There's nothing one-sided about Lowenstein's view from 0) booth
You're a huge Orioles fan. By that, I mean you're an enthusiastic backer, not that you're able to swap clothes with Dom DeLuise.
Your door knocker is in the shape of an ornithologically correct oriole. You hum along to those "See you at the park" commercials. Your dog is named Cal. (Supportive fan that you are, you picked that name before his slump.) You take off from work on Joe Orsulak's birthday.
Of course, you subscribe to Home Team Sports. You watch every game. You root. And you want the announcers to root along with you.
So maybe you were disappointed by HTS analyst John Lowenstein on Wednesday night. Gee, he was practically being objective.
In the sixth inning, the Orioles pitched out. The Royals' Keith Miller swung, hitting catcher Chris Hoiles' mitt. Umpire Derryl Cousins called Miller out for interference.
After viewing the replay, Lowenstein said: "That's not interference on the batter. He has a right to hit the ball. . . . Derryl Cousins is a former catcher. He's siding with the catcher."
And you were squirming on your orange and black couch, pounding your Major League Baseball Properties-licensed inflatable bat on the coffee table, thinking: "Shush, John. Somebody might hear you."
Then, in the bottom half of the inning, the Orioles scored on a sacrifice fly to center on which the Royals' Kevin Koslofski bounced his throw way off the plate.
"That's a shame," Lowenstein said, lamenting Koslofski's poor throw.
So you got really upset. Whose side is this guy on?
"I think maybe people get accustomed to having their hometown announcers be in favor of the home team," Lowenstein said yesterday. "It's good to pay attention to the visiting team, too.
"I like to play the devil's advocate."
Pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name.
Lowenstein wasn't necessarily taking the Royals' side, though, he said.
"I thought maybe the Orioles were due for some breaks," he said, "and they got a couple. So maybe things are starting to go their way."
See, Lowenstein is on your side. Calm down. Take Cal for a walk. After all, you don't want to end Cal's streak of 1,718 consecutive days of taking a walk.
Football and baseball have Deion Sanders. CBS has Dick Stockton.
Stockton is sort of Sanders without the gold chains. And without the dazzling returns or dashes to the plate. And without as much hair.
In other words, they are nothing alike. In fact, I'm sorry I brought it up. It's just that the strain of writing once every week (italics mine, all mine, ha-ha-ha) is getting to me.
What I'm trying to say about Stockton is that he's a two-sport man for the next three weekends, starting tomorrow. On Saturdays, he's calling play-by-play on baseball with Jim Kaat. On Sundays, he's working the NFL with Randy Cross. This weekend, he has the Orioles-Milwaukee Brewers (tomorrow, 3 p.m., channels 11, 9) and then the Phoenix Cardinals-Dallas Cowboys (not televised here).
"This is a common thing this time of year. It just means that you have to buckle down and concentrate on two games," said Stockton, who, also unlike Sanders, is married to CBS sportscaster Lesley Visser.
"You just hope you don't say, 'wild pitch' when the quarterback overthrows a pass."
So Stockton watches games on television, goes over game tapes, rosters and clippings with double preparation.
"The whole thing with this stuff is to be up-to-date," he said. "People put a lot on homework, but it's more being able to react to what happens."
Stockton is fortunate in that he has two partners who react quite well. Kaat usually offers trenchant commentary, and seems to be very much a student of the game. Cross, a relatively new broadcaster, still has a tendency to try analyzing everything, but shows signs of becoming a top-notch NFL announcer.
"It's good to have an analyst who has an idea," Stockton said.
Unlike that guy who tried comparing Stockton and Sanders.
Dot, dot, dot's nice
On Thursdays at 6 p.m., Nestor Aparicio is joined by The Sun's Kevin Eck for an hour of high school sports talk on WITH (1230 AM). . . . CBS' baseball pre-game show tomorrow (2:30 p.m., channels 11, 9) features talks with commissioner pro tem Bud Selig and Athletic emeritus Jose Canseco. . . . Let's see: Last week I mention Ron Smith and, next thing you know, I'm on his WBAL radio show. So if I mention somebody else today, maybe I'll get on another show. Hmm. Hey, how about Christie Brinkley's new program?
Things my boss wants to know
Is it true that this weekend's Hardee's Classic golf tournament will be called the Roy Rogers Classic in this area? . . . Isn't Van Earl Wright supposed to do sports on Ted Turner's new, all-cartoon network? . . . Speaking of new channels, will Fred Edelstein offer inside football info on the Sci-Fi Network?