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My favorite new baseball manager as we near the playoffs is Tony La Russa of the Oakland A's, who used to refer to Sierra (now of the Yankees) as "the village idiot" and who more recently benched Rickey Henderson for being, in a delicious phrase, "mentally unavailable."

Margaret O'Brien Jones is a new Chicago-based ad rep for Southern Living magazine.

Does anyone at Nike truly believe Agassi looks good in those tennis clothes?

Tom Clavin in The East Hampton Independent weekly did a piece on Jerry Nachman of WCBS-TV News in which Clavin gushed, "In the '80s he revitalized the daily print media as the editor of the New York Post. Under his leadership, newspapers reached a degree of take-no-prisoners feistiness not previously seen in the Big Apple...." Which will probably be news to Rupert Murdoch, Roger Wood, Steve Dunleavy and all the others who'd made the Post famous (or infamous) long before Jerry arrived there in June of '89.

Funny, but I don't quite see Dick Snyder, the hard-as-nails former head of Simon & Schuster, as a new owner of the company that grew famous publishing the little Golden Books.

I've always thought of magazines as a family affair. Esther Laufer, who recently jumped from Ladies' Home Journal to join Donna Galotti at Cosmo (as associate publisher/marketing), is, in civilian life, the wife of Money magazine's ad and promo director, Mike Rich.

Do you sort of suspect California guv Pete Wilson isn't precisely going to be nominated by acclamation by the Republicans?

John Megna died, aged 42. If you don't know who he was, Meg-na was a remarkable child actor on the Broadway stage in James Agee's "All the Way Home" and played "Dill" in the film "To Kill a Mockingbird," the little boy who visited Jem and Scout during summer vacation. Since I knew Truman Capote had encouraged Harper Lee to write the "Mockingbird" novel (and in fact may have typed it for her), I always suspected "Dill" was Truman and finally got the opportunity to ask. Yes, said Truman, he was the little boy from another town caught up that summer with Jem and Scout and Boo Radley. Actress Connie Stevens is one of John Megna's surviving sisters.

Out-of-townerism continues to plague New York airways. Over WCBS-AM, an all-news station, mind you, reporter Pat Carroll referred to a parade "marching down Fifth Avenue," from 44th to 72nd Street.

This Met rookie pitcher Isringhausen has a great major league future ahead of him. After four big league starts (four!) he told beat reporters in the clubhouse, "Everybody here? I'm only doing this once." Welcome to ego-land, sonny.

Former Ad Age promotion whiz Suzanne Stavinoha has opened her own Dallas-based Fresh Ink Enterprises, a new source of copywriting, marketing and promotional services.

Ad director Jim Keplesky of Discover magazine says their 15th anniversary issue topped by 34% the revenues generated by any other single issue they ever produced.

The Four Seasons restaurant continues to be the "power cafeteria" during Manhattan lunch hours. The other day in the one room: Barry Diller, Steve Florio of Conde Nast with Jack Kliger, Howard Stringer, former Bloomies genius-in-residence Marvin Traub, 7th Ave.'s Mort Shrader, Sandy Weill, former Dun & Bradstreet Asia shogun William Dwyer, Liz Smith, philanthropist John Loeb Jr. and like that. The joint's new generation of managers, Julian Niccolini and Alex von Bidder, now await only the State Liquor Authority's OK to take over from Tom Margittai and Paul Kovi.

The debut issue of a new quarterly called Virtual City has just arrived, focusing on and targeted at the "cyber culture." It's a joint venture between Newsweek Inc. and Virtual Communications and must have a few bucks because they've retained Susan Magrino to do the PR. Jonathan Sacks is publisher and editorial director and Lewis D'Vorkin the editor. Art director is Anthony Kosner who is, I believe, Ed Kosner's son.

College football's just begun but Successful Farming magazine is out with its "All-American Farm Football Team," led by quarterback Henry Burris of Temple, hardly a farm belt college. But he's from Spiro, Okla., so I guess that qualifies.

I have no idea whether George works, but that's got to have been the smoothest magazine launch ever. What's the kid's name again who's editing it?

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