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  • Bill Chastain

TOYS AND GAMES: A Lot of Class, Maddon’s Dress Code, So Long Soriano

Temple coach Fran Dunphy showed a lot of class after his Owls lost 72-70 to Iowa in overtime in the NCAA tournament — a loss delivered by a tip-in at the buzzer.

Facing the media afterward, Dunphy fielded a question from Max Bonnstetter. The 11-year-old reporter for Sports Illustrated for Kids asked: “Coach, it was a heartbreaking loss, but your upperclassmen stepped up. How do you feel about them?”

Temple Coach Fran Dunphy Temple Coach Fran Dunphy

Rather than be snarky, or blow up the kid, which we have all seen pissed off coaches do to the media after swallowing a tough loss, Dunphy demonstrated respect with the following answer:

“I feel great about them – Max is your name? – just like I feel great about you, Max, because you’re a pretty cool guy and the fact that you would ask that question the way you asked it. I love these guys. That’s the problem. You love them like crazy, and now, the seniors are gone, and we won’t see much of them after this. They’ll work, some of them, at trying to be professional basketball players. Some of them will be professional in some other way. And so it hurts, to be honest with you. That’s part of the problem of this situation. The abruptness of the ending is frightening, to be honest with you. But thank you for the question, Max.”

Coach Dunphy has a new fan in yours truly.

Joe Maddon’s response when asked about the Cubs’ dress code: “If you think you look hot, wear it. That’s our dress code.”

Rafael Soriano — a favorite character from covering baseball over the years — recently announced his retirement. My fondness for the former Rays reliever stemmed from his quirkiness rather than having a close relationship with him.

Soriano called his agent as his “lawyer” and after games he yanks out his shirt tail like a third grader that had just been released from class. On the mound, he’d occasionally look at a message he’d written underneath the bill of his cap. A lot of fans were curious about that message, prompting me to ask him to reveal what it said. His answer came in his deep voice, totally serious: “That is for Soriano.”

The dude cracked me up.

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©2020 by Bill Chastain. Photo credits: Jill Doty Photography