Blum leaves former teammates glum
In first at-bat of Fall Classic, infielder puts Sox on cusp
HOUSTON -- Geoff Blum, who has spent much of his career in baseball's low-rent district, moved into the palace in the wee minutes of Wednesday morning.
Moved? How about, knocked on the door then kicked it in and made himself at home?
Blum, a 32-year-old journeyman who for three weeks had the best seat in the house to view the White Sox swagger through postseason, finally came out of the dugout.
And he went out of Minute Maid Park, turning the proverbial childhood fantasy into man-sized reality.
"C'mon, we're all kids. We all dreamt about it," an effervescent Blum said a few minutes after last-call all around town. "In some of my myriad of dreams, playing Wiffle Ball with my brother in the backyard, I had a couple of World Series at-bats.
"But nothing quite like this."
Few man have had anything like this.
Blum's two-out homer off Ezequiel Astacio in the 14th inning helped end the longest World Series game in history, a 7-5 victory that moved the White Sox within one win of their first World Series title in 88 years.
For Blum, it also ended a career-long wait to dress for a World Series -- then another three-week wait to actually get another at-bat in a postseason game. His only previous at-bat had come in the opening game of the Division Series against Boston.
"There was a lot of pent-up aggression going into that at-bat," Blum said. "I've been waiting for it for a long time.
"And guys were screaming on the bench about how tired and hungry they were ... so what better time to do it than right here, right now?"
It took more than five hours to get to that "right now" in a game that would last 5 hours, 41 minutes.
One way to look at it is that a record-long World Series game was needed for Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen to look down his bench and remember some supporting actors.
Touching them all
|By hitting a homer in the 14th inning, Geoff Blum became the 30th player in World Series history to go yard in his first at-bat of the Fall Classic.|
|Geoff Blum||Chicago White Sox||2005|
|Barry Bonds||San Francisco||2002|
|Andruw Jones *||Atlanta||1996|
|Bill Bathe||San Francisco||1989|
|Mickey Hatcher||Los Angeles||1988|
|Jim Dwyer||Baltimore Orioles||1983|
|Bob Watson||New York Yankees||1981|
|Amos Otis||Kansas City Royals||1980|
|Doug DeCinces||Baltimore Orioles||1979|
|Jim Mason||New York Yankees||1976|
|Gene Tenace *||Oakland A's||1972|
|Don Buford||Baltimore Orioles||1969|
|Mickey Lolich||Detroit Tigers||1968|
|Jose Santiago||Boston Red Sox||1967|
|Brooks Robinson||Baltimore Orioles||1966|
|Don Mincher||Minnesota Twins||1965|
|Roger Maris||New York Yankees||1960|
|Elston Howard||New York Yankees||1955|
|Dusty Rhodes||New York Giants||1954|
|George Selkirk||New York Yankees||1936|
|Mel Ott||New York Giants||1933|
|George Watkins||St. Louis Cardinals||1930|
|Joe Harris||Washington Senators||1925|
|* homered in first two at-bats|
While their own bullpen kept a tight lid on the Astros, the White Sox wasted little time assaulting the bottom of Houston's bullpen. But after Jermaine Dye began the 14th with a single off Astacio -- pitching for the first time in a month, since Sept. 24 -- Paul Konerko bounced into a crushing double play.
Yet, the situation played into Blum's hands.
"I never faced Astacio before, so I just talked with [batting coach] Greg Walker about what he's got," Blum said.
"And I found myself in a great situation: 2-0 count, two outs. I figured, why not take a chance right here? And I lucked out that it was a fastball that I could handle, and I hit it out."
For the record, it was Blum's second home run as a member of the White Sox, who acquired him in a July 31 deal from San Diego.
His first had come on Aug. 29, against the Rangers in Arlington. Blum clearly likes hitting in the state of Texas.
While his former Padres teammates also found their way into this October -- making Blum one of four players who split their seasons between two playoff teams -- the rest of his career has been divided among Montreal and Tampa Bay ... and Houston.
Blum spent the 2002-03 seasons here as a popular member of the Astros. And, presumably, as one of their Killer B's.
"You'd have to ask them," he said. "I don't know who keeps books on the Killer B's. But I think I might be voted out now."
Nonsense. On a magical night that droned on into morning and increased baseball's buzz, he was the only genuine Killer B on the premises.
"The stars were aligned right," Blum said. "And the roof was open, so they could look down on us and take care of us."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.