The Sports pages

Sage Decision

Since Kevin Garnett joined the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team has lost in the first round of the playoffs every year—that’s an NBA record six years in a row. Someone’s gotta go, and the Chicago Tribune’s Sam Smith says that someone is Garnett. Smith suggests swapping KG to Milwaukee for Ray Allen, Tim Thomas, and some spare parts. After Sunday’s loss, Garnett said of his performance, “If that’s not good enough, then maybe you have to go get somebody else in here who does it different.”

Speaking of playoff busts, the Portland Trail Blazers were swept by the Los Angeles Lakers. The Blazers’ Scottie Pippen told reporters, “I’m never happy to lose. But losing and understanding why you lost makes a difference.” The Los Angeles Times’ J.A. Adande replies: “Pippen would understand all right. He had much better knowledge than any other Trail Blazer, because he was intimately involved with everything that went wrong in the final 10.8 seconds. First, he missed a free throw that could have given the Trail Blazers a three-point lead. Then he made the wrong choice on defense and left to help on Kobe Bryant, allowing Robert Horry an open look for the winning three-point shot. Then he threw a bad inbounds pass for a turnover on Portland’s last chance for a shot.”

Redskins Starting QB Watch, Inaugural Edition: The Steve Spurrier era officially began in Washington Sunday with the announcement that the Redskins starting quarterback is … Sage Rosenfels. Spurrier tells the Washington Times, “Sage Rosenfels is probably listed as No.1 right now. He and Danny [Wuerffel] are at the top because they are much more knowledgeable.” But anyone who has seen Spurrier coach football knows he switches quarterbacks more often than most people change their sheets. So we introduce Redskins Starting QB Watch, to be updated as circumstances warrant.

Royal flush: The Colorado Rockies fired manager Buddy Bell, who had led the team to a 6-16 start. “Bell is gone because the Rockies lost baseball games,” the Rocky Mountain News’ Bernie Lincicome writes. “This is the simple math of the game, as profound and sacred as the infield fly rule. This does not mean the Rockies now will win baseball games. It only means that losing has a fresh alibi. … The Rockies are a pile of bad ideas and loose threads.”

Who’ll be the fourth manager this season to get the ax? The Kansas City Star’s Joe Posnanski likes Royals manager Tony Muser’s odds. “We are now getting to the point where you have to ask: What exactly would Tony Muser have to do to get fired as the manager of the Royals? Hold up a liquor store in broad daylight? Manage a game without wearing pants? How about if, like Billy Martin, he gets into a bar fight with a marshmallow salesman? Would that do it?” In his previous column, Posnanski pointed out that Muser’s team has posted a record of 69-115 in games decided by one run, which works out to a .375 winning percentage. Posnanski says Muser’s last day will be May 6.

Didn’t you used to be the best sports town in America? The Pittsburgh Pirates have a new park and the second-best record in their division, but the fans still won’t show up. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Chuck Finder rips ‘em. “For nine summers, this was what anyone wanted above all—a new ballpark and a decent ballclub. It was all anyone dared to dream. Now you have both, and you don’t dare to care.”

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