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Calm before a 95-year storm at Fenway as Red Sox look to clinch

By Mike Harrington

BOSTON -- A relatively quiet day at the World Series today, but things will be anything but quiet tomorrow night in Fenway Park.

In the chilly October air, the Red Sox worked out Tuesday night on the eve of what could be their first Series clincher in the Fens since 1918. They lead the St. Louis Cardinals, three games to two, heading into Game Six and the No. 1 topic of conversation was clearly how crazy Sox fans will be with a chance to see something basically no one alive in these parts has ever witnessed. (Remember, the Sox won their title in 2004 at old Busch Stadium and their 2007 crown at Denver's Coors Field).

'I'm sure it's going to be an incredible atmosphere here tomorrow night," said manager John Farrell. "So if we happen to be able to share it with them, that would be great. But we've got to take care of business first"

It will be John Lackey on the mound for Boston against St. Louis rookie Michael Wacha. Lackey won Game Seven for Anaheim as a rookie in 2002 against San Francisco but this is the Red Sox. At Fenway Park. Not the same.

"The fans are going to be crazy," he said. But you've still got to focus on the task at hand and executing"

The Cardinals, meanwhile, were still stuck on the runway in St. Louis as of 5:30 Eastern time. Manager Mike Matheny and Wacha did their off-day media conferences via a cell phone held by an MLB PR official and projected into a microphone.

"We're fortunate that our club allows our families to travel with us," Matheny said. "We have some younger kids but I'm impressed with how everybody has handled it. Fortunately we have plenty of food, snacks for the kids, lots of entertainment with on-board movies, and everybody travels with all their high-tech stuff. Most of these kids are pretty happy that they're not in school right now, and it's a great way to spend a day, and no complaints so far."

Still, Matheny said at the time they had been on the plane for more than two hours and were waiting for that plane to be fixed or a new one to be brought before making the flight here.  Not the best situation the day before a huge game.

Wacha said it wouldn't really impact his preparation as he was simply staying at the hotel anyway today. Wacha survived a buzzsaw with the PNC Park crowd in Pittsburgh when the Cardinals were down, 2-1, in the division series and hopes to do likewise tomorrow.

"I imagine it's going to be crazy, but I'm not going to pay any attention to it," said Wacha. "I'll keep going about my business the way I have been in all my starts this year."

In lineup notes, Farrell said David Ross will catch and Shane Victorino should be good to go again in the outfield after sitting out Sunday's game with a bad back. The Cardinals may drop Carlos Beltran back to the cleanup slot in the order and Matheny said Allen Craig is good to go as the DH here after tweaking his injured foot Saturday on his game-ending slide home.

Game 5 podcast: It's three down, one to go for Red Sox

Red Sox catcher David Ross gives it up to Jon Lester as the Boston pitcher is relieved in the eighth inning. (Getty Images)

By Mike Harrington

ST. LOUIS -- David Ortiz and David Ross at the plate, Jon Lester on the mound. That's really all you need to know about Game Five of the World Series, a 3-1 win for the Boston Red Sox over the St. Louis Cardinals that puts them one win away from another championship.

With a 3-2 lead in the series, the Red Sox have two chances to grab a title in front of the Fenway faithful for the first time since 1918. Their first one is Wednesday night with John Lackey on the mound against Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha. Lackey, remember, won Game Seven for the Anaheim Angels in 2002 against San Francisco.

Click below to hear my audio report on Game Five with my thoughts on Ortiz, Lester and how another title could play into the legacy of Ortiz and the Red Sox franchise as a whole.

This could be one pretty epic night in Boston coming up.

Mike Harrington on Game Five

Live blog at 8 p.m.: World Series Game Five

Red Sox owner Henry on buying Boston Globe: 'I'm in this to make a difference, just like most of the people I have met in journalism'

The front page of today's Boston Globe (
By Mike Harrington


ST. LOUIS -- Red Sox owner John Henry wrapped up his purchase of the Boston Globe in the last few days and penned a fascinating column in Sunday's paper for his motivations behind it. 

In the hours leading to Game Five of the World Series, it's well worth your time to click that link and read the column if you want to step away from sports for a few minutes.

Skeptics may sneer, of course, but Henry didn't buy the Globe to commandeer any negative coverage of the Red Sox. It's going to be a tough conflict for those reporters, much like Cubs writers struggled for many years with the perception that they were an arm for the parent Chicago Tribune when it owned the team. Henry has made it clear from the beginning he's not influencing sports coverage but the proof will be in the pudding as they say. Or at least in the fried chicken and beer!

Henry said he believes in newspapers, and especially the Globe, as institutions. And nowhere can that be seen more in time of crisis, as the Globe spearheaded the flow of information in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.

It reminds me of the way The News covered the crash of Flight 3407 in Clarence Center in 2009 and has spent the ensuing years with reams of important coverage on changes to rules in the commuter airline industry.

What struck me the most about Henry's column was this sentence: "As I studied the problems that beset the newspaper industry, I discovered a maddening irony: The Boston Globe, through the paper and its website, had more readers than at any time in its history."

That's probably true of a lot of papers and it's certainly true of The News. Print circulation may be down some, not nearly as much as other cities, but the total consumption of our information in print and online is vastly higher -- yes, I said higher -- than it was years ago. 

I get bombarded on Twitter all the time with the cliche of "newspapers are dying" so let me get a soapbox point out: It's not true. At all. They're changing. We have more information on more platforms -- print, audio, video -- than ever before. I used to come to the World Series as recently as 2006 and do nothing more than write one or two stories a day for the newspaper.

Now there's multiple stories for the paper, a wrapup story for the Web, blogs like this one, a postgame podcast, Flickr streams, my Twitter feed and even Vines. The company gets more production from its employees and ultimately the readers get much more content from an event like this than the days of a lone columnist penning one piece a day.

As for all those people -- especially the under-30 crowd -- who say they "get their news" on Twitter or Facebook and the media isn't needed? Where do a huge amount of those links come from?


Soapbox over. Game Five coming up later tonight.

An even World Series heads to a pivotal swing game

Red Sox closer Koji Uehara gets mobbed by teammates after the first game-ending pickoff in World Series history closed Game Four (AP Photo).


By Mike Harrington

ST. LOUIS --  Big Papi spoke, his teammates listened and Jonny Gomes acted. Out here in the land of no Lindys and no Vaneks, there's your capsule summary of Game Four of the World Series on Sunday night as the Boston Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-2, to knot the series at two wins apiece.

I bet there's plenty of high-level police meetings going on this morning in Beantown in the wake of that one.

Why? We're assured of handing out the World Series trophy at Fenway Park for the first time since the 1975 Reds won it there in Game Seven. And as for the Red Sox, they haven't won one at home since 1918. Can't even imagine the chaos we might see, especially if they win it on Halloween in Game Seven on Thursday night.

The teams will be chatting prior to Game Five tonight at Busch starting at 4 p.m. Eastern time.

If you didn't catch up last night or this morning, here are the links to our coverage of Game Four:

----The main Web-exclusive game story: Gomes' three-run homer a few minutes after David Ortiz's dugout seance gave the Red Sox a huge win.

---Game Four podcast: Click the link to hear my audio thoughts in the wake of Game Four.

---Game Three redux: The Red Sox needed to, ahem, obstruct the part of their memory banks that brought them back to the bizarre finish from Saturday night. And they did.

---All in the Middlebrooks family: The controversial obstruction call had one very interested observer in new UB softball assistant coach Lacey Middlebrooks, the sister of Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

Game 4 podcast: Papi and Jonny key Red Sox revival

David Ortiz is pumped rounding third on Jonny Gomes' home run (Getty Images)


ST. LOUIS -- Click below for Mike Harrington's thoughts on Game Four of the World Series, a 4-2 win for the Boston Red Sox over St. Louis that was highlighted by Jonny Gomes' three-run homer and David Ortiz's in-game dugout speech to his teammates.

Mike Harrington on Game Four

Live blog at 8 p.m.: World Series Game Four

Red Sox Farrell in wake of call that ended Game 3: 'It wasn't a normal night of sleep'

John Farrell can't believe what umpire Dana DeMuth is telling him about the decisive play Saturday night (Getty Images).

By Mike Harrington

ST. LOUIS -- There were plenty of questions for Red Sox manager John Farrell at his pregame briefing with the media tonight in the wake of the bizarre finish to Game Three of the World Series. As there should have been.

(Be sure to double back and read my Web-only story on the game, complete with comments from both clubhouses).

Things went completely haywire for the Red Sox in the ninth inning, long before the interference call on Will Middlebrooks that provided an all-time ending that veteran New York Post scribe Joel Sherman dubbed "The Immaculate Obstruction" in today's editions.

Here's a quick rundown of some of the things Farrell said:

On dealing with the call: 'It wasn't a normal night of sleep, I know that. You review the whole game. You replay it in your mind. You learn from the experiences you go through. I'm sure there's a number of our guys in our uniform that our probably doing the same thing."

On the call at third base: "The call was made correctly. ... If there was the ability to have some measure in that portion of judgment on intent. Right now there is none. It doesn't matter on intent or not. When Will Middlebrooks is lying on his stomach, it's hard to say he was intending to impede that runner's progress. The way the obstruction rule is set up right now, the baserunner can be the agressor and beneficiary on both sides. They can seek out an infielder, run into him and benefit by advancing." 

On pitching to John Jay in the ninth rather than having Koji Uehara walk him and face light-hitting Pete Kozma with the bases loaded: "To walk the bases loaded and back Koji in a corner where he has no room to maneuver inside a given at-bat? Didn't want to do it."

(My take: That's crazy. Uehara has issued nine walks in 84 innings this year counting the postseason. Had to walk Jay)

On today's pen: Uehara, Craig Breslow and Uehara are all available tonight. Even John Lackey can throw an inning.

Game Five starter Jon Lester also met the media and had some insight on the clubhouse mood. The clubhouses, remember, are closed before the game during the postseason so there's no real way to get any second-day reaction.

"I think today everyone was fine.  I think last night, that's not how you want to end a World Series game," Lester said. "I think some guys were probably shocked, confused, a lot of different emotions going on.  But there's nothing we can do to change it.  So we have to move forward to today and focus on today.  And if we let that affect us in the clubhouse today and during that game, then we've already been beat."

Regarding tonight's lineups, long after meeting the media, Farrell scratched Shane Victorino due to lower back tightness and put Jonny Gomes in left while moving Daniel Nava to right. No explanation as of yet. Here's the lineups:

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Daniel Nava RF Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz 1B
Jonny Gomes LF Daniel Nava LF
Xander Bogaerts 3B
Stephen Drew SS
David Ross C
Clay Buchholz P

St. Louis
Matt Carpenter 2B
Carlos Beltran RF
Matt Holliday LF
Matt Adams 1B
Yadier Molina C
John Jay CF
David Freese 3B
David Descalso SS
Lance Lynn P

Video: The decisive play and the umps speak

By Mike Harrington

ST. LOUIS -- If you missed all the craziness at the end of Game Three of the World Series Saturday night, you can read all about it in my story at this link. That story is largely the words and thoughts of the principals involved.

I'm on the side that the umpires got it right, making the correct call with conviction at a key time. You can hear more in my postgame audio podcast that was posted early morning at this link.

To get the full impact, you should watch the play below. Even Joe Buck has a delayed reaction making the call not fully knowing what's going on in the instant the play happened.


The umpires' press conference with Joe Torre is well worth your time. (From left) Dana DeMuth, Jim Joyce and John Hirschbeck did a great job explaining lots of issues that many of you brought up to me on Twitter after the game Saturday. Really worth a look.

Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe does a great job going over all the goofy decisions John Farrell made late in this one as well as the dilemmas the Red Sox manager is facing with his lineup moving forward.

Game Three podcast: One of the most bizarre finishes in postseason history

The decisive moment: Allen Craig and Will MIddlebrooks get tangled up at third base. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch photo via AP)

By Mike Harrington

ST. LOUIS -- In the history of baseball, no postseason game had ever ended on an obstruction call. According to, the only game in history that had ended that way was a non-descript Tampa Bay-Seattle game in 2004.

Until Saturday night.

The Cardinals beat the Boston Red Sox, 5-4, as Allen Craig scored the winning run on an interference call on Will Middlebrooks at third.

Click here for my Web-only complete wrapup featuring comments from both clubhouses. (The game ended about five minutes before our print deadline, so the Final edition has a full report with no quotes).

Also in Sunday's editions:

The Batavia Connection -- Nine Cardinals played their Class A ball at tiny Dwyer Stadium in Genesee County.

Lovullo's next step could come soon -- The Red Sox bench coach and Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer gets the leadoff role in my Inside Baseball column as he is a hot managerial candidate when the series is over.

Buchholz will give it his all tonight -- The Red Sox first-half ace has one more chance to get the job done this season and Boston desperately needs him in Game Four.

And finally, click the file below for my audio thoughts on the bizarre finish. I say the umpires got it right and good for them for having the conviction to make the call.

Mike Harrington on the wild finish

Live blog at 8 p.m.: World Series Game Three

Pregame ponderings: Red Sox thinking about Napoli at third?

Biggest question I get at World Series: Where's your seat? Here's The News view in St. Louis for Games 3-4-5.

By Mike Harrington

ST. LOUIS -- Pretty interesting sight here during batting practice at Busch Stadium. Boston first baseman Mike Napoli, not in tonight's lineup because the Sox have no DH in the National League park and are using red-hot David Ortiz at first, took groundballs at third base. 

There's no change in tonight's lineup (rookie Xander Bogaerts is at third) but if Boston's offense continues to struggle, manager John Farrell may have no choice tomorrow in Game Four. Particularly if the Red Sox lose tonight. Still, Napoli has played just one pro game there -- in 2002 in the Class A Midwest League. That would be quite a risk.

In other pregame news, Farrell reaffirmed that Clay Buchholz will start tomorrow night even in the face of his lingering shoulder issues. Buchholz also said he's ready to go -- but also admitted he's not 100 percent. So he bears watching tomorrow.

It's Jake Peavy vs. Joe Kelly tonight at 8:07 on FOX. I'll have my live thoughts here starting at 8.

Here's the lineups:

Ellsbury, cf
Victorino, rf
Pedroia, 2b
Ortiz, 1b
Nava, lf
Bogaerts, 3b
Saltalamacchia, c
Drew, ss
Peavy, p 

St. Louis
MCarpenter, 2b
Beltran, rf
Holliday, lf
Adams, 1b
Molina, c
Freese, 3b
Jay, cf
Kozma, ss
Kelly, p 

A scene-setter for Game Three and a chance to cast your vote on the DH dilemma

By Mike Harrington

ST. LOUIS -- Greetings from the neighborhood of the Arch as we get set for Game Three tonight in Busch Stadium. First, a weather update: It's bright and sunny this afternoon with temperatures near 60. They will slip into the 40s tonight but there's basically no chance of rain.

Cardinals great Willie McGee will throw a ceremonial first pitch tonight while Colbie Caillat will sing the national anthem. Former Cardinal greats Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Ozzie Smith and Red Schoendienst will also be introduced to the crowd and there will be a pregame video tribute to Stan Musial, who died Jan. 19 at age 92. Click here to read the incredible obituary on Musial written the next day by Hall of Fame St. Louis Post-Dispatch scribe Rick Hummel

The place went wild when I was here in 2006 and 2011 when Musial was introduced. Two years ago with his health failing, it was one of the alltime great Series moments to see the crowd erupt as Musial was driven around the diamond.

The Red Sox will be playing with no DH tonight, so David Ortiz will be at first base and Mike Napoli will sit. That was the topic of my column in today's Buffalo News, which is already generating plenty of email and Twitter replies. Now you have your chance to vote here: Should they keep the DH the way it is in the World Series or go all-in?

Ortiz set to go at first base and a look at plenty of World Series coverage coming in Sunday's paper

David Ortiz in a rare spot: Fielding grounders Friday in St. Louis (AP photo)

By Mike Harrington

ST. LOUIS -- It's all systems go for David Ortiz to play first base Saturday night in Game Three of the World Series. The Boston designated hitter took ground balls Friday night in Busch Stadium and, with no DH in the National League park, will put his glove on to stay in the lineup.

"Whatever they need me for," Ortiz said as he was swarmed by reporters in the dugout. "We'll see how the situation goes, see how it feels and go from there."

Manager John Farrell would not commit to Ortiz past Game Three and said hot-hitting Mike Napoli will start Saturday on the bench

"We haven't had to use it as much with the number of days off and strictly American League rules," Farrell said of his reserves. "But even if we have to defend for David late with Mike Napoli, we've got much more flexibility, obviously, with an added guy on the bench."

Be sure to read more about Ortiz and the lineup changes forced upon the Red Sox by the lack of a DH in Saturday's paper.

And be sure to pick up Sunday's editions for plenty more from the Series:

---In addition to the actual coverage of Game Three, my Inside Baseball column will feature a chat with Red Sox bench coach and Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer Torey Lovullo. The baseball lifer is relishing his first trip to the Fall Classic and said it really hit home when he was on the Fenway Park foul line during introductions before Game One Wednesday night.

"It's fairly surreal and you can't describe it until you're out there," Lovullo told me today as we chatted in the tunnel leading to the Red Sox clubhouse. "The [military] planes fly over and you understand exactly what's happening. It's the end of the season, the last two teams standing. This is what you dream about when you're 12 years old and you're sitting in your bedroom thinking about the World Series. It's a pretty special moment I've waited a long time for."

---I'll also have a look back with several members of the Cardinals who started their professional careers in Class A ball with the Batavia Muckdogs of the New York-Penn League. The preferred methods of transportation to Dwyer Stadium for some of them? Bikes provided by Batavia residents who annually house the players for the summer.

Torey Lovullo. The Muckdogs of the Cardinals. And Game Three of the World Series. Only in Sunday's Buffalo News.

Live chat at 3:30 p.m.: Mike Harrington at the World Series

Game Two podcast: Cardinals pull even, get to go home

The Cardinals celebrate the win that evened the series. (AP Photo)

By Mike Harrington

Click below to hear my final thoughts on Game Two of the World Series, a 4-2 win for the St. Louis Cardinals that snapped a nine-game winning streak in Series play by the Boston Red Sox. The last Series loss for Boston? Game Seven in 1986 against the Mets in old Shea Stadium.

This one was about Boston's sloppy defense in the seventh and St. Louis' electric trio of pitchers. As we head to the Midwest, the Sox will be without David Ortiz or Mike Napoli in each game. Look for Ortiz at first base and Napoli on the bench in Game Three. A big disadvantage.

Mike Harrington on Game Two

Live blog at 8 p.m.: World Series Game Two

Pregame chatter: Nothing on Lester's glove, Beltran's ribs OK

It was bright and sunny today prior to Game Two. The temperatures will be in the 40s tonight.

By Mike Harrington

BOSTON -- The biggest pregame chatter at Fenway Park today was about what was -- or wasn't -- on the glove of Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester during Game One. The Big Lead and Deadspin both ran today with a tweet from Cardinals Class A pitcher Tyler Melling that accused Lester of having vasoline on his glove and video seemed to show some sort of green goo.

(It reminds us Series regulars about the Kenny Rogers pine tar scandal in Game Two in Detroit in 2006).

"If you know Jon Lester he sweats like a pig and he needs rosin," Boston manager John Farrell said during his daily media briefing. "He keeps it in in his glove. Other guys will keep it on their arm, other guys will keep it on their pant leg. That's my response to the allegations. The one thing that's very odd is that it shows up in a lime green color. I don't know how that can happen."

"It was just rosin. All I ever used, all I will use," Lester said during batting practice. And about the green color?  "I don't know what that is. It looks like a giant booger."

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was understandably uncomfortable with the topic. After all, if his team starts pulling this kind of stuff, nothing stopping the Red Sox from turning the tables.

"This was not instigated by us. And the way that we approach this is we just play the game," Matheny said. "We don't deny that some things have been acknowledged. And if that's what he claims, then that's what it is. That's all there is to it. And right now it's pretty much a dead issue.

"... If we started going down that path, we would just be trying to make excuses for a pitcher having a very good game against us and us not getting the job done. And that's not the kind of team we are."

In other news:

---The Cardinals were waiting on their lineup because they don't know the status of Carlos Beltran's injured ribs. But after he took batting practice, he was back there. Meanwhile, Pete Kozma was pulled from shortstop after his two errors in Game One and has been replaced by Daniel Descalso.

---Farrell confirmed Clay Buchholz will start in Game Four and that either David Ortiz or Mike Napoli will have to sit in St. Louis without the designated hitter. 

---During the game, look for a tribute to Boston Marathon bombing victims and an on-field presentation to retiring Yankees closer Mariano Rivera with the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award. Rivera will be holding a press conference here in the 7 p.m. hour. He's the 12th player to receive the award, the first since Ken Griffey Jr., in 2011.

---There will be ceremonial first pitches thrown by members of the 2004 Series champion Red Sox, notably Pedro Martinez, and the national anthem will be sung by James Taylor. He will also be doing "America the Beautiful" in the seventh-inning stretch, a departure from the normal "God Bless America."

(Whether you like his music or not, Taylor will be awesome. I was in the park early this afternoon and heard his rehearsal. Great stuff).

I'll be having my live comments here in a separate post starting at 8 p.m. I'll even throw you a changeup: We'll also open the floor for comments during the fourth and fifth innings.

Game 1 podcast: All goes right for Sox, all goes wrong for Cards

David Ortiz (right) gives it up to Dustin Pedroia after Boston's 8-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the opener of the World Series. (AP Photo).

By Mike Harrington

BOSTON -- Click below to hear my thoughts on the 8-1 thrashing the Red Sox handed the St. Louis Cardinals in Game One of the World Series Wednesday night in Fenway Park.

The Cardinals didn't make any plays defensively, didn't get the key pitches they needed to from Adam Wainwright, had a correct umpire's decision go against them and didn't score a run until the ninth inning.

Other than that, everything was fine.

It really is fine for New England's Olde Towne Team. The Red Sox made it nine straight in the World Series and have scored 10 runs in the first inning of Game One in their last three trips to the Fall Classic. That's called getting off to a good start and it's hard to beat. They go for a 2-0 lead here Thursday night.

Mike Harrington on Game One

Game One lineups and pregame news from Fenway

By Mike Harrington

BOSTON -- The lineups are in for Game One of the World Series and they read as follows:

St. Louis
Matt Carpenter, 2b
Carlos Beltran, rf
Matt Hollidahy, lf
Allen Craig, dh
Yadier Molina, c
David Freese, 3b
Matt Adams, 1b
Shane Robinson, cf
Pete Kozma, ss
Adam Wainwright, p

Jacoby Ellsbury, cf
Shane Victorino, rf
Dustin Pedroia, 2b
David Ortiz, dh
Mike Napoli, 1b
Jonny Gomes, lf
Xander Bogaerts, 3b
Stephen Drew, ss
David Ross, c
Jon Lester, p 

With no games yet under their belts in this series, not a lot of pregame chatter. The biggest news was when Red Sox manager John Farrell said Clay Buchholz will pitch this weekend in St. Louis in either Game Three of Four. Buchholz has struggled with his velocity in the postseason and rumors have been rampant here the Sox may replace him with Felix Doubront, especially when Doubront threw an unscheduled simulated game at Fenway Tuesday night.

Buchholz missed three months with a shoulder injury and was taken out of a start last week against Detroit after just 85 pitches. He's struggled with his command and has worked at an ever-increasing slow pace on the mound.

I'll be giving my thoughts on Game One during our live blog/Twitter collection. That will get started at 8 p.m.

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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington | [email protected]

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | [email protected]