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Saturday sports: post-season baseball, WNBA finals, Gruden's racial comments

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And now to the tune of BJ Leiderman's theme music, it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: (Singing) It's the most wonderful time of the year - baseball playoffs. The Boston Red Sox run up the score on the Tampa Bay Rays. Logan Webb of the Giants shuts the Dodgers' door. The deeply unscrupulous Houston Astros are just a game away from defeating the righteous Chicago White Sox. And meanwhile, Candace Parker and the Chicago Sky headed to the playoffs - surprisingly. And an important Wall Street Journal report on a racist email, remarks from NFL coach Jon Gruden. Meadowlark Media's, Howard Bryant joins us. Thanks for being with us, Howard.

HOWARD BRYANT, BYLINE: Hi, Scott. That was quite a rundown.

SIMON: Yeah, I know. What are we left to talk about?

BRYANT: And could we please - you know, could we please once and for all - I mean, I know they're going to pay forever for what they did, but the Houston Astros, they have Dusty Baker. Let's root for Dusty.

SIMON: I love Dusty Baker, who was once the Cubs' manager, once the Giants' manager.

BRYANT: Exactly. You're a Chicago guy. Dusty Baker...

SIMON: Yeah, I know he's a Chicago guy. I know - well, let's just say that sometimes the teams don't deserve their managers. But...

BRYANT: That is true. But Dusty Baker is a game away from going to the American League Championship Series and maybe going to the World Series. The one thing that he's never done in a lifetime of baseball and 50 years of baseball is win the World Series as a manager.

SIMON: And I'd be so happy about that, I'd bang the top of a garbage can lid just to...

BRYANT: (Laughter).

SIMON: ...Let him know how happy I am. Logan Webb threw quite a game - didn't he? - to beat the Dodgers.

BRYANT: He did. And this is what we've been waiting for. Everybody wanted to see the two best teams in baseball - 107 wins, super surprise San Francisco up against the world - defending world champion Los Angeles Dodgers. These two teams have been playing each other since 1884, and this is the first time that they faced each other in the modern World Series. They actually did Scott - as you remember, they played in the 1889 World Series, where the Giants beat the Brooklyn Bridegrooms in that great best-of-11 series back in 1889. But after that, this was the first time. And the Giants were great last night. The Giants were great. The Dodgers were terrible. The Dodgers swung at everything. And the energy was phenomenal. And we'll see what Game 2 holds. But this is the battle. They have been the best team all season, and the Giants showed it again last night.

SIMON: Will the Red Sox regret 14-6? Will they want some of those runs back? Tampa's a pretty good team.

BRYANT: Well, they may. Tampa was great all season as well, and they controlled the entire American League East. And it looked like they controlled this one - got a grand slam early on. They were up 5-2. And then suddenly, the Red Sox poured it on. And so suddenly, there, we have a series.

SIMON: Yeah. Quickly, Chicago Sky, Candace Parker - how did they do it?

BRYANT: Well, that's an amazing question. We got a 5-6 series. In the WNBA finals, you've got the two best teams who were supposed to be Connecticut and Las Vegas playing against each other, and that didn't happen. And so, you know, Chicago was 16-16 on the season. And you've got the two Cinderella's, but you also have Candace Parker, and you've got Diana Taurasi, two of the best to ever do it. And they're going to - they're going to play for a championship in Phoenix. You know, it was 3-0 against them this season. Last time they played was a blowout, but you never know. This is best of five, and it's for all the marbles. Who knows what's going to happen? Good series.

SIMON: And that Wall Street Journal report - Jon Gruden sent an email with racist language about the head of the NFL Players Association in 2011. Anything more than a slap on the wrist?

BRYANT: Well, they should get much more than that. But once again, when we talk about systems and - you know, systems are created by people. And I think more than anything else, this sort of showed a lot of the attitudes in the NFL. So when you see these things happen, don't be surprised as to why the things are the way they are in terms of coaching, in terms of hiring and development and all of these things. This is the underbelly behind the shiny face of the NFL.

SIMON: Meadowlark Media's Howard Bryant, talk to you soon. Thanks so much for being with us.

BRYANT: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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