Somewhere, Seattle Manager Lou Piniella is cursing. The Mariners never made reliever Mike Jackson a contract offer last winter because they didn't think they could afford him, and the right-hander signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Indians for $2 million.
While shoddy relief pitching doomed the Mariners, Jackson has played an integral role in the Indians pushing the World Series to Game 7, adding two more scoreless innings to an impressive playoff resume in Saturday night's 4-1 Game 6 victory over the Marlins.
Jackson is 1-0 with an 0.71 earned-run average in 12 postseason appearances, giving up one earned run on nine hits and striking out 15 in 12 2/3 innings.
He replaced starter Chad Ogea in the sixth Saturday night and, with the help of shortstop Omar Vizquel's game-saving play, retired the Marlins.
"I've just been feeling real confident," Jackson said. "I'm trying to stay focused and aggressive, and I'm not really concentrating on the magnitude of these games. That's hard to do that sometimes, but when the game is on the line, you can't be tense."
We're not making this up: The Cleveland Free Clinic has set up a Togetherness Hotline to field calls from Indian fans who are stressed out by the World Series, and since Monday some 50 fans had phoned. "Some really needed to talk to someone," Marty Hiller, the clinic's executive director, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "They are wound so tight they don't know how to let go." Hiller's advice for stressed-out fans: Leave the room, turn the television off or do some deep breathing while watching.
Throwing out the first ball for Game 7 will be that famous figure of Florida baseball . . . Tom Lasorda? Yes, the 1997 Hall of Fame inductee will do the honors.
Pray for no rain. If today's game is called off, Game 7 gets postponed until Tuesday.
The NFL's Miami Dolphins have dibs on Pro Player Stadium for their Monday night game against the Chicago Bears, a game originally scheduled for this afternoon.
No rain is in the forecast. But here in Florida, it doesn't have to be.
Imagine the field's condition, after a rainfall and a football game.