Notes: Fall Classic new to most Astros
Spotlight about to shine on several players for first time
CHICAGO -- Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, along with all but four Houston Astros, have never been to the World Series before, so they don't quite know what to expect.
They've been in the spotlight for many, many years -- 15 for Bagwell, 18 for Biggio -- but nothing can prepare them for the bright lights of the Fall Classic, the crown jewel of Major League Baseball, covered by every media outlet in the country, and several from overseas, too.
Biggio, for one, rarely watches the World Series when he's home in Houston. It's too painful. Most players actually enjoy watching the postseason, but for Biggio, it was just a constant reminder that he wanted to be there, but wasn't.
"If you're not in it, why watch it?" he said. "If there was somebody that I played with and really liked, I'd peek in every now and then and see how they were doing. But if I wasn't in it, there were too many other things going on in my life to sit down and watch it.
"I wanted to be there and I didn't want to watch everybody else have fun. It was more frustrating than anything."
School first: Immediately following the Astros' Game 6 win, the cameras got a shot of Chris Burke standing in the dugout, talking on his cell phone.
Burke was talking to his wife, Sara, who wasn't able to attend the game in St. Louis. She is currently attending law school at the University of Louisville, and as much as she wants to be there for the playoffs, duty calls.
Burke spoke admiringly about his wife's ambition and her desire to eventually practice immigration law.
"She juggles school and the baseball life with the best of them," he said. "She's just an unbelievable student. People in baseball perform and people watch you, and law school's different. She's a much better student than I am a baseball player. She's amazing."
What's next? Stupid human tricks? Roy Oswalt reached what some of us might consider the pinnacle of fame when he was asked to read the Top Ten List on the "Late Show with David Letterman" on Thursday.
Oswalt read the list, "The Top Ten Perks Of Getting Into The World Series," live from Minute Maid Park. Among the highlights: No. 10: "Another two weeks of wearing a cup and showering with guys" and No. 1: "If Steinbrenner wants me next year, my price is now a billion dollars."
Oswalt said he enjoyed the experience, but he did ask the show to revise a couple of the answers that he felt were too "individualized" -- in other words, they slammed an opposing player that he will probably have to face again in the future. Like maybe next year, perhaps when the Astros play the Cardinals.
"I think we corrected two of them," Oswalt said. "Two of them were borderline."
Mistaken identity: Dan Wheeler isn't the type to raise a stink about the little things, but he was somewhat disappointed that his nameplate above his locker in the visitors clubhouse at U.S. Cellular Field said "Don Wheeler."
Normally, these kinds of oversights wouldn't be a big deal. But at the World Series, nameplates become keepsakes for the players, and Wheeler is hoping he can obtain a corrected version sometime during the Astros' stay in Chicago.
"It is the World Series," Wheeler said. "I would like to keep that. Even if I don't get it right now, I'd just like to have it."
According to his locker buddy, Russ Springer, even if his nameplate had read "Dan Wheeler," it still would have been wrong.
"He was on the mound when the last out was made in the last game at Busch Stadium," Springer said. "He's now known as Dan 'The Wrecking Ball' Wheeler."
Happy Harville: When Springer retreated to the clubhouse after the Astros clinched the NLCS on Wednesday, he already had one missed call -- from former Houston reliever Chad Harville, who was picked up by the Red Sox off waivers late in the season.
"He said he was jealous, but happy for us at the same time," Wheeler said. "He said, 'I wish I was there.'
"I wish he was here," Springer said. "He was one of the original members of the 'One Heartbeat.'"
The bullpen, to show its solidarity, nicknamed the relief corps "One Heartbeat" earlier in the season.
Mute button: There's a new trend going on around your National League champion Houston Astros: turning off the cell phones.
As soon as Jason Lane caught the last out to clinch the NLCS on Wednesday, players, coaches and the manager have been inundated with phone calls from friends and family, offering congratulations, and, of course, asking about World Series tickets.
Unlike the regular season, tickets to the Fall Classic are hard to come by. Contrary to popular belief, players are very limited in what they are allotted during the World Series.
"People are asking me for tickets," Mike Lamb said, "And I say, 'Well, my wife's coming to Chicago, and I don't even know if I have a ticket for her."
NLCS MVP Oswalt turned his phone off soon after the plane landed in Houston in the wee hours Thursday morning.
"I haven't checked my messages in two days," he said.
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.