SCOTT SIMON, host:
Hey, time now for sports.
(Soundbite of music)
SIMON: How do you know it's Halloween in Philadelphia? Everybody's dressed like Pedro Martinez, and why not? Pitched well, though he lost the other night. Game 3 of the World Series happens tonight in Philly. Howard Bryant of ESPN and our show is there covering the game. Howard, you there?
Mr. HOWARD BRYANT (ESPN): Good morning, Scott. I am here.
Mr. BRYANT: Present, reporting for duty.
SIMON: Story of the series so far: pitching.
Mr. BRYANT: It's pitching, no question. It's a great series. I thought from the start that this was going to be one of the best World Series that we've had because it's been a long time since you've had the two best teams in baseball facing each other, mostly because the two best teams have been in the same division - the Red Sox and the Yankees.
And now I think you actually have a World Series where the best team in the American League - the Yankees - and the best team, the defending champion, you know, Philadelphia Phillies, are going head to head. And Pedro Martinez was great; Cliff Lee was fantastic; C.C. Sabathia was great; and A.J. Burnett was great. It's been a phenomenal, phenomenal series.
SIMON: And Mariano Rivera in a couple of years - a couple of years, it seems like - a couple of innings of relief. I got to - Cliff Lee also fielded his position well, didn't he?
Mr. BRYANT: Yeah, and we were talking about that, how it was - the difference between yesterday and today. He hits a pop fly and he nonchalants the ball, catches it at his hip as if he's out in Central Park, making a catch in the middle of the World Series, ho-hum. And obviously in yesterday's game, in the 1950s somebody would have had to pay the price - maybe a fastball behind the ear - for him showboating that play.
But it was - he was clearly in control of everything. You would have thought that he was out playing football with his son, he was so good.
SIMON: Because the Yankees lost that first game and the mathematics of home field advantage, does that matter?
Mr. BRYANT: Sure. I don't think there's a home field advantage in this series because the ballparks are so similar. Yankee Stadium is a home run park. Citizens Bank Park is a home run park. I don't think there's a big deal here. Where it really does matter, though, is the last stops. Of course when you've got the home field advantage you get the final swing.
And these two teams are so good and so patient and so offensively gifted that whoever gets that last swing is probably going to be the one who wins.
SIMON: Cole Hamel starts for Philly tonight; Andy Pettitte's on the mound for the Yankees. He's been in more World Series games that Vin Scully.
Mr. BRYANT: He's only won more postseasons games than anybody. I say from - I said from the start, I said that this was going to go the distance. I said Yankees in seven - I'm tentatively holding onto that. And I'm going to enjoy every minute of it and so should anybody else who really likes playoff baseball.
SIMON: That's sports, great series so far. Okay, Howard, talk to you later.
Mr. BRYANT: Take care.
SIMON: Howard Bryant, senior writer for ESPN.com, ESPN the Magazine, ESPN the candy corn, joining us from Philadelphia.
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