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Volume 24 No. 154
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People & Personalities: Acta Hopes To Return To Dugout Following Stint With ESPN

In Boston, Nick Cafardo wrote while former MLB manager Manny Acta is joining ESPN as an analyst this season, he "hopes to follow Buck Showalter, Bobby Valentine, and Terry Francona by reentering the managerial ranks" eventually. Acta said of his managing career, "I felt I needed to step back from it after six years and see it from a different vantage point. ... My goal is to manage again, but in the right situation where the team has a chance to be a contender.” He added, "I think this job with ESPN could definitely help me with the exposure of keeping my name out there. It worked well for Buck and Bobby and Tito, and if that happens for me, I’d be thrilled" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/17).

NO HARM INTENDED: SPORTING NEWS' Bob Pockrass noted Fox analyst Michael Waltrip yesterday off-air "addressed the controversy" that rose up from him using the term "'Palin strategery' during last week’s race broadcast" in reference to former VP candidate Sarah Palin. He said, “I think that people that know me know my values (and) that I’m not going to make fun of anyone or belittle them. My comment was funny." He added, "I contacted Miss Palin’s people and told her that I certainly was a supporter of hers and loved her spirit and her energy for her message and meant no harm. I love my job on Fox, and I love trying to be informative and entertaining. I thought that was entertaining" (, 3/17).

: In N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote announcer Bob Papa is "cutting back on his HBO 'Boxing After Dark' gig to concentrate more on his Golf Channel 'Champions Tour' assignments." HBO could "call on Jim Lampley if it replaces Papa internally." If it "goes outside, one blow-by-blow man to consider" is SportsNet N.Y.'s Brian Custer (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/17).

OUT IN THE DESERT: In Phoenix, Paola Boivin noted former ESPN anchor Cindy Brunson "will join" Jody Jackson on the pre- and postgame D'Backs broadcasts on Sundays for FS Arizona. Brunson's husband, Steve Berthiaume, will be the D'Backs' new TV play-by-play announcer this season. Upon arrival in Arizona, Brunson "had conversations with several Valley television stations about anchoring but wasn’t interested in returning to work full time and hopes to share the Major League Baseball experience with her husband" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/17).