10/11/2003 2:09 AM ET
Super subs make their mark in win
MIAMI -- One of baseball's most enduring -- and therefore perhaps least endearing -- cliches is that "it takes 25 guys to win."
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
Most of the time, this is simply not true. Most nights, it's a few guys -- the slugger, the starting pitcher, two or three relievers and perhaps a table-setter or two on offense. But on Friday night at Pro Player Stadium, the Cubs' 25th man came up with the biggest hit of the night in an absolutely sensational 5-4 extra-inning win. And joining Doug Glanville in his moment of glory were Tom Goodwin -- arguably the 24th man -- and a guy who surely is not one of the first 10 or so, Randall Simon.
Glanville, who was borderline even to make the Cubs' NL Championship Series roster, shot a one-out RBI triple past a diving Jeff Conine in left field, driving home Kenny Lofton for the go-ahead run in a game that will surely appear on ESPN Classic sooner than later. Goodwin also rapped a key triple, and Simon came off the bench to deliver a two-run homer for the victorious Cubs.
Sammy Sosa? Kerry Wood? Sure, they were around. They played, and they played well. But this game belonged to the other guys.
"We take a lot of pride because we recognize we can win the game just as easily as a starter or Sammy or anybody," Glanville said of the bench brigade. "So we're in the locker room in between innings, stretching and trying to get loose and ready to go at any time. All it takes is one hit, one run. And that can come from anybody."
Glanville nearly didn't have the chance to be "anybody," however. He might have been left off the series roster if utilityman Tony Womack were healthy. But Womack is hurting, so the pride of the University of Pennsylvania got his chance. Of course, on a night like this, who's to say that Womack wouldn't have come through himself? It was a strange night in northern Dade County.
The bench is supposed to be one of the Cubs' advantages in this series. Manager Dusty Baker can exploit matchups with the left-handed Simon and right-hander Eric Karros at first base. He can call on jack-of-all-trades Ramon Martinez, who plays several infield positions well and pastes lefty pitching. But Goodwin and Glanville? They're supposed to be speed guys, pinch-runners mostly. Not extra-base hit guys. Then again, speed was a big part of both triples -- though obviously not of Simon's homer.
Baker curiously elected to leave Karros in to face right-handed reliever Chad Fox with the bases loaded in the seventh, then double-switched in the bottom of that inning. That made Simon the third batter in the eighth, in the pitcher's spot.
After a leadoff fly out by Alex Gonzalez in the eighth, the Chicago skipper pinch-hit for catcher Damian Miller with Goodwin, a move that on the surface looked fairly inconsequential. That was until Goodwin lofted a ball into the gap in right-center, and rookie Miguel Cabrera couldn't track it down. As Cabrera, a third baseman by trade, gave chase, Goodwin motored all the way around to third.
"I was gonna try to be more aggressive," Goodwin said. "The bat hit the ball. And then you run."
And then Simon came up. And he ripped a pitch from Fox into the seats in left field, turning a 3-2 Marlins lead into a 4-3 Cubs advantage. Had the lead stood, it would have been time to start calling Simon "Abe Froman" -- because he would have been, undoubtedly, the sausage king of Chicago.
However, Florida pushed across a run against Farnsworth in the eighth, and an already scintillating game went extra frames. That gave Glanville a chance to be a hero. Kenny Lofton rapped a one-out single through the hole on the left side. Even after Florida manager Jack McKeon replaced lefty Michael Tejera with right-handed Braden Looper, Baker went with Glanville, who bats from the right side.
As Lofton left with the pitch, Glanville smacked a low, hard ball through the left side, the sort of hit that probably singed some blades of grass on the way. It looked like a single to move Lofton over to third, but when Conine misplayed it, Lofton scored and the speedy Glanville made it all the way to third himself.
It was Glanville's biggest hit since... Little League?
"I remember in the Cape Cod (League) playoffs, I hit a game-tying home run in the final game," he said. "But I don't know. It's all significant at the time. Like when I was in Little League, you hit a home run in Little League, (that's big). Rick Wilkins was the big bully, and I hit a home run off of him. But obviously magnitude of this, on a national level, is big."
You don't have to go to Penn to figure that out. For what it's worth, Mike Remlinger closed out the game in the bottom of the 11th, marking one of very few occasions where two Ivy Leaguers played central roles in a Major League victory.
But that's neither here nor there. On a night where three hits by Sosa and 6 2/3 solid innings by Wood were almost forgotten, the "other guys" were the heroes. That's the curious nature of playoff baseball. All 25 guys.
Sometimes there's a reason for those cliches.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.