- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 29, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION

Once again, it’s time to check off some items on my “TIDU List” — Things I Don’t Understand:

• Why critics slam Jose Reyes for trying to safely secure the batting title.

The New York Mets shortstop bunted for a single and left the finale with a .337 average, forcing Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun to go 3-for-4 to win. Reyes won but was booed by fans and ripped by commentators, though many would’ve done likewise. Everyone isn’t into gambling — another form of competition — like Ted Williams.

Sometimes you hold and see if anyone can beat your hand.

• How Boston and Atlanta managed to synchronize historic collapses.

They saw six months of baseball wiped out within three minutes apart, in one of MLB’s wildest nights ever. Fans who stayed up to watch, some furiously flipping back and forth, were rewarded with numbing, dramatic endings for two franchises familiar with heartache. Boston went 7-20 in September, and Atlanta wasn’t much better at 9-18.

On Wednesday, they completed an unprecedented “double” header … into the tank.

• How the little Rays keep hanging with the AL East’s heavyweights.

This kills team officials in Kansas City and Pittsburgh, who can’t croon the small-market blues with Tampa Bay in the playoffs — again — despite division foes with quadruple the payroll. But you can’t discount a team that rallies from a 7-0 deficit against the Yankees, with a wild card berth at stake.

If this was boxing, Tampa Bay would be the undisputed dollar-for-dollar champ.

• Why more managers and coaches aren’t as candid as Ozzie Guillen.

The new Florida Marlins manager needs a filter on cursing during news conferences and live interviews. And he could tone down a wee bit on Twitter. But overall, Guillen is a refreshing change of pace from the staid, stodgy and stale managers/head coaches who represent the norm and bore us to death.

They’re hired to be fired anyway, so they might as well let it all hang out.

• How Wayne Simmonds could show so much insensitivity so soon.

Days after a fan tossed a banana peel at him, the Philadelphia Flyers forward was accused of directing an anti-gay slur at another player. After the game, Simmonds said he couldn’t recall what he said, but the next day he told league officials he definitely didn’t utter the slur — despite videos that suggest otherwise.

The NHL was just as gutless in not fining him.

• Why Walter Peyton’s shortcomings should come as a surprise.

A new biography reveals a side of “Sweetness” that we never knew. That makes perfect sense, too, since it’s his private life, which allegedly included extramarital affairs, bouts of depression, suicidal thoughts and abuse of painkillers. Author Jeff Pearlman said he didn’t set out to write anything positive or negative, just “a definitive biography.”

Such works are destined to turn up dirt as often as not.

• How NBA stars playing overseas helps solve the labor situation.

Roughly 60 players are headed abroad, but New Jersey guard Deron Williams is the only big name. That could be about to change, however, based on Kobe Bryant’s comments Wednesday about playing in Italy. “It’s very possible,” he told La Gazetta dello Sport. “It would be a dream for me.”

Good for him and the others. But the nightmarish lockout will continue back home.

• Why any football-playing school wants to remain in the Big East.

Presidents from the member schools are set to meet this weekend to discuss the conference’s future, which is anything but rosy. UConn and Rutgers are interested in joining the ACC, while Louisville, TCU and West Virginia are candidates for the Big 12. The Big East is considering adding Colorado-based Air Force

Desperate times, desperate measures … but sometimes you just have to pull the plug.

• Why the Indianapolis Colts hold out hope for Peyton Manning.

Owner Jim Irsay said his star QB might miss the entire season, with a shot he can practice by December. But with his slow recovery after multiple neck procedures - and the risk to his long-term health and quality of life - it’s fair to doubt if Manning ever returns. Or ever returns to form.

It’s time for a Manning favorite regarding the Colts’ QB plans: Audible.

• How Cedric Benson should be punished for actions during the lockout.

The Cincinnati halfback has filed an unfair labor practice grievance against the players’ union - which must’ve been loopy from protracted negotiations when it signed off on the policy - and he has appealed his three-game suspension. The league wants the power to punish players while it wasn’t paying them. Talk about supreme arrogance.

Remind the commish that his surname starts with G-O-O-D, not G-O-D.