get to win a World Series after only five years of big league ball. It simply should not be that easy. Like spoiled rich kids who never have to work, Florida fans know not what they have because they didn't have any near-misses and they didn't have to wait long for the ultimate prize.

- This was the fourth time that a seventh or eighth Series game (there was a tie in 1912, so Game 8 was the sudden-death game) went into extra innings. In 1912, Smoky Joe Wood outlasted Christy Mathewson. In 1924, it was Walter Johnson beating the Giants in 12. Then there was Jack Morris over John Smoltz in 1991. Somehow Charles Nagy and Jay Powell don't seem to fit in this picture.

- The Indians led in every Series game and outscored Florida, 44-37.

- A cab driver in Cleveland spoke for all Tribe fans when he said, ``I got to go to Game 4 and I was so happy I didn't even feel cold. There was no way I was leaving early. I waited my whole life for this.''

- Will the 1997 World Series be the first to produce zero Hall of Famers? Livan Hernandez, Jaret Wright, Edgar Renteria, and Charles Johnson would seem to be the best candidates.

- Vin Scully, who did the national radio broadcast, was telling people this might be his last World Series. Say it ain't so, Vin.

- The 1997 World Series was a walk-a-thon, featuring 76 bases on balls, shattering the record of 68.

- The last time a Series featured alternating wins for seven straight games was 1962, when the Yankees won Game 7 over the Giants as Matty (uncle of Moises) Alou was stranded on third when Willie McCovey lined out to end it.

- Great Game 7 sight: Orel Hershiser warming up for the Indians in late innings while Livan Hernandez warmed up for the Marlins. So why didn't John McNamara use Roger Clemens or Oil Can Boyd in Game 7 in 1986?

- Sat with Joe Black on a flight from Cleveland to Atlanta. Black was a rookie Game 7 starter (like Wright) for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1952 World Series against the Yankees. He wanted to talk about Mo Vaughn's future with the Sox.

- The '97 Series featured the global village of baseball as never before. Flags from Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic were on display in Miami and the Latin presence on both teams made it feel like a true ``world'' series.

- Remember that the first manager of the Marlins, the man who steered them through the tough years, was Rene Lachemann.

- If you followed the Jose Mesa court case last year, you had to take a little pleasure in seeing the big closer spit the bit at the finish line of Game 7. Some guys don't deserve to be heroes.

- Before Florida acquired Darren Daulton, the Marlin payroll was on a par with Boston's.

- When Cleveland played in the World Series in 1995, Rick Pitino flew to a game at the Jake with some Kentucky folks and watched from a luxury box. Pitino was busy this time.

- Bobby Bonilla was in line to cop the Milkbone Dog Biscuit Award before he finally did something in Game 7. After his solo homer, Bobby Bo helped again in the 11th when he deked Tony Fernandez on Craig Counsell's easy grounder. Fernandez said it had no effect, but that's also what Lonnie Smith said when Chuck Knoblauch faked him out in 1991.

- World Champion Florida Marlins. Sorry, it just doesn't sound right.

- If you haven't already bought Doris Kearns Goodwin's ``Wait 'Til Next Year,'' do so immediately. It's a hardball valentine from a simpler time and it serves nicely as a baseball memoir and an inspiration for all young people who love sports.


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