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Smoltz: no locks with Nova

Here is a story I wrote in which TBS' John Smoltz discusses what is ahead for Ivan Nova in an elimination game.

Smoltz likes Nova's stuff and his makeup, but he said this is the great unknown for a rookie who has yet to be tested in a monumental spot.

Should be an interesting night in the Bronx. Because much of my career has been spent covering the NFL and the NFL wisely prohibits alcohol-soaked locker room celebrations, I have only been present for one champagne dousing in my career.

It was Oct. 2, 1995, in the Kingdome, of all places. I was minding my own business, covering a Giants-49ers game at Candlestick Oct. 1 when the office called and told me to make a side trip to Seattle on the way home for the Mariners-Angels AL West tiebreaker.

The winner would play the Yankees, who were back in the playoffs after a long absence.

So, up to Seattle I went, where Randy Johnson dominated and the M's won, 9-1. Hence my presence in the locker room, where I tried to ask questions about the Yankees amid the chaos.

The next day, my 35th birthday, I flew home on TWA, with a change of planes in St. Louis. As we walked off the Seattle to St. Louis flight the pilot announced O.J. Simpson had been found not guilty.

When we walked into the airport we found some people stunned and depressed. Others were singing and dancing in celebration. Strange day.

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