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Royals Take Game 3; Cowboys Surge: The Week In Sports


Now why don't we turn to sports?

And of course the World Series - the Kansas City Royals are a game up after defeating the San Francisco Giants 3-2 last night. And in football - the boys are back after 20 years. Howard Bryant of espn.com and ESPN the magazine joins us now from studios in Amherst.

Thanks very much for being with us, Howard.



HOWARD BRYANT: Good morning Scott. How are you?

SIMON: Fine, thank you. Let's start, my friend, with that game last night. Ned Yost, the Royals manager, was shuffling his bullpen in a, what I'll call an unpredictable and festive manner. It worked, obviously. Is that what made the difference?

BRYANT: That's what made the difference and also the heart of the Kansas City Royals. I think that Ned Yost is a much-maligned manager, made fun of against Buck Showalter in the American League championship series against Baltimore and obviously considered to be overmatched, widthwise, against Bruce Bochy and San Francisco. However, his team's up two games to one and I think that one good thing about this Series is that you've got a team that hadn't been there in 29 years, in Kansas City and you wondered what was going to happen. They had won so many games and then they got blown out in game one so how do they respond to that? They go out and they win two games in a row and one of them is on the road. So they have passed every test except one, which is, what's going to happen if they lose a game that they are supposed to win? But so far, that hasn't happened and they are two steps away from a championship.

SIMON: Quick question, for the off-season, Joe Maddon leaving as manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, out of his contract. He helped make them real contenders. Is he openly campaigning for what must be the toughest job in baseball, but would be well-paid?

BRYANT: Why, Scott Simon? Why would anybody campaign to manage the Chicago Cubs? Your team. If they do get him - Joe Maddon is a terrific manager, great baseball mind - hopefully the Cubs fans would treat him a little nicer than they did with Dusty Baker, but obviously it would be a coup for them to get him. That team is supposedly on the rise. They've got a lot of young players, but any team that gets Joe Maddon is going to get one of the best baseball minds in the game.

SIMON: And thanks for calling them my Cubs, by the way.

BRYANT: Your Cubs. They are your Cubs. You own them.

SIMON: I'm not sure the team thinks of it that way, but, in any event we'll work on that.

The most valued team in the NFL, financial-wise, the Dallas Cowboys are back. What's happening?

BRYANT: They are tied with Denver for the best record in football and I think it's great. You know, there're a lot of people who - you know me, Scott, I am not into salary caps. They're completely un-American. I disagree with all of this false parity and trying to give everybody a chance so everybody wins. Give me the best teams. Give me the best teams with the most history. Let them earn it. I think it's great for football that there's a team that everybody knows and everybody can't stand to be good again. I think it's great for the Dallas Cowboys to be a good team and they - it's amazing, if you really want to feel old, that they have not even been to the Super Bowl since they beat Pittsburgh in 1995 and I - once again - I don't care about anything except the best teams playing, but I also like the good history so give me some San Francisco and Dallas and Pittsburgh, and I think it's good for the game.

SIMON: Got it. Before we go, Tom Brady had a miserable game against the Kansas City Chiefs at the beginning of the season and the pundit buzzards began to circle - talk about history - he's too old, he's hurt. He came back for three great games and let me quote a tweet from the immortal Rob Lowe, "beware of the pissed-off pretty boy."

BRYANT: That's right. Well and never underestimate someone who's got something to prove. I mean, at 37 years old they're always going to wonder, is this the last time that he's a great player? But once again, Tom Brady is the best football player in the history of the game with the least amount of weapons and he's still doing it with that cast. It shows you how good he is.

SIMON: Howard Bryant of espn.com and ESPN the magazine. Thanks very much as always, Howard. Talk to you soon.

BRYANT: My pleasure. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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