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Saturday, April 19, 200851:43
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Win Or Go Home

After an exciting dash to the end of the regular season, the NBA Playoffs are finally set to begin.  And while the Boston Celtics are the favorite of many to dominate the coming weeks,  the West is chock-full of extremely talented  players.  Kevin Hench of Fox Sports checks in to clear up the playoff picture, and let us know who might sneak into the next round.

Worst to First

Just one year ago, the Boston Celtics were by far the worst team in the NBA's Eastern Conference, finishing with a dismal 24 wins.  Now, they sit on top of the world, featuring three of the game's elite stars and a supporting cast stacked with dazzling youngsters.  So as the Celtics make their drive for a remarkable 17th NBA Title, the turnaround couldn't be any sweeter for die-hard fans.

National Treasure

Sure, Chien Ming Wang is the ace of the most storied franchise in sports history.  He even had the honor of starting the final Opening Day of the House That Ruth Built in the Bronx.  But his statistics and standing in American baseball are dwarfed by the worship the 28-year-old hurler receives from his home country of Taiwan.  Bill Littlefield chats with  Albert Chen of Sports Illustrated, who tells us that Wang's impact on Taiwanese life is something you can't quite see in the box score.

Celebrating History

The ascension of young Red Sox Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury has put the spotlight on Native Americans in America's pastime.  And although Ellsbury represents the first player of Navajo descent to break into the MLB, the history of Native American ballplayers goes back to the earliest days of the game.  NPR's David Sommerstein has a report from a new exhibit in an upstate New York museum that seeks to re-discover the roots of Native Americans in baseball.

Letters

Bill cracks open some listener mail to find some excellent grammar, and a listener who's sure the pope would not be pleased at the lack of coverage on Notre Dame hockey.

The Guardian of the Olympic Torch and More, With Charlie Pierce

Bill Littlefield and Only A Game Analyst Charlie Pierce discuss: Playoffs on the parquet and on ice, marathoners and baseballers shaving off years, and one leg of the Olympic Torch Relay that packs a serious punch.

The 33-Year-Old Rookie

Although Minor League Baseball can serve as a launching pad for some players, it can be like quicksand for others, a frustrating experience that has driven many players from the game.  But even after spending more than a decade cycling through some of baseball's back channels, journeyman Chris Coste kept pushing until he broke through with the Phillies in '06.  Bill Littlefield talks with Coste about his new book, The 33-Year-Old Rookie, telling the tale of his long, strange trip, and finds out just how tough it was to make it to the show.

This program aired on April 19, 2008.

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