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World Series 2001
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11/05/2001 02:03 AM ET
Muskat: Brenly gambled and won
Second-guessed throughout out the World Series, Brenly is doused with champagne after Game 7.

PHOENIX -- He's been ridiculed, criticized, second-guessed and challenged.

And the next time anyone questions Bob Brenly's moves, he can wave a World Championship ring in their face.

The Diamondbacks manager gambled and won. Hope he buys a lottery ticket first thing Monday.

Brenly became the fourth manager with no previous managerial experience to win a World Championship, beating the Yankees -- yes, the Yankees -- 3-2 Sunday night in Game 7 of an exhilarating and exhausting World Series.

Brenly joins the Senators' Bucky Harris in 1924, the Cardinals' Eddie Dyer in 1946 and the Yankees' Ralph Houk in 1961 as the first managers with the short resumes to win.

The former player-coach-broadcaster won't have to spend the winter answering "What Ifs."

"I saw something on a bumper sticker a long time ago that said, 'It's not what if, it's what now,'" Brenly said. "If you allow yourself to play those 'what if' games, especially in the game of baseball, the repetitiveness and the day in, day out grind of this game, if you start wondering what if, you'll absolutely start driving yourself crazy.

"You make your decision and say, 'What now, what's next' and not 'What happened,' then 'What's going to happen next,'" he said.

Remember, he was a former broadcaster so he is a little long winded. Bob, we need to think in terms of quick, sound bites.

He gambled and started Curt Schilling on short rest in Game 4. The D-Backs lost in extra innings, there was a rumored sore shoulder and talk about miscommunication in the dugout. Schilling then went seven innings in Game 7 and finished the postseason with a 4-0 record and 1.12 ERA. He set postseason records with six starts, 48 1/3 innings and 56 strikeouts while tying marks with three complete games.

Brenly altered his lineup dramatically in Game 6 against lefty Andy Pettitte, inserting three right-handers, and ended up with a 15-2 romp.

On Sunday in Game 7, the ultimate baseball game, Brenly used Randy Johnson in relief less than 24 hours after the Big Unit had thrown 100 pitches over seven innings in Game 6.

"(Johnson) said it all along, it's the seventh game of the World Series, he's not going to play winter ball this year so there's nothing to save it for," Brenly said.

Johnson ended up getting the win, his fifth, which is a World Series record. Schilling and Johnson were co-MVPs. Guess it all worked.

In Game 7, Brenly opted to start Danny Bautista, who had five RBIs in Game 6, and stuck with veteran Mark Grace who was hitting .133. He stayed with Grace because Brenly knew how important playing in a World Series game was for a guy who had waited 15 years.

And that's been a key. He respects his players. In Game 6, Bobby Witt and Troy Brohawn each pitched an inning of relief. Just to be able to tell their kids and grandkids that they played in a World Series.

Brenly did his job, he did it as he has all year and it worked.

"I can't say (the criticism) came as a surprise," Brenly said. "I understood from some of the managers I played for in my career and the managers that I worked for as a coach and even some of the managers I talked to as a broadcaster that that is part of your job.

"It's not a good part of the job," he said, "but it's a part of the job nonetheless and it is what it is."

Enjoy the good part of the job, Bob.

Who's sizzling: Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson, who shared MVP honors in Game 7. The two handled 8 2/3 innings Sunday (Miguel Batista got one out) and struck out 10. They allowed just five earned runs in 38 2/3 innings over five games in the Series for a 1.16 ERA.

Who's fizzling: Outfielder Reggie Sanders. He didn't start and likely will not remain with the D-Backs next season.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com.