Tis diamond World Series hangs in transit, suspended like a jet floating over the Rockies.
Ahead lies a hard landing for the New York Yankees, behind two games to nothing to the Los Angeles Dodgers and squabbling among themselves.
The world champions, so elegantly professional in their relentless come-back to reach this Series, must depend once more on the scrawny arm that has never failed them - the left arm of Ron Guidry.
When the Bronx Bickerers and their sweet-tempered southpaw face the Dodgers and battin' Don Sutton in game three at 8:30 tonight, it will be a match up of The Rube against The Rascal.
And it will be a confrontation that the Crankees cannot afford to lose.
Behind these teams lie two luminous twilight evenings in Chavez Ravine with their crinkled majesties-the San Gabriel Mountains - looming sundown - splattered behind the bleachers.
There, LA rookie Bob Welch and New York's Emperor of Autumn, Reggie Jackson, still seem frozen in their personnel ninth-inning version of The Seven Minutes.
"I stood in centerfield," said Dodger Bill North. "I thought, This is the World Series. This is the max."
From 8:09 to 8:16 p.m. PDT, Welch and Jackson staged what North called "a confrontation between a great fast ball hitter and a kid with a great fast ball who's already an Iceman."
After the Iceman cameth and Reggie Rex wiffethed, concluding the Dodgers' second triumph, this sea-to-sea Series rematch could shift its mood as well as its venue, flying from shimmering Chavez to seemy South Bronx.
That offday tranformation was far more than a switch from Hollywood celebs in the boxes to rowdies in the Yankee Stadium bleachers.
A total emotional change occurred as well, from the octuous morbidity that unavoidably accompanied the first two games of this World Serious to the brashly vital "Kill da burns" of New York.
This week will rightly be remember for Jim Gilliam's death, Superficially, the public wake for the deceased Dodger coach was a disquieting Southern California carnival of grief. Why cite maudlin examples? More important, however, Gilliam's death on the eve of the Series spurred genuine eloquence.
"Jim Gilliam should have been a manager," eulogized Rev. Jesse Jackson at Wednesday's funeral, "but the altered his dreams and had to smile through the tears. It's small wonder he died from internal bleeding. Any man denied the chance to achieve his best bleeds a little inside every day."
For the original Boys of Summer, the '50 Dodgers, this is was one more chapter in their long middle-aged autumn sorrow.
"I look around the infield where I Reese. "Gill Hodges died of a heart attack. Jackson Robinson died of diabetes. Bill Cox is gone. Now Jim is gone. And Roy Campanella has been in a wheelchair for 20 years."
Now, the Series itself will once more take center stage.
The Yankees could ask no better relief than three games at home, the first pitched by Guidry.
"Wait until the Dodgers right-handed power meets Death Valley (Yankee Stadium's left field)," said Lou Pinfiella. "It's swallowed Dodgers for 30 years."
The Yankees' will aim for the cozy porch in right against Sutton, author of 29 gopher balls.
Even the Dodgers look on their meeting with Guidry like tourists gawking at the Empire State Building."We want to see if he's human," said Ron Cey, the penguin whose nickname has changed to Cey Magnifieque.
"If Guidry had my curve ball, he'd be unbeaten," said Sutton. "He looks like Sandy Koufax reincarnated. I'm not suprised he's 25-3, just that anybody could be 25-3."
Sutton always dreamed of being a Yankee, but scout Etley Donald turned thumbs down. The same bird dog signed Guidry, who with five days rest should be 200-proof Louisiana Lightning.
"I want to finish this year right," said Guidry. "I know it's not always going to be like this (36 wins in last 40 decisions). Right now I can look in the mirror and say, 'Ron, you had one hell of a season.' But that's all. I want to prove myself oer the years so I can truly say, 'I was one of the best.'
"So far, I haven't come close to what Catfish Hunter has done,"
Guidry is singleminded in gaining that goal. "I'm not going to get too many endorsements. Living down in the swamps, I don't think too many people will try to come down and get me. Most of 'em don't have that much courage.
"I'll be all right as long as I don't hurt myself," said Guidry sheepishly. "Sometimes I'm surprised at the things I do with my arm . . . like a kid. Gee, I still like to climb trees."
Don't say injuries to Yankee Manager Bob Lemon. Chris Chambliss and Mickey Rivers are expected back in the Yank lineup tonight, but Lemon knows how close he was to joining them.
On Wednesday, Rivers and New York's travelling secretary, Bill Kane, got in a shoving match on the team bus over River's inviting a cousin aboard. Lemon interceded, and got his glasses dislodged.
Lemon also got buffeted by Jackson as he stormed back to the dugout ofter being juiced by Welch's grape-sized fast balls.
"Aw, don't make nothin' of that," said Lemon, who jostled Jackson right back. "When I was playing, I'd come back to the dugout with blood in my eye. . .I didn't expect him to say, 'Gee, fellas, I'm sorry I struck out." He was hot and should got out of his way."
If the champs rebound from 0-2, and only five of 22 teams in that predicament have, Lemon's patience should be praised.
Lemon has let the wounded heal, ignored provocations from temperamental players that would have put Martin on the ceiling, and rested Guidry properly. For thanks, the Yanks voted Series shares this week - Lemon and Martin each getting like half shares.
"I walked out of that meeting before I got sick," said Cliff Johnson.
Lemon recognized the hard-boiled win-or-walked-the-plank state of affairs on George Steinbrenner's band of crippled, exhausted Hessians.
"Let's see, what's this for?" asked Lemon, looking at the electronic harness that TV had strapped under his uniform to wire him for sound. "I look like a walking dynamite keg."
With that, he grabbed the imaginary plunger to the hypothetical dynamite and blew himself into the Dodger-blue sky.