CHICAGO – (Wire Service Report) – – Joe Maddon left his condo at the usual time, but his drive down Clark Street to Wrigley Field was most unusual.
“Video game people could definitely make a game about crossing Clark Street,” Maddon said, described the scene near
Wrigleyville, where bars opened for breakfast and refreshments with cover charges from $100 to $250.
“It’s spectacular. Some of the prices, and what you (do or don’t) get for that price. I mean, there are people flying here just to go to a bar, not even the ballgame. It should be an absolute blast. It’s a good moment for everybody.”
After his morning swim, Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona said he arrived at Wrigley Field around 11 a.m. CT, more than eight hours before first pitch, and went wholly unnoticed walking through surrounding patrons.
“I know that the atmosphere is going to be tremendous,” he said. “They’ve been waiting for this for a long time. And Wrigley is pretty special anyway. … I’m not really good at taking the minute to take things in. I enjoy the whole thing. I love what we’re doing. I don’t need to look around. I’ve always been this way, the journey for me is the most fun.”
Maddon said when he parked outside Wrigley Field eight hours before Game 3, he glanced up at the flags atop the centerfield scoreboard and noticed Friday night could be a little bit different.
Wind gusts midday were around eight mph, and three hours before game time were 15 mph. By first pitch, Josh Tomlin, the “fly ball pitcher” starting Game 3 for the Cleveland Indians, might be in trouble.
“I’ve seen them like that before,” Maddon said of the high winds whipping the flags in the outfield. “It’s supposed to get heavier. If you make good pitches, you can still pitch here. The difference is, a fly ball is going to go out. There’s nothing you can do about it.”
Right fielder Jason Heyward started on the bench for the third consecutive World Series game. Maddon said it didn’t mean Heyward would not start this series, but he went with right-hander and power bat Jorge Soler based on wind speeds and Tomlin’s fly ball-home run rate, which was 20 percent last season.
“If he makes a mistake … it will go out,” Maddon said.
Earlier Friday, team president Theo Epstein said that any fixes in Heyward’s game are now considered offseason maintenance, an indication he might not return to the lineup Saturday night for Game 4 against Corey Kluber.