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Bobby Cox, A.J. Burnett and more on the Mets' GM search

Just a lightning round, as I gotta get out to the Stadium early today. The Yankees are having a simulated game featuring Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, Sergio Mitre, Dustin Moseley, David Robertson and Kerry Wood against Francisco Cervelli, Greg Golson, Austin Kearns and Ramiro Pena.

The early betting line favors the pitchers.

--Did you see the end of the Giants-Braves game last night? Pretty phenomenal. That's probably the first and only time you'll see a team halt its own celebration to pay tribute to the opposing manager, as the Giants did for the retiring Bobby Cox.

Cox's career ended with more than a pinch of irony, as the ultimate "players' manager" let Derek Lowe talk him into staying in the game in the seventh inning. Lowe walked Pat Burrell, the batter he assured Cox he would retire, and that pushed along the Giants' game-winning rally.

Yet if you conducted an audit of Cox's career, you'd surely see that the faith he invested in his players, and the warmth his players felt for him - even Gary Sheffield loved him! - paid off far more often than it hurt him.

Meanwhile, can't wait for that NLCS Game 1 match-up of Tim Lincecum against Roy Halladay.

--I thought it was interesting that Brian Cashman announced yesterday, even as he acknowledged that team officials haven't met yet, that A.J. Burnett would get a start in the ALCS. I think that was Cashman's way of 1) getting it out there, in the hope that the storyline peters out sooner than later; and 2) letting Burnett know that they're not embarrassed to start him.

What happens if the Yankees lose the first three games to the Rangers or Rays? Would they let their season end in Burnett's hands? I doubt it.  You'd have to switch to a three-man rotation at that point, wouldn't you? And just keep going, and if you duplicate the 2004 Red Sox, then start Burnett in Game 1 of the World Series. 

--Allard Baird interviewed for the Mets' GM opening yesterday, and Rick Hahn does so today, followed by Josh Byrnes tomorrow, But at this point, it's all about Sandy Alderson, who is expected to take his turn later this week.

I've heard from a few people in the Twitterverse who expressed concern about Alderson's role in the Steroids Era, as he was the A's general manager when Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire say they started using these illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

And my response has been, "Oh, please." Do I suspect Alderson knew something? Sure. If we're going to talk about how smart he is - and he is - then we don't suddenly decide he got dumb on this matter.

Is this relevant? Not in the least. The only way to view this is by taking the emotion and the morality out of it: If steroids weren't illegal in baseball, and steroids helped the A's succeed, well, then...you know. It was on the other teams to either raise a stink, or to try to keep up. Most teams clearly did the latter.

--Bobby Valentine is reportedly once again in the mix for the Marlins manager job. Based on what went down with this back in June, ...if he actually gets the job, that would have to rank as one of the more fascinating recruitments.

It's still not clear whether Florida's irrational team president David Samson would let this happen. But if they do hire Valentine, just as we said here during the season, it would be a coup for the Marlins. And I think the Mets would be fine. An Alderson hire at GM is a more important move than Valentine at manager, and something tells me Valentine wouldn't have topped Alderson's list. 

--Let's do a book giveaway contest early this afternoon. See you then, from the Stadium.

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