Manuel Noriega Manuel Antonio Noriega, the former dictator of Panama and one time ally of the United States has died. He was 83.President Juan Carlos Varela of Panama announced Noriega’s death on Twitter early Tuesday morning.Varela’s post read, “The death of Manuel A. Noriega closes a chapter in our history; his daughters and his relatives deserve to bury him in peace.”Noriega died around 11 p.m. Monday at Santo Tomás Hospital in Panama City, a hospital employee confirmed. An official cause of death was not immediately available.Noriega had been in intensive care since March 7 after complications developed from surgery to remove what his lawyer described as a benign brain tumor. His daughters told reporters at the hospital in March that he had a brain hemorrhage after the procedure. He had been granted house arrest in January to prepare for the operation.His medical problems came on the heels of a legal odyssey that had begun with the invasion and led to prison terms in the United States, France and finally Panama. While imprisoned abroad he suffered strokes, hypertension and other ailments.After returning to Panama on December 11, 2011, he began serving long sentences for murder, embezzlement and corruption in connection with his rule during the 1980s.Seven arrested for Panamanian footballer’s killing
Glenn GuilbeauLSU coach Paul Mainieri threw out a statistic the day before the Tigers played TCU at the College World Series that might have been just a bit outside.“Someone told me we’re 56-3, or something,” when pitching “Johnny Wholestaff” over an unknown span of time at LSU. “Wholestaff” is a cute, inside baseball way coaches use to say they do not have a decent starting pitcher for an upcoming game. Meaning a variety of pitchers or the “whole staff,” will be used.That number, the span of time or Mainieri’s source were never verified. In other words, strike three. Mainieri, though, knows how to play the baseball numbers as well as any seam head (baseball number nerd) this side of Bill James. So his accuracy is probably close.Unfortunately, he is counting all games in the 56, including that unique college baseball feature known as the “midweek game,” which are basically in-season exhibition games normally against lighter opponents. Other sports do not have so many games that often do not matter. If LSU wins two out of three on SEC weekends, its ranking — which leads to host sites for NCAA regionals and Super Regionals — will stay about the same even if it loses to Southeastern Louisiana on a Wednesday. Mainieri needs to remember that.The record that really matters for LSU’s version of Johnny Wholestaff is not 56-3. It is 0-2. The Tigers lost to TCU, 8-4, on Thursday after using eight pitchers, who combined to allow 10 hits and five walks. TCU used three and held the Tigers to seven hits, including four in the first eight innings, and two walks to eliminate LSU after three games. The Tigers were also eliminated from their own NCAA regional last season by Houston at Alex Box Stadium by a 12-2 score when they used Wholestaff. That time, six pitchers allowed 12 hits and six walks.So, it might be time for Mainieri to ask Johnny Wholestaff to transfer.“The margin for error is just so small when you don’t have a mid-90s fastballer or the knockout breaking ball or whatever,” Mainieri said in explaining why he has had to use Wholestaff this season.The margin for error is also so small for Mainieri and pitching coach Alan Dunn themselves when they’re constantly deciding inning by inning whether to leave a pitcher in or take him out. Mainieri and Dunn were about 7-of-8 on pitching entries and exits in the loss to TCU. They should have left No. 6 pitcher Doug Norman in. He threw a perfect sixth with two strikeouts and a nifty catch of a bouncer behind his back and threw to first for the out. LSU was still within striking distance at the time, trailing just 6-3.Norman did pitch to the bottom third of the light hitting TCU order, though, and Mainieri and Dunn decided to replace him with Jesse Stallings, who has more velocity but had not pitched in nearly a month. LSU found itself in this predicament in the loss to Houston last year – pitching guys who had not thrown in about a month. Stallings was charged with two runs on a hit and a walk as LSU fell behind 8-3, and it was over.“Doug did a nice job,” Mainieri said. “He faced the bottom third of the order. That’s not to diminish anything from him. He gave us a good inning. But we gave it (leaving him in) thought.”That’s just it. When you are throwing six and eight pitchers out there in a game this deep in a postseason as LSU has had to do the last two postseasons, there is too much thinking.All of this over-thinking and over-relief pitching could have been avoided had LSU been more fortunate last offseason. Jake Latz, an 11th-round pick by Toronto out of Lemont High near Chicago last summer and a jewel of Mainieri’s class of 2015, could have started Thursday’s game. But he missed the entire season with an elbow injury. Mac Marshall, a 21st- round pick of Houston and another gold piece of that recruiting class, could have started Thursday, too. But he decided at the last minute to not attend LSU and opted for a junior college instead, so he could be drafted this month. He went in the fourth round to San Francisco.LSU recovered from that and fielded a great team with two solid starting pitchers – freshman Alex Lange and sophomore Jared Poche. As the season wore on and Mainieri could not settle on a No. 3 starter, he opted for Wholestaff. And in the end, it cost him. LSU, which finished the season at a glittering 54-12, entered Omaha with the best record in the eight-team field and left with that. It also won the regular season championship of the SEC – the best conference in the country. And it was No. 1 more often and for a longer stretch than any team in the country. It was also a No. 2 national seed. Those numbers, though, do not mean much when you are watching other teams remain in Omaha from your living room. Here are some other numbers Mainieri and Dunn should ponder in the off-season.The final four teams at the CWS did not want or need a Johnny Wholestaff because they found and developed other pitchers as the season went on. This may have cost them a loss or two here and there or a title or some seeding, but in the end it worked. Vanderbilt and Florida each have six pitchers who have thrown 50 or more innings during this season. Virginia and TCU each have had had five pitchers throw 50 or more innings this season. LSU had hree.Florida and TCU each have had four pitchers start 13 or more games this season. Vanderbilt has had four pitchers start nine or more times. After Lange and Poche started 17 and 18 games, respectively, the next pitcher on LSU’s starting log was Jake Godfrey with nine.Should LSU find itself short a starter or two in the near future, it may consider finding a third starter or at least trying very hard to do so. Even if that means sacrificing a mid-week or SEC weekend game here and there for the greater good.The greater good being NCAA postseason games, not SEC games or mid-week games. That is why Vanderbilt, Florida, TCU and Virginia lasted longer than LSU in Omaha even though they did not win as many games during the season.