Werth big on police escorts, free dinners
Outfielder says he's been "playing my whole life for this"
Jason Werth is enjoying every aspect of getting to play in the World Series -- including the generous nature of Phillies fans he encounters while in the city.
"I've been playing my whole life for this," Werth told the Philadelphia Daily News. "I'm going to enjoy it. I'm having a great time. When the game starts, then it will be a baseball game. But all the other stuff, the hoopla and the events and the police escorts and all that stuff, I'm enjoying it. I'm having a good time. People paying for your dinners. Philadelphia is an incredible place to be right now for a guy like me."
Price grateful for confidence from Maddon: With Tampa Bay's season on the line, David Price found himself thrown into a bases-loaded situation in the eighth inning of Sunday's ALCS Game 7. Price, who had appeared in only two games in the playoffs, chalked up a strikeout to get out of the eighth inning and then got the final three outs in the ninth to earn the save.
Price, the No. 1 draft choice out of Vanderbilt last season, was appreciative that manager Joe Maddon had enough confidence in him to put him in that situation.
"For him to have that confidence in me, and to show everybody in the world he's putting a 23-year-old lefty that's pitched in seven games in his Major League career out there to try and stop a rally for the Red Sox with the bases loaded in the eighth inning -- that's awesome," Price told the St. Petersburg Times.
Rollins introduces himself to the roof: Jimmy Rollins has spent the last few days trying to familiarize himself with the roof at Tropicana Field in Tampa.
"There's a lot action going on up there if you happen to look up," Rollins told the Philadelphia Daily News. "You've got bars, and catwalks, and lights, and more lights and more catwalks. But I think it's not going to be an issue. We're going to have night games, so the sun isn't going to be shining through it and making the roof a lot brighter, where you get a lot of gray area and lose [the ball] easier. But if you don't pick the ball up right away, it will be tough to find it."
Lidge working toward religious studies degree: Brad Lidge hasn't blown a save all year and is set to pitch in the 2008 World Series against the Rays. What you might not know, though, is that in his free time he is pursuing college credit online in religious studies and archaeology at Regis University in Denver.
"Honestly, it's something I've always wanted to know about," Lidge told the Philadelphia Daily News. "I love the background of religious studies -- it's fascinating to me. Even when I was in college [at Notre Dame], when I was in marketing -- which, at the time, I was taking with the guys on my team and stuff -- [religious studies] was always kind of what my interest was, in the other direction.
"Now I've got a lot of free time. ... During the season, there's a lot of downtime. So I thought, if I was reading about it [anyway], I might as well get some credit for it and see if I can't work toward a degree in it."
Pena saw good things coming: Carlos Pena is preparing for his first World Series. But he set the process in motion last year when he approached Rays general manager Andrew Friedman to request that he not be traded.
"He came up to me on our charter flight back to St. Petersburg in early July, and I remember it very clearly," Friedman told the San Francisco Chronicle. "He said, 'I hear that my name has been coming up in trade talks to go here or go there, and I just want to tell you I want to stay here and be part of what's happening with this team.' It was very gratifying, but if you know Carlos, it wasn't surprising. He has been a great steward for our organization."
Hamels will save worries for later: Cole Hamels is set to take the mound on Wednesday night in Game 1 of the World Series against the Rays, and if he's feeling any pressure, he's certainly not letting anyone know about it.
"See, I think that's the thing that as a player you don't look at," Hamels told MLB.com. "Outside, there's significance with the game that we're playing. For us, the World Series is something that you look back on, not when you're playing in it. It's something that I think I will cherish probably 10 years from now, and then [I'll remember] what was going on, what I was thinking, who I was playing, what results I had."
Baldelli's story a tough one to beat: Struggling with a rare muscle disease closely related to mitochondrial myopathy, which saps him of his strength and energy, Rocco Baldelli missed most of the season while trying to overcome his condition. Since returning to the Rays lineup in August, he has delivered several key hits, including what proved to be the game-winning hit in Game 7 of the ALCS against Boston.
"There are a lot of great human interest stories but I think he surpasses all of them," Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman told the St. Petersburg Times. "There's nobody in America who isn't rooting for Rocco."
With ALCS Game 7 tied, 1-1, in the fifth inning, Baldelli hit a run-scoring single to left field to break the tie and help the Rays go on to a 3-1 win over the Red Sox.
"I never thought this was possible," his father, Dan Baldelli, said. "I didn't think he was ever going to play again. We just had no answers. Even up until June, we still weren't sure if he could ever come back."
Victorino working to share the love: When your team makes it to the World Series, life can get pretty busy -- and there can be a lot of distractions. Shane Victorino has gotten to experience this firsthand for the first time this season with the Phillies set to play Game 1 against the Rays Wednesday night in Tampa.
"There's been a lot going on off the field. I'm trying to get my family here and get everyone tickets," Victorino wrote on his MLBLogs.com. "It's an exciting time not just for me, but for my family. It's all positive. It all comes with what's going on now. My parents want to come, aunts, uncles, my fiancee's side of the family. All my friends from home want to come.
"A lot of them said, 'If you get to the World Series, we're coming no matter what.' I look at guys like Derek Jeter, who have played in the postseason every year. I can imagine what it's like for them. This is our first time, and we may never get back, so you want as many people to share the experience with you."
Garza came through in dreamlike situation: With the Tampa Bay Rays losing two straight games in the ALCS, including a blown seven-run lead in Game 5, the season came down to one game pitched by right-hander Matt Garza. It was a situation Garza had always wanted to be in.
"You dream about this as a kid, on the mound, Game 7, World Series, all the chips are on the line," Garza, 24, told the St. Petersburg Times. "You just have to seize the moment."
Kazmir gets the ball in Game 1: After pitching so well in Game 5 of the ALCS against Boston, Scott Kazmir will take the mound for Game 1 of the World Series against Philadelphia on Wednesday, Rays manager Joe Maddon announced. James Shields will pitch in Game 2 followed by Matt Garza and then Andy Sonnanstine.
"Basically, [the decision is] based on rest," Maddon told raysbaseball.com of the Rays' rotation. "Kaz is ready to roll. [It] goes a little bit against what we have been doing. But we knew that going into the switch in Boston [when Kazmir and Shields were flipped in the rotation], that it may occur this way. I did not want to bring back Shields short. And theoretically, it puts Shields in this building twice, if it comes down to that.
"You could make a case Andy Sonnanstine [should be] pitching sooner than that. This guy is pitching really well. But I wanted to keep it in that particular order."
Masterson provides options with versatility: Justin Masterson proved this season that he belongs in the big leagues. The only question is where he belongs -- in the bullpen, where he enjoyed success after being called up from the Minors by Boston for the second time, or in the starting rotation, which is where he was while pitching in Double-A and during his first stint with the Red Sox this season.
"There's no doubt he gives us options," Boston general manager Theo Epstein told the Boston Globe. "We like him as a starter, and we like him as a reliever. His career could go a lot of different ways. And he'll probably end up doing both throughout different phases of his career."
Lowell's hip surgery a success: Mike Lowell had surgery on Monday to repair the partially torn labrum in his right hip that slowed him throughout the season. Lowell was limited to two games in the ALDS against the Angels before he was removed from the roster after Game 3 of that series. Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said the surgery was deemed a "complete success." Lowell will likely need three to four months to recover.
"I think today was a big day for the organization," Epstein told redsox.com. "They finally got a look in there. They didn't see anything they didn't expect. They were actually pleasantly surprised."
Peavy has at least one fan in Atlanta: The Padres are putting Jake Peavy on the auction block, and one of the teams expressing interest in the All-Star hurler is the Atlanta Braves. And that is music to third baseman Chipper Jones' ears.
"He's still got his peak years ahead of him, and we'd have him four or five years," Jones told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "That's a bonus. He's got four years to win here, four years to see how nice it is to play so close to home, four years for our fans to make an impression on him that this is a nice place to be, and hopefully we'd be able to keep him past four years.
"Getting that piece of the [offseason] puzzle taken care of would be a tremendous feather in our cap."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.