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Sunday, November 4, 2001

I'm sorry, I just can't be responsible for every tiny-brained creature that wanders into my house. (Enter punchline here.) The first thing I saw this morning was a lizard scooting across the living room carpet. By the time I could reach it, it had scampered into the entertainment center, losing itself among the CDs and video tapes.

I tried, I really did. I tried to catch it so I could return it to the garden. But I wasn't about to devote my whole day to that enterprise. I never saw it again, but I'm sure some day I'll reach for a CD or tape and come away with a crispy critter in my hand. It won't be the first time this has happened. Most of the time I've been able to save the lizards' lives, but every so often one will be just too elusive.

Maybe this one got away. Maybe it sneaked out while I wasn't looking, the same way it sneaked in. My door hadn't even been opened yet when I spied it this morning, so maybe it's a house lizard and I shouldn't even worry about it.

The ring-necked pheasant that fluttered down into my back yard this afternoon also disappeared before my eyes. I heard its turkey-like call and saw it land and then walk into the high weeds in the corner of the yard. By the time I grabbed my camera (and my shoes) and crept out the door, it was gone. I didn't know that until I'd spent twenty minutes sneaking around like a trail scout, taking soft, tiny steps so I wouldn't scare it away. Yeah, I was snipe hunting, with the usual result.

I don't know how it got away, though. With a bird that size, I would have thought I could hear it take flight out of the weeds, or at least have seen it out of the corner of my eye. Instead, there I was, camera aimed, stalking an invisible prey.

Later in the afternoon, I went out and pulled up the weeds in that corner of the yard. Next time there won't be anyplace to hide.

tampered with

Nobody pulled this hollyhock out from above. Some creature pushed it up from below.

World Series notes: What it came down to, in the bottom of the ninth inning of the seventh game of the 2001 World Series, was the most intense situation that the game of baseball can produce. On any pitch, the game could have ended with either team winning. The series could have ended with either team winning. The season could have ended with either team winning.

The Diamondbacks had to win this one the way they did, the hard way, squeezing out two runs to come from behind at the very end of the game, to prove that they belonged at the top of the heap. In the first six games, they'd won the easy ones and lost the hard ones. This was the hardest of all, and they found a way to overcome emotion, tradition, and an invincible closer. It was as poetic an ending as this great World Series deserved.

Plus, this gets Byung-Hyun Kim off the hook for the devastating losses in games four and five in New York.

The Diamondbacks are going to be impossible to live with next year. To put this win in historical perspective: The last time any team other than the Yankees won the World Series, the Diamondbacks didn't even exist. The championship banner will fly over their ballpark, and it will be one more thing (along with Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling) that their opponents (including the Giants) will have to overcome.

Both of the World Series teams are aging, though. Neither will look the same when they take the field next spring. It seems likely that the Yankees will be back at the top sooner than the Diamondbacks, not only because they can afford to replace the players they're likely to lose, but because they've proven over the decades that the top is where they reside.

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