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WORLD SERIES / REPORT

Blum Can Lord It Over the Astros

October 27, 2005|Bill Shaikin and Tim Brown | Times Staff Writers

HOUSTON — And you thought your landlord made your life miserable? Chris Burke's landlord just about ended his season.

When Burke made the Houston Astros this season, as a rookie, he needed somewhere to live. So he rented a town home from Geoff Blum, who had bought the place when he played here.

Blum was back in town Tuesday, as a utility infielder for the Chicago White Sox. In the 14th inning of Game 3 of the World Series, he hit the dramatic home run that sent the White Sox back to their hotel one victory from a championship and sent Burke back to Blum's condominium for a restless night.

"I was sick to my stomach when he hit the home run," Burke said Wednesday, "but he's a super-nice guy. If it was one of their guys that had to hit a home run, I'd have wanted it to be him."

Burke heard about the condo from teammate Adam Everett, who rented it from Blum last year.

"I think he's looking to unload it," Burke said. "Maybe he can up the price now that he's hit a World Series home run."

Blum never did get to sleep. His 22-month-old daughter kept waking up, and his message light kept blinking, with what he estimated were 25 voice mails and 30 text messages. He received one from Phil Nevin, his old San Diego Padre teammate, who congratulated him and told him to get the Series over with so the two could watch the Chargers play Sunday.

Blum, a Chino High graduate, lives in San Clemente. He watched replays of his home run all night long -- "ESPN isn't afraid to replay 'SportsCenter,' " he said -- and said real life had done his boyhood dreams one better.

"You sit there and try to imagine this situation," he said. "My imagination didn't even live up to the reality of it."

*

The "Latino Legends" team was introduced before Wednesday's game -- an all-time Latino team, as selected by fan balloting -- and Chicago manager and Venezuelan native Ozzie Guillen took exception to the entire infield.

First baseman Albert Pujols? "Too young," Guillen said. "It should have been [Orlando] Cepeda."

Second baseman Rod Carew? "Roberto Alomar is the best second baseman in the history of baseball. Better than [Ryne] Sandberg, better than [Joe] Morgan, better than everyone."

Shortstop Alex Rodriguez and third baseman Edgar Martinez? "Not Latino." (Both were born in New York.)

And one other thing: "How is Alex Rodriguez the shortstop and not Luis Aparicio? Alex Rodriguez can't hold Aparicio's jock playing shortstop."

The rest of the team: pitchers Fernando Valenzuela, Pedro Martinez, Juan Marichal and Mariano Rivera; outfielders Roberto Clemente, Vladimir Guerrero and Manny Ramirez; and catcher Ivan Rodriguez.

*

Phil Garner, who early in the World Series described himself as somewhat calmer than in his years as a manager in Milwaukee and Detroit, flung a stool down the dugout stairs after Blum's 14th-inning home run Tuesday night, then acknowledged being "embarrassed" and "ticked off" by his offense.

He'd also shouted at White Sox hitter Joe Crede, who appeared to be angry with Roy Oswalt after he was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning. Crede had earlier homered against Oswalt.

A day later, Garner was gentler on the furniture and slightly less edgy.

"Those that have known me, been around me, [know] I don't like to get beat and I don't like to get beat in my own home," he said. "They're having their way with us right now, so I'm ticked off."

As for Crede, Garner said, "I took exception to that. We made a whole bunch of pitches in the middle of the plate, and they've been hitting pretty good. And you haven't seen any of our guys yelling. When you miss a pitch inside a few inches, take it and go to first, plain and simple."

Said Crede: "The emotions kind of took over a little bit. As far as being hit, I was more mad I got hit, because it hurt like ... ."

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