Hurdle would do it all over again the same way, except for the losing

DENVER - If he had it to do all over again, Clint Hurdle said, he'd probably do it all over again.

The Rockies lost, 4-3, last night at Coors Field as the Boston Red Sox completed their sweep of the 103rd World Series. As a result, Colorado always will wonder if things would have worked out differently if the Rockies hadn't gone 8 days between clinching the pennant and Game 1; the Red Sox had just 2 days off.

The Rockies spent most of the time at home, working out and playing simulated games.

"I'm not sure there's anything different we can do," the Rockies manager said. "I don't know how you recreate a World Series environment. I don't know how you recreate a playoff environment in practice.

"There might be some things we talk about [if the situation occurred again]. But as far as gearing up to go, keeping focused on what we need to stay focused on, I think we handled that very professionally. We were in uncharted territory. But I'll give it some thought in the offseason, how many things we could have done to create a more challenging environment."

Jeff Francis, who was in line to start a Game 5 that became unnecessary, said that, no matter what, the Rockies have benefited from the experience of being in the World Series.

"You come back next year with more experience and you're probably better off," he said. "Playing in the postseason, it's a lot different than the daily grind in the regular season. We know that now.

"We know it's a lot of fun, and we know we had to do something special to get here. We've got as lot to be proud of and a lot to think about in the offseason."

 

The price of success

With two world championships in the last 4 years, manager Terry Francona isn't surprised that pitching coach John Farrell is attracting attention from other organizations as a potential big-league manager. The Pirates and Royals are among the clubs believed to have at least considered him.

With two world championships in the last 4 years, manager Terry Francona isn't surprised that pitching coach John Farrell is attracting attention from other organizations as a potential big-league manager. The Pirates and Royals are among the clubs believed to have at least considered him.

Francona has talked several times during the postseason about the job Farrell has done, and righthander Curt Schilling also has had high praise.

"He's the complete package," Schilling said during the Division Series. "He understands that every one of us is such a different animal when it comes to coaching, talking and teaching. He knows exactly what I need to do and he knows what to say and how to say it. He's helped carve the new niche that I'm in as a pitcher mantally and physically."

Francona is a little surprised, though, that bench coach Brad Mills hasn't gotten the same sort of attention.

"He does a lot," the manager said of his longtime friend. "He's given a lot of responsibility. In spring training, he organizes a day and he's about as organized as you can get. He does all the signs from our dugout going to the field, from the pitchers to the catchers to the infielders.

"I think I'm stating the obvious when I say I have a lot of faith in him. If I get pulled in a different direction, the day is going to go just like we expect it to go, whether I'm there or not."

 

Extra innings

Curt Schilling, who could interest the Phillies if he doesn't re-sign with the Red Sox this offseason, talked about his future on the "Sons of Sam Horn" chat board recently. He reiterated that his first choice would be to stay put, then added: "If it's other than Boston, then the dollars will be a significant factor, along with the team's ability to contend . . . I would like to think a serious contender would be interested if Boston doesn't work out" . . . Word out of New York is that the Yankees will shortly announce that Joe Girardi will be the team's next manager, replacing Joe Torre . . . Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder were named as winners of the Hank Aaron Award as the top offensive player in each league last night. Fielder beat out last year's NL winner, Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard. *

Curt Schilling, who could interest the Phillies if he doesn't re-sign with the Red Sox this offseason, talked about his future on the "Sons of Sam Horn" chat board recently. He reiterated that his first choice would be to stay put, then added: "If it's other than Boston, then the dollars will be a significant factor, along with the team's ability to contend . . . I would like to think a serious contender would be interested if Boston doesn't work out" . . . Word out of New York is that the Yankees will shortly announce that Joe Girardi will be the team's next manager, replacing Joe Torre . . . Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder were named as winners of the Hank Aaron Award as the top offensive player in each league last night. Fielder beat out last year's NL winner, Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard. *