Now, the real work begins.
Fred Claire must address perhaps the busiest off-season in his career as Dodger general manager.
Does he bring back Manager Tom Lasorda?
Does he bid farewell to veterans Tom Candiotti, Brett Butler, Roberto Kelly, Tim Wallach, Delino DeShields and Mitch Webster?
Who plays shortstop in 1996? Who plays third? Who plays left field and center field?
The earliest decision that must be made is whether to pick up the $1.5-million option on Wallach’s contract. The decision must be made within 15 days upon conclusion of the World Series. The Dodgers likely won’t pick up the option, but if Wallach does not retire, they may try to sign him for about $600,000.
Claire, however, says all decisions are on the back burner.
“We haven’t decided on a time-line,” Claire said. “Our plans were to play in late October.
“There will be an appropriate time for all of the decisions. We’ll reflect on what has happened, and plan on what will happen.”
Cincinnati General Manager Jim Bowden on his conversation in Los Angeles with Lasorda:
“Lasorda was giving me this bull about Dodger blue. I told him, ‘I’ll tell what. I’ll cut your arm off and the team that wins is the color you’ll bleed.’ ”
Until Friday, the Dodgers had been swept only once in franchise history in 26 postseason series.
The other time was the 1966 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles’ second baseman was Davey Johnson, now manager of the Reds.
Dodger first baseman Eric Karros, despite going three for four with a double, two homers and four RBIs in Game 2, said it was the most painful game of his life.
“That was probably the toughest loss I’ve had as a professional player,” Karros said. “There’s no way we should have lost that game, no way. All of those squandered opportunities.”
Perhaps the only person in attendance Friday night at Game 3 who really didn’t want to be at Riverfront Stadium was Ken Griffey Sr., who was doing commentary for a local TV station.
He wanted to be in Seattle to watch his son, Mariner center fielder Ken Griffey Jr., play against the Yankees.
“When I made the commitment,” Griffey said, “the Mariners were 13 games out.”
After the Dodgers failed to sell out their two playoff games in Los Angeles, Riverfront Stadium was a sellout Friday night.
“It got so crazy today,” Bowden said, “that I couldn’t even get an outside line. I think people are getting excited about baseball again.
“My next-door neighbor wouldn’t go to a game all year, and then when we made the playoffs, he knocked on my door and was looking for playoff tickets. I said, ‘No, no, no, it doesn’t work that way.’ ”
Bowden, on the experience of watching his first playoff team: “It’s nerve-racking. I think I chewed all my fingernails off in L.A., and if we make it to the World Series, I’ll probably have a heart attack.
“Davey Johnson and [coach] Ray Knight kind of calmed me down when I walked into their office. They told me, ‘Been there. Done that. Won that.’ ”