The first and second editions of Complete Idiot's Guide to Bridge by H. Anthony Medley comprised the fastest selling beginning bridge book, going through more than 10 printings. This updated Third Edition includes a detailed Guide to Bids and Responses, along with the most detailed, 12-page Glossary ever published, as well as examples to make learning the game even easier. Click book to order. Available in all bookstores and on Kindle.  


Sports Medley: Baseball is Inflicted With a Serious Sickness 10 Oct 16

by Tony Medley

The mental sickness surrounding how managers handle pitchers in baseball permeates the game. And it is a sickness because it defies facts, common sense, and reality and shows a complete and total lack of comprehension of how pitching works. I write about the Dodgers’ managing of pitchers because that’s the team I watch. But every manager of every team in the major leagues has a complete misapprehension of what pitching is and how it works.

It seems incurable. In last Monday’s American League wildcard game Toronto beat Baltimore on an 11th inning walkoff home run by Edwin Encarnacion. However, how they got to that spot was a result of a typical decision by Baltimore manager Buck Showalter. He started the 11th inning with a new pitcher, Brian Duensing, who struck out his batter, Ezequeil Carrera (who was 2 for 3 at the time), on five pitches. Not satisfied, Showalter immediately pulled Duensing and inserted Ubaldo Jiminez. From his first pitch, a weak, high fastball, it was clear to me he did not have it. On his third pitch Devon Travis belted a line drive single.

So let’s stop here. Duensing struck out his batter on five pitches and Showalter pulled him immediately. Jiminez allows a line drive single on his third pitch and Showalter leaves him in. Is there some kind of logic here? Moving on, Josh Donaldson blasted Jimenez’s very next pitch, his fourth of the game, for another hard-hit line drive single. But Showalter still leaves him in! Duensing struck out a batter on five pitches who already had two hits in the game and Showalter pulls him. Jiminez allows two hard hit singles on only four pitches and Showalter leaves him in. This is major league managing at its highest level.

So the season-ending run is perched on third base with one out. His pitcher has thrown four pitches and two of them have been annihilated. In the bullpen is the best relief pitcher in baseball, Zach Britton, who had 47 consecutive saves without a loss in 2016. Is there even a decision here? Who would not bring in the best relief pitcher in baseball to try to save the season? The answer to that question is Buck Showalter, who left Jiminez in. Showalter got his just reward because Jiminez’s very next pitch was blasted out of the park by Encarnacion. Five pitches resulted in 2 line drive singles and a home run.

They all drink the same Kool-Aid: Along those lines, here’s what Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after Madison Baumgarner pitched a complete game 4-hit shutout against the Mets in the wild card game:

“To be honest I was a little nervous because Parker (a pinch hitter Bochy had sent to the on deck circle to hit for Baumgarner) was right there in the batter’s box high-fiving and I was screaming at him to get out of there. I didn’t want the umpires to put them in because Baum was hitting and sometimes you’re forced to make a move and his pitch count was getting up there little bit to where I had to hit (for Baumgarner) but when Carter came through, that’s a no-brainer.”

If there was any doubt about your brain, Bruce, even thinking about pulling Baumgarner under these circumstances, in the top of the 9th of a scoreless tie in a game that ends your season if you lose, confirms to me that “no brainer” describes you to a T. But you’ve got plenty of company with all your fellow managers.

I am a voice crying in the wilderness against this nonsense, but I will continue to shout.

Poor Baby: So bleached blonde Giants’ receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. moans and groans that he “isn’t having fun anymore” playing football. Put this spoiled, pampered brat who makes millions of dollars playing a silly game for a living in a coal mine for a week or stand him behind a teller’s window in a bank or let him walk a cop’s beat in Chicago or Baltimore or Detroit and see if he still whines and whimpers about not having any fun playing football for an absurdly lucrative living.

“I’m Dumb; hear me shout!": The Rams’ coach Jeff Fisher keeps adding fuel to the fire about his acumen and comprehension of the game of football. When the year ends, his fake punt call on 4th and 5 from the Rams’ 23 trailing Buffalo 23-19 with 3:45 left holding all three timeouts will still stand as the dumbest call of the year, if not the decade.