"For Game 7," said John Candelaria.
He held up a crumpled ticket to Game 7 of the World Series.
Lots of people in Baltimore, some of whom play baseball for a living, hope there will be no Game 7 this World Series. They hope the Orioles will end it in Tuesday night's sixth game.
"Can scalp this one," Candelaria said with a sly smile, "for a couple hundred."
John Candelaria will be the Pirates' starting pitcher Tuesday night. "It's going to be cold in Baltimore, the Pirates are going to win and there will be a seventh game," the big left-hander said in the Pirates' funhouse/locker-room this morning.
"I figure if I can get out 'Babe' Garcia, I've got a chance."
Before Game 3 of this Series, Alfonso Rafael (Kiko) Garcia had done nothing to inspire even sarcastic connection to Babe Ruth.
Against Candelaria in that game, though, Garcia, the Oriole shortstop, crashed so many screamers into right field -- one a double, one a triple -- that Pirate right fielder Dave Parker later mock-scolded Candelaria, "I'm tired of running through alleys trying to catch that stuff you're throwing."
Babe Garcia was born.For Candelaria, at 25 a five-year veteran with a 56-29 won-lost record, such abuse by .247-hitting Kiko Garcia is embarrassing. Now Candelaria gets a second chance against the Babe and the Birds in a game the Pirates must win.
The Pirates are really uptight about this pressure game. You could tell in their locker room this morning. Here was Ed Ott, the catcher, waving his right arm in windmill fashion, screaming, "Go, go, go!"
The Pirate third base coach, named Joe Lonnett stood near Ott. In a mix-up the other night, Lonnett had ordered Ott to run home and the catcher was thrown out by about 600 feet. So now Ott was doing his windmill impression of the third base coach at work, laughing and saying to Lonnett, "You got me running and I got no chance."
"Me!" Ott said. "Me running! On a scale of 50, I got 14 speed!"
The tension was so thick you could cut it with a feather.
Willie Stargell had a bat in hand, threatening to hit pitcher Jim Bibby in the mouth.
"Come here, Bibby, come on, I've been wanting to do this all season," Stargell said.
"Let me see that bat," Bibby said, reaching for the stick.
"See? You see with your eyes, not your hands. I'm going to put it right up against your lip. I'm going to close my eyes and swing."
His eyes clamped shut, Stargell swung the big stick slowly past Bibby's mustache.
"Just like on a curve ball," Stargell said, "I missed." And both men dissolved in giggles.
Candelaria's father, John, Sr., is not often exposed to people who swing bats at mustaches for the fun of it. So when Dave Parker shoved the pitcher Candelaria and told him he was tired of running through alleys chasing down Babe Garcia's ropes, here came the pitcher's father.
"My dad goes running up to Parker and says, 'Don't you push my son,'" Candelaria said. "So someone introduced my Dad and said it was all right, Dave was just playing. And then later Parker says, 'Mr Candelaria, I'm gonna beat up your son.' And Parker pulls this little switch-blade of his. This time my dad just laughed."
The Pirates take some getting used to, both in their funhouse and on the diamond. As good as they have been in two victories in this series, they were just as shoddy in three defeats. How can any team hit .339 for five games and yet lose three of them by an average of almost three runs a game? They did it by playing carelessly -- they have run into four outs on the bases in the defeat, three of those outs Little League mistakes -- and they do it, too, because the Orioles ain't bad.
"They're an excellent team," Candelaria said. "They're good hitters. We've made mistakes to some of them and they have hit our mistakes. By the same principle, we've made some good pitches, and they've hit them too.
"And they don't make mistakes. The mistakes we've made have cost us games.
Look at the first inning of the first game."
In that first inning, with the help of two walks, two errors and a wild pitch, Baltimore built a 5-0 lead on just six at-bats. From that moment, this series has been marked by the Orioles' big innings -- a five-run fourth in Game 3, helped along by an error, and a six-run eighth in Game 4 when submariner Kent Tekulve threw floating-balloon mistakes instead of sinking torpedoes.
In Candelaria's Game 3 start, the Pirates led 3-2 before a 65-minute rain delay. When Candelaria returned to the mound, he was shelled immediately in that big fourth inning, and Garcia's bases-loaded triple was the coup de grace.
"No excuses," Candelaria said, pointing out that Baltimore pitcher Scott McGregor was better after the rain than before.
No excuses, but. . .
Candelaria did not like the Pirate scouting report on the Oriole hitters.
"I don't agree with the scouting reports," he said. "But I don't want to start anything with the front office. I want to stay here."
Babe Garcia and Benny. Ayala were five-to-five against Candelaria with a double, triple, home run and five runs batted in -- all before anyone was out in the Baltimore fourth.
Did Candelaria follow the scouting report instructions in that game?
"Yeah," he said, adding, "I might change tomorrow."
Candelaria has not won a game since Sept. 12 and has not pitched a complete game since Sept. 2. Bothered by sore rib muscles, he sat out two weeks before starting against Cincinnati in the league championship series. Though he went a strong seven innings to set up an opening game victory, Candelaria said his ribs "hurt like hell."
He said the ribs did not bother him against Baltimore 10 days later. "I just got hit," he said.
Only three gold stars decorate Candelaria's baseball cap. The stars are awarded by Stargell for outstanding work. "I can't remember the last time I got a star," Candelaria said. "It's been that far back since I won a game.
It must be about time. Tomorrow."