The Nub

The Playoffs: Pastime and Political

Pardon This Perspective: Among the playoff survivors, buy treat the team with the strongest standing – based on winning tradition – is clearly the Cardinals. But the Cubs have shown themselves to be a genuine powerhouse. In the AL, the Blue Jays may have the power, but the Royals have the resiliency. The upstart spirit of the young and talented Astros makes them a sleeper team to watch, however. For the Mets to advance, we know they must get by the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. Even money, at best.

The political upstart to watch in the Dem team’s debate playoff tonight is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. He must show he belongs in the same competition with heavy favorite Hillary Clinton. And he must do it while calling for increased taxes to pay for programs to help close the gap between the super-rich and struggling. Hillary’s challenge is to lose the façade that blunts her public appearances. As one pressbox observer put it, she has the stature, Bernie the passion. The three other competitors – Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee – have a huge, but simple chore: make a dent on the public’s perception of who they are.

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This One, Too: Our shout-out for best playoff broadcasters: the Astros-Royals team on TBS of Matt Vasgersian, John Smoltz, and A.J. Pierzynski, Having an articulate ex-pitcher and active catcher tracking the action is an unbeatable combination. Second best: the TBS Mets-Dodgers team of Ernie Johnson, Ron Darling and Cal Ripken.

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(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey. Comments about blog issues are welcome. Previous Nubs may be found by scrolling below

About Richard Starkey

Dick Starkey handled media for former NY Governor Mario Cuomo, former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and many other office-holders and candidates. He was sports editor of the Paris-based Herald Tribune. Perfect Pitch partner Robert Sullivan was the first to adapt focus groups to politics and has been called by Cuomo and others one of the "best" pollsters in the country.