Wakeup call: Even Obama and Romney agree on the refs

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Wakeup call: Even Obama and Romney agree on the refs

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Wednesday, September 26:

AUTO RACING
If the Republican nominee for President can't win the NASCAR vote, let's face it, he probably can't win. (NBC's Off The Bench)

BASEBALL
It turns out Dusty Baker had a mini-stroke last week, and -- though he's expected to make a full recovery -- it'll be a few more days before he can rejoin the Reds. (AP)

The bigger they are, the more eccentric they can be. Right, Ichiro? (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Panic? Who's panicking? Not the three-losses-in-four-games-with-the-season-on-the-line Orioles. (CSN Baltimore)

Tie in the Central, as the Tigers win (AP) and the White Sox lose (CSN Chicago).

Yes, that was old friend George Kottaras playing hero for the A's. (CSN Bay Area)

The Braves make the playoffs in dramatic fashion. (AP)

And, you know, the idea of their catching the Nationals for the N.L. East title suddenly doesn't seem quite so crazy. (CSN Washington)

Everyone's talking about how the Angels became the first team to record 20 strikeouts in a game using multiple pitchers. (Hardball Talk) Me, I prefer to note that the Mariners became the first team to strike out 20 times in a game twice.

The Melkman won't be delivering for the Giants in the playoffs. (AP)

And because we just can't get enough of Frank and Jamie McCourt . . . (AP via NBC)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
The medical news for Roy Williams is good. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
A casualty of Notre Dame's move to the ACC: The Irish's rivalry against Michigan, at least for a while. (AP)

The 'Ol Ball Coach is talking again. And people in Kentucky probably aren't liking what he's saying. (AP)

File this under "Things they don't teach in Marketing 101": Jimbo Fisher's Heisman campaign for EJ Manuel involves comparing him to a dog. (AP)

You know, some people just have way too much time on their hands. (NBC's College Football Talk)

GOLF
Seve Ballesteros won't be forgotten at this weekend's Ryder Cup matches. (AP)

HOCKEY
All that Oilers-to-Seattle talk couldn't have been just a craven attempt to browbeat Edmonton into building a new arena, could it? (AP)

Wayne Gretzky can't even go to a football game without sparking where-are-the-Coyotes-moving-to? hysteria. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
Laverne and Rodman! And, no, not in the way you think. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

PRO FOOTBALL
You'd think that after the utter disaster that was last weekend, the NFL owners would be looking for the end game in their tong war against the regular referees. Well, in the words of the immortal Griff Tannen: You thought wrong, dude. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Um, owners? Aaron Rodgers speaks for all of us. (AP)

Even President Obama and Mitt Romney agree on this. (AP)

This is nothing, Kyle. Wait until you see how much they take from Bill Belichick. (Pro Football Talk)

And speaking of money: Las Vegas oddsmakers say the ending of Monday night's game caused 300 million to change hands. (AP)

The NFL fines and suspends Broncos' linebacker Joe Mays for the hit on Matt Schaub that took off a piece of the quarterback's ear. (AP)

Brian Moorman's time in Buffalo is over after 12 years (AP)

Reggie Bush sees poetic justice in Darrelle Revis' season-ending knee injury. (Pro Football Talk)

What makes a good manager? Rangers GM Jon Daniels explains

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What makes a good manager? Rangers GM Jon Daniels explains

Across the way from John Farrell in the Rangers dugout this series is a manager who was voted the American League’s best in his first year at the helm, 2015.

Jeff Banister is one of three full-time skippers Rangers president Jon Daniels has had in his time running the Rangers.

Much has been made about how Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski views the manager’s job: that in-game management isn’t the most important, but running the clubhouse is.

How does another top baseball exec look at it? Daniels explained on the CSNNE Baseball Show podcast.

“I think manager’s an enormous role,” Daniels said. “Huge importance, I don’t buy into any of the sort of snarky commentary. … What I think sometimes gets a little blown out of proportions, at times whether it’s lineup construction, some of those — the in-game stuff, bullpen management’s very real. 

“Certainly the knowledge of the game is big. I think the ability to teach the game is big. But the No. 1 separator, in my opinion, is managing people. It’s really the word ‘manager.’ Helping to mold the culture in the clubhouse. Getting everybody on the same page. Young players, older players, everybody’s got different self-interests and to be able to get all those unique self-interests enough on the same page for a common goal while representing the club publicly, with the media, with the fans, and doing it under a pretty intense spotlight — I think that’s the biggest piece. Probably the hardest to truly evaluate unless you’re like, in the clubhouse or around the clubhouse on a daily basis and have a sense for who’s good at it, who’s not. That for me is like where guys really separate themselves.”

Asked if he’s ever surprised by player sensitivity, Daniels underscored what stage of life most ballplayers are in.

“Everybody’s different, right?” Daniels said. “So everyone has different insecurities, everyone has different level of ego, grown up in different circumstances. At the end of the day everybody wants a few basic things. You want to be like kind of communicated on a pretty forthright, direct way. You want to be treated with respect. Some guys can handle a little more criticism than others. 

“Some guys can handle a little more criticism from their peers than others can. I think that’s a manager’s job, to understand kind of the different approaches. Players, the guys are in their 20s. Think about where you were when you were first out of college … a few years off that, and your maturity level and really your lack of life experience in a lot of ways. And, kind of like evaluate under those circumstances: you’re going to be somewhat sensitive when you’re in that time period in your life.”

How well a manager handles a clubhouse isn’t something the Rangers, at least, have tried to quantify.

“More anecdotal for me. There may be ways,” Daniels said. “I haven’t really been part of that. If there is [a way] we haven’t figured it out, and we haven’t really tried to do, to be honest with you.”

For the full interview, listen to the podcast below

Farrell: Price to make first Red Sox start of year Monday in Chicago

Farrell: Price to make first Red Sox start of year Monday in Chicago

David Price may have allowed six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings Wednesday night during his second rehab start in Triple-A, but the Red Sox apparently liked what they saw.

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Manager John Farrell announced moments ago that Price will rejoin the Red Sox Monday and start that day's game in Chicago against the White Sox. Farrell said the Sox were more concerned with how Price felt physically after his rehab start, not the results, and they're satisfied he's ready to return.

More to come . . .