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Mitch Perry Report for 10.12.15 — Does Joe Maddon have the mojo this post-season?

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Good morning….Well, it’s Columbus Day, one of those weird federal holidays which most people in the private sector don’t enjoy (similar to next months’ Veterans Day). In typical fashion, our Congress is not only taking the day off to make the holiday, but the entire week. This, despite the fact that the House GOP is supposed to be in crisis because they don’t have a leader in the pipeline ready to replace John Boehner.

Any baseball fans out there? I have to admit that in recent years, the grand ‘ole game has lost a lot of its luster – not because of the steroid era, but what’s come afterwards – a sport in which pitching dominates, with more shutouts, no hitters and strike-outs than ever before (Actually, I subscribe to the theory that the removal of allowing players to take amphetamines has had a bigger negative affect). But there is something about October playoff baseball that still excites the pulse. And so if you’re a fan, you better relish today, where for the last time in 2015, will include four games with meaning throughout the day, starting at 1 p.m. eastern in Houston. That’s where Lance McCullers Jr., the Jesuit High grad from Tampa, takes the mound against the Kansas City Royals.

But let’s face it for local baseball fans – it’s a very mixed deal watching the Chicago Cubs in their series with the St. Louis Cardinals. That’s because the iconic Joe Maddon is just two games away from leading his Cubbies to the National League Championship Series, the first time the Cubs will have advanced that far in 12 years.

Watching the Cubs over the weekend with one major Tampa Bay Rays fan, one hears about the conflicting emotions about watching the former Rays skipper in blue pinstripes. It’s been less than a year from when the popular manager exploited a loophole in his contract when executive Andrew Friedman took off to L.A. to run the Dodgers that  Maddon seized the day to advance his career.

It’d be great to see Maddon and Friedman’s teams face each other in the next round of the playoffs – and what a series the Dodgers-Mets already has become in just two days. Will Chase Utley win his appeal on being suspended for two games after his tough (but in my eyes, fair) slide into second base on Saturday night that broke the leg of the Mets shortstop and dramatically changed that game?

Back to Maddon: The Cubs are America’s team this post-season, with those who don’t have an affiliation with any other squad in the playoffs rooting hard for the longtime losers. What a story it would be if it were to happen this year, and why not? If you’re a Rays fan, however, it’s hard not to be wistful about what could have been.

And since we’re doing a quick wrap-up of sports, it was another big weekend of college football here in the Sunshine State. The Florida Gators are one of the stories of the year with their 6-0 record and number eight ranking in the AP top 25.

And even USF finally won a game, defeating Syracuse.

Both local dailies are featuring the Bucs victory over lowly Jacksonville. Can you imagine the headlines if they had lost that game? My respects to any Jacksonville readers.

In other news,

David Jolly is being aggressive in advocating the virtues of his Florida colleague Daniel Webster as the GOP House conference waits on what Paul Ryan will decide to do.

And he waited until late on a Friday afternoon to do it, but Sam Rashid finally tendered his anticipated resignation from the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority. In an update to our initial post, we should note that Rashid was not the first minority to serve on the agency. Florida Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner earned that distinction back in 1991.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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