Welcome to my attempt at a regular column. Hopefully you'll get these brief snippets about sports three times a week…


We all like to second-guess baseball managers. It's one of the things that truly makes baseball more enjoyable than football, where you have to see the films to know what was really called and who screwed up the play. The Divisional series' produced a number of variations on the same theme: when to bring in your closer.

Back in the old days, pitchers pitched until they were tired or beaten. Now, the ninth inning is rarefied territory for starters. In Game 1 of the Padre-Astro series, Kevin Brown was totally dominant, eight shutout innings and 16 strikeouts, yet Bruce Bochy went to his closer in the ninth and Trevor Hoffman promptly gave up a run and barely hung on for a 2-1 victory. The press did some furious second-guessing the next day, but it took Steve Lyons, in a rare fit of lucidity, to clarify things. He said that what Bochy had done was the safe move, that he wouldn't get blamed if his ace closer had lost, but would have been in hot water if Brown had lost it. The baseball gods were apparently watching, because in Game 2 of the Braves-Cubs series, Kevin Tapani took a 1-0 lead to the bottom of the ninth and Cubs manager Jim Riggleman left him in -- I cheered; finally a manager with some brains. Tapani gave up a game-tying homer and the Cubs lost in extra innings…oops. Then there was the case of Jimy Williams, who, rather than using a weaker pitcher to face the heart of the Indians' lineup in the eighth inning, brought closer Tom Gordon to deal with them. More cheering from in front of my TV set…bing-bang-boom…Gordon gets lit up like Times Square on New Years Eve. Sometimes it doesn't pay to be smart.


The best color men on the playoffs:
1.Joe Morgan (NBC)
2.Joe Morgan (ESPN)
3.Kevin Kennedy (ESPN)
Joe is helped by working with the two best announcers, Bob Costas and Jon Miller. Still, he's actually intelligent, observant, and articulate. I'm usually happy with one of those

The worst color man:
Ray Knight (ESPN)
He has none of those qualities I just mentioned. An annoying accent combined with cliches.
Demonstrates on a regular basis why he was such a terrible manager.


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