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World Series prepares for big chill

The Florida Marlins can expect a chilly reception at Jacobs Field. Then again, so can the Cleveland Indians.

One look at the knit stocking cap David Justice wore in the batting cage Monday left no doubt about the big story at the World Series: the weather.Temperatures are expected to drop into the 30s tonight for Game 3. It might be even colder, with snow, the next night, conditions so bad that Game 4 could be jeopardy.

Not that anyone is complaining. At least, not yet.

But several players wore gloves - not the kind made by Rawlings, either - during off-day workouts held on blustery afternoon in the 50s.

Quite a change from Sunday night, when the Marlins took batting practice in T-shirts and shorts in 77-degree heat before a 6-1 loss that evened the Series at one win each.

"I grew up in Milwaukee, I went to school in South Bend, so this is outstanding weather," Marlins second baseman Craig Counsell said. "I can't wait to go out and play in it, to be honest with you.

"To me growing up, this is always what the World Series was played in, weather like this," he said. "It's the World Series, I don't care what the weather is going to be like. It's not going to be a factor from my standpoint. You've got to deal with it. If you let it affect you, you're crazy."

Charles Nagy, who will start for the Indians against Al Leiter, did not appear worried.

"I don't mind it so much," Nagy said. "There's nothing you can do about it. You can't change the conditions.

"I've pitched in cold weather before, but nothing can really prepare you to go out there," he said. "It's going to be cold."

Agreed Leiter: "The biggest problem with the cold is the slick feeling on the ball. The balls become like cue balls."

Marlins manager Jim Leyland saw the foreboding sky, heard the grim forecast and sounded concerned. Not so much for the way it might aggravate Bobby Bonilla's hamstring or affect Leiter's grip, though.

"I'm more worried about the cold for my mom more than I am the players," Leyland said. "But I'm not going to buy her a fur coat today, I can tell you that."

Leyland's 85-year-old mother, Veronica, plans to attend tonight. Wednesday night could see the first World Series game with snow since the 1979 opener in Baltimore between Pittsburgh and the Orioles.

"I found that this kind of weather is kind of a mind over matter," Indians manager Mike Hargrove said. "If you don't mind, it really doesn't matter."

But there are adjustments that need to be made.

"Probably the major effect is the grip the pitcher will have on the ball. Cold weather tends to dry out your hands and fingers a lot more than warm weather will, obviously," Hargrove said.

"Hitting a baseball in cold weather is not a lot of fun," he said. "If you don't hit it just right, it hurts."

Bip Roberts, likely to be in left field tonight when Justice moves to DH and Tony Fernandez takes over at second base, is not looking forward to the frosty conditions.

"I don't think anybody is used to playing baseball in 30-degree weather. I'm from California and it is never 30 degrees there. You just have to bear with it," he said.

And in the end, it's the same for both sides. Even though Cleveland and Miami have different climates, it's been a while since either team felt anything close to what's in the forecast.

"Baseball is meant to be played in warm weather. Our guys like to play in warm weather," Hargrove said.

"I really believe that we haven't played in any colder weather, really, than the Marlins have the last couple of months," Hargrove said. "This is the first time that we've run into cold weather since April, so I don't see it being an advantage or disadvantage for anybody."

Back in April, the Marlins dealt with sub-freezing temperatures when they visited Chicago. Leyland said he could tell his team was preparing for a similar situation in Cleveland.

"I saw a lot of coats on the plane," Leyland said. "I'll tell you one thing, I've always been straightforward with my players. It's pretty hard to tell your players, like that day in Wrigley Field, that it wasn't cold."