Pray for Philly, Tampa Bay and all of us   

Updated: October 14, 2008, 3:50 PM ET

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If either the Phillies or the Rays -- or both -- advance to the World Series, this great country of ours will owe them an enormous debt of gratitude. The first two weeks of the postseason have provided us with indisputable evidence: Dodgers-Red Sox is a World Series matchup America simply cannot afford.

This isn't about teams or individuals. This is about coverage. This is about nonstop Manny Ramirez versus the Red Sox, with every angle exposed and every past transgression unearthed.

Your rooting interest is beside the point. You know this as well as I do.

There's only so much Manny anyone can take. There's only so much Red Sox anyone can take.

The combination? Sorry.

There's just no way our national psyche, fragile as it is, can withstand 10 days of this brand of torture.

We deserve better.

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With wall-to-wall Manny coverage, how does the media consistently miss the important stuff? For instance, why does nobody mention how he sometimes comes to bat wearing a mouthpiece and other times with a huge wad of chew?

Someone needs to tell Joe Buck: These are the issues Americans care about.

The one guy with the potential to out-weird Manny: Brett Myers.

Is this the effect of the "mainstream media" I keep hearing so much about? Two conservative radio clowns in Minneapolis run their mouths about Magic Johnson "faking" AIDS, and pretty soon, way too many people know their names.

If you ignore the strike zones of Joe West, Kerwin Danley and Jerry Meals, they're just about perfect: The increased number of cameras in the postseason, combined with hi-def, shows once again the incredible accuracy of big league umpires.

How about you just ignore him and hope he goes away? The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation is investigating the odd circumstances that led to Kimbo Slice's being pummeled into submission in 14 seconds by Seth Petruzelli.

So far, though, the California Department of Business and Professional Regulation has no comment: 49ers coach Mike Nolan threw the challenge flag to question a field goal by the Eagles' David Akers on Sunday, then asked the official whether it was a play he could challenge.

A general rule of football coaching, or at least one that should become a general rule: As much as you might want to believe otherwise, it's not always that complicated to coach a football game.

Oh, and I have a question: You know that song, "Time in a Bottle"?

Just for the heck of it: Kevin Stocker.

Proof that bowl games have become about as devalued as GM stock: In the news stories regarding Tommy Bowden's dismissal as football coach at Clemson, it was noted without fail that he took the Tigers to eight bowl games in his 10 years as coach.

One guy who picked up The Boston Globe on Monday and said, "Thank God for the Red Sox": Bill Belichick.

By the way, when the topic is genius, the question now is: Belichick, or Tom Brady?

Future star: Dodgers reliever Cory Wade, even after Monday night's homer by Shane Victorino.

If you're going to smuggle something called gonadotropin into the country from Mexico, you've got to take steps to make sure you don't get detained for 15 hours and have the name of the drug spread throughout every newspaper in the country: Jose Canseco.

Which, if you think about it: Pretty well explains it.

And now, we return to our regularly scheduled reality: Last week, the trendy topic was to declare Eli the better Manning.

However, that's not the only statistic in which Peyton gained a significant edge Sunday: It was revealed Peyton had two knee surgeries in the offseason, not the previously reported one.

Hint that your Sunday NFL broadcaster is not particularly hip: He's the one calling the football "The Rock" -- repeatedly.

I'd believe it if "Scooter" told me it was true, but now that he's gone, I don't know whom to trust: How can a telecast list "Eliminate Injuries" as one of the keys to the game for a starting pitcher?

Look on the bright side -- if you can keep the Reality part straight, it's a small price to pay: A headline Monday on a competing Web site read, "Once again, I am my own Fantasy enemy."

It was the shirt's fault, apparently: After giving up two runs in the first inning of Game 4 of the NLCS on Monday night, Derek Lowe ransacked the dugout and then ripped off his shirt, presumably sending buttons flying.

Joe Torre's fate, sealed with the lineup card: At this stage of things, you simply cannot play Juan Pierre instead of Matt Kemp.

And finally, it takes more than a whistle to stop this man: Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky, running out of the back of the end zone, and then running along the wrong side of the back of the end zone, and then continuing to run along the wrong side of the back of the end zone until … well, until he feels like it, OK?

ESPN The Magazine senior writer Tim Keown co-wrote Josh Hamilton's autobiography, "Beyond Belief: Finding the Strength to Come Back," which will be released Oct. 14. It is available now from Sound off to Tim here.


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