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Rewinding Tuesday: Some sporting debate

There were no baseball games on television Tuesday night. ESPN's programming was relegated to Madden (the video game, not the "BOOM!" guy) and poker.

But that didn't mean there wasn't any sports on TV.

"You don’t run the four corners when you’re behind," said Republican media guy Alex Castellanos on CNN, yearning for John McCain to push the ball upcourt after the second presidential debate.

Baseball fans know what happens when a player reaches the base at the same time as the ball. Maybe CNN's Gloria Borger is one of them. In talking about the effect of poll-leading Barack Obama not losing the debate, she said: "Tie goes to the front-runner."

Over on MSNBC, Chris Matthews' show is called "Hardball" but he and his guests had boxing on the brain.

Newsweek's Howard Fineman referenced the story of fellow Pittsburgh native Billy Conn; ostensibly (sorry, I flipped over halfway through) because Barack Obama had not gone for a knockout punch late in the debate, as Conn did against Joe Louis.

"In the 13th round when he had him on points," Matthews summarized, "[Conn tried] to take out the Brown Bomber and the Brown Bomber took him out ... you are Pittsburgh until the end, Howard Fineman."

Panelist Pat Buchanan got his gloves up, describing an Obama line (the shot about McCain's "bomb, bomb Iran") as "a solid haymaker punch which really landed."

Later, Matthews called McCain's "not you, Tom" response to moderator Tom Brokaw's question about the selection of a Secretary of the Treasury as a "suckerpunch."

The most bizarre politics/sports collision of the night was a Fox News story about a voter registration fraud probe in Las Vegas. One of the alleged violations was that a canvasser filled out forms not with the names of actual people interested in registering to vote, but with the starting lineup for the Dallas Cowboys, including Tony Romo and Terrell Owens.

The debate was already being described as not being a "game-changer." That term, which has been very popular throughout the political season, sounds like a sports term but really isn't.

Until now, perhaps?

Man, did you see that Reggie Bush on Monday Night Football? He's a real game-changer.

---Keith McShea

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