The World Series had deteriorated into something of a war of words before Game 6, several Indian players contending the pressure was on the Braves, even though they returned to Atlanta with a 3-2 lead.

"They know they can't win a World Series," Cleveland shortstop Omar Vizquel said. "They already lost twice [in 1991 and '92]. When you have that on your mind, it's tough to get out."

Cleveland pitcher Orel Hershiser said after Game 5 that the pressure was on the Braves, "because they're the ones with the lead to lose."

Atlanta players--and even Manager Bobby Cox--reacted harshly. "Orel should keep his mouth shut," Cox said. "He should play games with babies somewhere. We're grown-ups over here."

After losing Game 6--and the Series--Saturday night, Vizquel admitted his comments "were really stupid."

Added Vizquel: "All those comments were just psychological warfare, trying to get into their minds. You want to scare them, try to intimidate them, get them to think about it."


Atlanta's pitching staff will get most of the credit for the World Series victory, but clutch hitting and timely long balls also played a big part in the disposal of the Indians.

But Cleveland pitcher Dennis Martinez, who threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings Saturday night, felt there was at least one person in the dugout who deserves more credit.

"Everyone talks about their great pitching and hitting, but to me, Bobby Cox is the man," Martinez said of the Braves' manager. "He really knows what he's doing.

"He may look funny with the way he walks, but I have a lot of respect for him; he made all the right moves. You can't beat him. The older he gets the better he gets. I congratulate him."


Cleveland left fielder Albert Belle apologized to NBC's Hannah Storm on Saturday for his obscenity-laced tirade before Game 3 in which he told Storm and other reporters to "get the . . . out of the dugout."

"I received a letter of apology from [Cleveland Manager] Mike Hargrove, and I spoke to Belle in the [clubhouse] tunnel about 45 minutes ago and he said he wanted to apologize and I accepted," Storm said.

"As far as I'm concerned it's over. My job is to cover Game 6, and baseball's job is to deal with [Belle]. I'd rather not say anything more except I'm happy he apologized."


Belle was the dominant topic in a pregame interview session with Cleveland General Manager John Hart, but Hart did not respond when asked if the Indians intend to react to every reporter Belle has cursed at during the playoffs.

Hart was also asked if Belle has undergone psychiatric examination for mood disorder and said he hadn't.

Hart defended Belle as baseball's "premier power hitter" and a "complex individual" who may not talk to the media "on the same day he's out talking to a church group."

Essentially, he said, the Indians "pay Albert to play" but that the club consistently talks to the players about their relationship with fans and the media and that's an issue "all baseball is dealing with" in the wake of the strike, including the union.

"We certainly have high standards . . . and don't approve" of unprovoked incidents, Hart said, but asked if he was concerned about it reflects on the Indians, he said:

"I don't know that it puts anyone other than Albert in a light. If you look at a team of 25 personalities, not all 25 have the consistent behavior of an Orel Hershiser or Carlos Baerga. A team is like a family, sometimes you have to embrace, sometimes you have to give tough love. We believe in Albert very much. Obviously, you're not always pleased with what your kids do. I think in this thing you're talking about a grown man, who, if he does make a mistake, it's something he's going to have to live up to. I mean, that's still part of his growth."


Hargrove on the length of the extended playoffs: "I thought these four weeks have been four years, but I think anyone would gladly take it. Probably the distraction and the wear and tear were more evident the first three games of this Series. Since then, it's been one of those things you get used to and are able to deal with and focus in different directions."


Of the Braves' last 18 World Series games dating to Game 2 of the 1991 series against the Minnesota Twins, 14 have been decided by one run, with the Braves going 5-9 in that stretch. . . . Atlanta center fielder Marquis Grissom singled in the seventh for his 25th hit of the postseason, breaking the previous record of 24, set by Boston's Marty Barrett in 1986. . . . Atlanta's Tom Glavine became the first pitcher to throw five hitless innings since Kansas City's Charlie Leibrandt against St. Louis in Game 6 of the 1985 Series. Leibrandt later became a Brave and gave up the game-winning homer to Minnesota's Kirby Puckett in Game 6 of the 1991 Series, which the Twins won in seven games.

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