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Saturday Sports: Preparing For The World Series


I wait all week to say it's time for sports.


SIMON: Tonight a seventh game, Brewers versus Dodgers after the Brew Crew beat the suds out of the L.A Dodgers last night, seven to two. We turn now to Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the magazine. Howard, thanks so much for being with us.

HOWARD BRYANT, BYLINE: Good morning, Scott. How are you doing?

SIMON: I'm fine, thanks. Blue Man Group Brew Crew. It's my own nickname for them, how do you like?

BRYANT: I like that, I kind of do.

SIMON: They keep coming back all season, don't they?

BRYANT: Well, they do. And this is nice revenge for last year - I mean - not last year. Because of your - your Cubs took them out in a fantastic battle, but I can tell you that this is what you're supposed to do when you come close and then you have a chance this year, you've got a game seven, you haven't been to the World Series since 1982. And, of course, the Dodgers have a chance to go to the World Series back-to-back. So this is - what is better than winner take all, game seven National League Championship Series.

SIMON: We want to know this week, of course of the World Series is set to open on Tuesday and the NBA begins their season.

BRYANT: In Boston.

SIMON: In Boston, that's right. And it could be they...

BRYANT: The Red Sox can wait.

SIMON: Exactly. Yes. And Kristi Toliver debuted as an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards. She's also - she'll play in the NBA for the Mystics. Becky Hammon, of course, is already an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs. Is the NBA getting closer to hiring a head coach, who happens to be a woman?

BRYANT: Yeah, I think it's coming and I think it's overdue and I can't wait till it does happen so you can take another unnecessary barrier and put it away because I think that the NBA has been the progressive league, the NBA has been the one that has been better on protests. The NBA has been better in terms of having female referees, the NBA has been better with my colleague, Doris Burke, on the broadcast. And so the next step is to have a female head coach and it's really not that big a deal for the rest of us because if you actually live in society, we've all had female bosses at some point. But in that...

SIMON: We do here, I want to note. Yes, go ahead.

BRYANT: (Laughter) I know. And in that sport, it's a big deal and in professional sports, in the male-dominated game. And also let's not forget that ESPN actually put the - we have two women on the broadcast now for football. You've got Hannah and - Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer both doing a broadcast as well. And so it's important and these things have to happen and I'm glad that the NBA seems to be the one when it does happen, it's going to be good.

SIMON: Women's Tennis Association Championships start tomorrow in Singapore, but there's going to be a rule change at Wimbledon because they don't want any more of those six-hour finals. What do you think of the rule change, to go to the - well what are they going to do? It's the tiebreaker, right? Yeah.

BRYANT: It's going to go to a tiebreak. After 12-12, then they're going to go to a tie break, the way that they do after the U.S. Open after the fifth set tiebreaking. I don't like it, I hate it. I think it's terrible, I disagree. I understand the reason why people do it, why they think it's a big deal. And I get it, I don't like it because I think that imbalances the game to the land of the giants. We know that these players are now seven feet tall - 6'11 or whatever, we know they can serve 145 miles an hour and that it just becomes a serving contest. But you have to play defense and if you can't play defense then the game gets shifted toward the tall guys. And so, we never had this conversation when players where we're six feet under. So my advice to those guys is break serve.

SIMON: (Laughter) Howard, thank you. You're in San Francisco, they're commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Mexico City Olympics. And, of course, that's where John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their fists on the medal podium. Thanks very much for being with us, Howard.

BRYANT: No, it was terrific. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.