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During today's Houston/Atlanta Division Series game, Astros manager Phil Garner apparently faked phone line trouble between the dugout and the bullpen, so he could get Brad Lidge extra time to warm up.

This resulted in the game being played under protest by the Braves, as it was announced on the radio broadcast, for "phone antics".

Jim Durham, former Chicago Bulls announcer (and someone who'd make a good replacement for Chip Caray, incidentally), was doing the game, and he kept mentioning this with an incredulous tone in his voice. I was too. First of all, the only protest I can ever remember being upheld to the point that a portion of the game was replayed, was the famous Pine Tar Game between the Royals and Yankees in 1983. Most protests are disallowed, and this one became moot when Rafael Furcal homered in the 12th to win the game for the Braves 4-2 and even up the series 1-1.

I mention this because to me, this is another symptom of the incivility with which baseball seems to becoming imbued. Other examples are the whining of Moises Alou, and the "antics", if you will, of players like Milton Bradley and Jose Guillen, both of whom were suspended by their teams, and one of whom is missing the playoffs as a result, or even the actions of Sammy Sosa in ducking out the other day.

Phil Garner shouldn't have done this, and I don't think Bobby Cox thought his protest would be upheld, but I see why he made it -- to tell Garner that he saw right through his silly little trick.

Baseball managers have for decades tried to outthink and one-up their opponents -- Tony LaRussa revels in this sort of thing -- but really, this was too much.

Too bad, too, because there have already been two terrific games in the division series, this one, plus last night's Yankee comeback 7-6 win over the Twins. The wrong team won, but it was a marvelous game.

Damn, I wish we were there.