The Bird was the word

This is how you flip the Bird to Andrew Miller when Miller throws a rare errant fastball . . .

This is how you flip the Bird to Andrew Miller when Miller throws a rare errant fastball . . .

Andrew Miller, who’s only human in spite of his reputation, knew the split second Greg Bird swung his bat Sunday that the fastball he threw the Baby Bomber wasn’t long for this world. It wasn’t even long for Yankee Stadium.

Miller had just ended a bases loaded threat when he got Starlin Castro to pop out to the back of the infield an inning earlier. Now, Miller had just thrown Bird a pair of sliders Bird couldn’t have hit with a shovel. And then it came.

Shorten games? Eliminate the eight relief warmups. (No, I’m not as crazy as you think . . . )

When you have Zach Britton warmed up already, does he really need eight warmup tosses on the mound?

When you have Zach Britton warmed up already, does he really need eight warmup tosses more on the mound?

Baseball government seeks ways to reduce the time of games. One of them, reportedly, is going to be tested in the minors, namely that extra innings will begin with each team coming to bat starting with a man on second, on the house. That should be rejected as utter foolishness, of course, but there are ways to shorten games without diluting them.

The Cubs. World champions. Signed, Epstein’s mother.

The party's on . . .

The party’s on . . .

Jolly Cholly Grimm started Hy Vandenburg instead of Hank Borowy. The College of Coaches was decertified in its crib. Leo Durocher didn’t burn out his regulars and make nervous wrecks out of his subs and rookies. Leon Durham fielded the grounder. Steve Garvey made a long out. Dusty Baker lifted Mark Prior to start the eighth. Alex Gonzalez fielded the hopper cleanly and turned the double play.

For these Indians, the Cubs are hosts too gracious

IT'S NOT LIKE HE DIDN'T TRY TO WARN YOU---Kipnis (right, with Crisp) said he wanted to bust every heart in Chicago, and his three-run homer in Game Four went a long way to proving it Saturday night . . .

IT’S NOT LIKE HE DIDN’T TRY TO WARN YOU—Kipnis (right, with Crisp) said he wanted to bust every heart in Chicago, and his three-run homer in Game Four went a long way to proving it Saturday night . . .

Apparently, nobody showed the Cubs Jason Kipnis’s Game Three postgame remarks. Just as apparent in Game Four, it almost wouldn’t have mattered if someone had.

The Indians spent the fourth game of this World Series earning the respect they think, not unreasonably, they’ve been denied. A 7-2 win which felt like they were never behind despite an embryonic 1-0 Cub lead does that for you.

Tight Indians win, big Indians mouth

Kipnis may yet learn how nice it isn't to insult another team with a long-suffering fan base . . .

Kipnis may yet learn how nice it isn’t to insult another team with a long-suffering fan base . . .

Jason Kipnis, the Indians’ two-time All-Star second baseman, grew up in a Chicago suburb with dreams of playing the World Series in Wrigley Field. Dreams shared by a few million Cub fans who couldn’t wait to get the party started when the World Series finally came to Wrigley Field after lo these many decades.

And after his Indians managed to squeeze their way to a 1-0 Game Three win in the Confines, Kipnis took into consideration the broken hearts in the ballpark, in front of the television sets, next to the radios, wherever Cub Country congregated, and had words for those hearts.

Will the team with the best ex-Red Sox win the Series?

Will Game One starter Jon Lester prove the best of either team's ex-Red Sox?

Will Game One starter Jon Lester prove the best of either team’s ex-Red Sox?

That was then: The team with the most ex-Cubs lost. This could be now: The team with the best ex-Red Sox wins.

The Cubs’ ex-Red Sox: Theo Epstein (president of baseball operations), Jon Lester (the Cubs’ World Series Game One starting pitcher), and John Lackey. The Indians’ ex-Red Sox: Terry Francona (manager), Mike Napoli (first baseman/designated hitter), and Andrew Miller (extraterrestrial relief pitcher).

Factors to consider:

The Indians go to the Series on Merritt

"I bet he's shaking in his boots," said Bautista of Merritt before Game Five. Bautista lost that bet . . .

“I’m sure he’s shaking in his boots,” said Bautista of Merritt before Game Five. Bautista and the Blue Jays lost that bet . . .

The Blue Jays picked the absolute wrong time to get shut out for the first time in postseason play. Ever. And thanks to a kid who’d only thrown eleven major league innings ever until Wednesday afternoon, aided and abetted by that skin-tight bullpen, the Indians are going to the World Series after hammering down the Jays, 3-0.

Now, it’s Miller time

With his Indians up two games to none, the ALCS is Miller time, thus far . . .

With his Indians up two games to none, the ALCS is Miller time, thus far . . .

If the Blue Jays have any prayer of coming back to win an American League Championship Series in which they opened two games in the hole, they have but one recourse. They’re going to have to arrange Andrew Miller’s kidnapping.

“[B]aseball is so rooted in traditions,” tweeted Dodger pitcher Brandon McCarthy, after the Indians beat the Jays a second straight time Saturday afternoon, “that hitters still take their bats to the plate against Andrew Miller even though they’re not needed.”

“Let me wear this uniform one more day!”

Unable to get past this year's division series, Red Sox gigastar David Ortiz settles for one more bath of Fenway love as his distinguished career ends Monday night.

Unable to get past this year’s division series, Red Sox gigastar David Ortiz settles for one more bath of Fenway love as his distinguished career ends Monday night.

Both American League Championship Series combatants get there by way of division series sweeps. For the Indians it had to be a little extra special to get there by sweeping the Red Sox.

Twelve years ago Indians manager Terry Francona managed an entirely different club of Red Sox to the Promised Land the franchise hadn’t seen since a kid named Ruth was in the starting rotation.

The running of the Indians’ bulls

Andrew Miller, Terry Francona's star lecturer in what to do when you need a stopper like five minutes ago . . .

Andrew Miller, Terry Francona’s star lecturer in what to do when you need a stopper like five minutes ago . . .

Attention, Buck Showalter. Pull up a chair, Mike Matheny. Join up, any other manager who thinks there’s no such thing as using your best relief pitchers in any situation other than closing it out when you take a lead to the ninth.

Class was in session in Cleveland’s Progressive Field Thursday night. Schoolmaster, Indians manager Terry Francona. Lecturers, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen. Special guest victims, the Red Sox.