Blum leaves former teammates glum

Blum leaves former teammates glum

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.
Player
Team
Year
Geoff Blum Chicago White Sox 2005
Mike Lamb Houston 2005
David Ortiz Boston 2004
Troy Glaus Anaheim 2002
Barry Bonds San Francisco 2002
Andruw Jones * Atlanta 1996
Fred McGriff Atlanta 1995
Ed Sprague Toronto 1992
Eric Davis Cincinnati 1990
Bill Bathe San Francisco 1989
Jose Canseco Oakland 1988
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

"Our group -- four scrubs came through," said Blum with a smile, alluding to the batting practice rotation in which reserves bring up the rear. "But getting down into these crunch time situations, 14 innings into it, forces Ozzie's hands to throw us in there. So it turned out pretty good."

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.