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No fence-sitting for mayor

By MARC TOPKIN, Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 19, 2000

NEW YORK -- Political correctness apparently is not a concern for New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

"I'm rooting for the Yankees, absolutely," Giuliani said as he moved through the Yankees celebratory clubhouse after Tuesday's pennant-clinching game. "I've been a Yankees fan since I was 3 years old. There's no possible way I could root for anyone else."

Giuliani was in the Mets' clubhouse after their pennant-clinching win on Monday, but apparently that was just for show.

His prediction: "Yankees in six games."

[AP photo]
Fortitude, the northernmost stone lion that stands at the entrance to the New York Public Library, wears a New York Yankees baseball cap.
PITCHING IN: There were no official announcements, but the Mets are expected to maintain the rotation they used in the first two rounds of the playoffs. That means Mike Hampton will start Saturday's opener, followed by Al Leiter, Rick Reed and Bobby Jones.

The Yankees likely will counter with Andy Pettitte in Game 1, followed by Roger Clemens, Orlando Hernandez and either Denny Neagle or David Cone. By pitching Clemens in Game 2 and a potential Game 6, the Yankees avoid having him bat at Shea Stadium.

Clemens hit Mets catcher Mike Piazza in the head during a July game, and there has been some talk that the Mets would seek revenge.

Piazza, meanwhile, told New York writers he had put the incident behind him. "It's completely out of my mind," he said. "When I face him, it's like any other pitcher. People can make this into whatever they want. I know as a ballplayer I can't go out there and turn it into something bigger than it is. I can't be so obsessed with Roger Clemens."

YANKEE DOODLES: Tuesday's victory ran Hernandez's post-season record to 8-0, making him the first to pitcher to win his first eight decisions. He has pitched at least seven innings in all nine post-season starts. ... AL series MVP David Justice has more post-season RBI (51) than any player in history, breaking a tie with Reggie Jackson. ... Tuesday's victory marked the 11th time during Joe Torre's reign the Yankees won a post-season game when trailing after six innings.

BACK TO WORK: As the reality of a Subway Series settled in, baseball crept back into the minds of the two teams. Slowly.

The Yankees got a day off Wednesday to rest. A few Mets pitchers threw at Shea Stadium, though rain washed out a full workout.

THE END: Seattle manager Lou Piniella said the worst thing about Tuesday's loss was that it meant the Mariners' season was over. "The sad part about baseball, or any sport really, is that no matter how far you go up the ladder of success unless you end up being the world championship team you're going to face some disappointment," he said.

WHEN THINGS GO WRONG ... : The Mariners couldn't get out of New York fast enough after losing to the Yankees early Wednesday morning.

The team's chartered plane was routed back to Kennedy Airport shortly after taking off because smoke began spewing from a microwave oven in the galley, aviation officials said.

None of the 90 passengers or seven crew members were injured.

The incident occurred about four hours after the Mariners' season ended with a 9-7 loss in the American League Championship Series.

The team finally took off from Kennedy at 8:50 a.m. and arrived in Seattle six hours later.

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