The switch-hitting reserve infielder was recognized instantly by White Sox and Houston fans alike. Surprisingly, the reaction to Blum was almost universally positive.
"There were plenty of congratulations," said Blum, who had one at-bat previously during the entire postseason. "They weren't too angry with what happened."
While the general public seemed to embrace Blum's moment in the spotlight, White Sox general manager Ken Williams had a bit more trouble getting excited for his lone acquisition at the none-waiver trade deadline. It has nothing to do with Blum's personality, as he has been characterized as the consummate teammate since coming over from San Diego.
But Williams was a football player at Stanford University, and Blum played for the University of California at Berkeley. In principal, it's tough for Williams to support the enemy. Williams joked with Padres general manager Kevin Towers in late July that it was somewhat difficult for him to acquire a "Cal guy."
"Then, this morning, when I read again, 'Geoff Blum, from Cal-Berkeley,' it was tough to get my arms around this one," Williams said with a smile. "I came to the conclusion that I'm still upset about that football game, but Cal has a little better place in my heart right now.
"[Heck], if he would have told me he was going to do that, I would have worn a Cal jersey," Williams added.
When pushed further on that jersey topic, Williams admitted quickly he was kidding. Blum is one of six free agents on the White Sox after the 2005 season comes to a close and said prior to Game 4 Wednesday that he would like to stay in Chicago, because it's hard to break up or leave such a successful team.
As for the gravity of his actions Tuesday, Blum said it will take one more victory to have it totally register. It almost was an at-bat that didn't take place. Guillen originally had Pablo Ozuna on the lineup card at second base when he made the double-switch to bring in reliever Damaso Marte, but quickly switched to Blum for no reason other than he saw him on the bench.
Guillen's middle son, Oney, called Blum's shot before he delivered off Ezequiel Astacio.
"When we solidify this thing and party like we've never partied before, that will definitely put the capper on what happened last night," Blum said.
More from the hero: If Mark Buehrle had been unable to finish off Adam Everett in the 14th inning, pitching coach Don Cooper said Blum could have been doing double duty as the next pitcher on the mound.
At that point, the full bullpen had been completely burned out.
"Blum was next," said Cooper with a wry smile. "Three or four guys came up to me and said that Blum has a decent arm and a little rise to his pitches. Blum said he felt wonderful and might be able to throw."
Buehrle retired Everett on a popup to Juan Uribe, becoming the first pitcher to start a game and record a save in the next game of the World Series. Cooper said that Buehrle approached him in the sixth or seventh inning and said that he was available. Cooper told Buehrle they wouldn't need him unless the game went 13 or 14 innings.
"And we ended up using Buehrle," said Cooper of the left-hander, who threw the equivalent of a side session Tuesday and still would be on target for Saturday's Game 6 start, if necessary.
"The legend grows," added White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko of Buehrle. "That's all you can say about him. But that was a total team effort last night."
No comment: Don't look for Williams to invite Houston manager Phil Garner for any family functions in the very near future. Williams was asked Wednesday about Garner's shouting of expletives at Joe Crede, after Crede reacted when he was hit by a Roy Oswalt pitch during the five-run fifth inning Tuesday night, and then the ensuing shouting match between Garner and White Sox designated hitter Carl Everett. Williams chose to let a few words speak volumes.
"It's best that I don't comment on Phil Garner," Williams said. "I had problems with him before he even said those things about my players and it's best it's kept between the two of us. I have no reason or desire to speak to him about anything."
Crede chalked up the incident to temperatures rising during the highest level of baseball competition.
"The emotion is going to take over in this game," Crede said. "Sometime you have to expect it. What happened in that situation happened. It's over now and nothing else needs to be said about it. It won't carry into [Wednesday's] game or any other game."
A culture of greatness: With a win Wednesday night, the White Sox would not only clinch their first World Series title since 1917 but also match the 1999 Yankees for the second-best record in postseason history at 11-1. The White Sox trail only the 1976 Reds, who finished 7-0 in the postseason. That squad happens to be one of Guillen's favorites because of the Cincinnati shortstop, Davey Concepcion.
"A guy I admired the most was part of one of my favorite teams," said Guillen of Concepcion, who has contacted him twice from Venezuela since the playoffs began.
Around the horn: Roland Hemond, the one-time general manager of the White Sox and now advisor to Williams, celebrated his 76th birthday on Wednesday. ... Including the White Sox team plane, the organization sent four charters to Houston for the middle three games of the World Series. All full-time employees, including interns from this past season, were brought to Houston by chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. ... The White Sox are 5-0 on the road in the 2005 playoffs, after finishing the regular with a Major League-best 52-29 record away from home.