Jim Kaat stands about 6 feet 5, weighs about 225 pounds and is 52 years old. If ever there was a handle that doesn't fit him, it would be "Kitty." Yet all his cohorts at CBS covering the playoffs and World Series keep calling him that. Cut it out!
So, all right, it's nit-picking. But considering the job The Eye has done (both on TV and radio) covering the Fall Classic, there hasn't been much else to complain about.
Play-by-play man Sean McDonough is so smooth, he makes the pancakes go down so much easier -- even the next morning. Tim McCarver's literate approach to the game and its intricacies and surroundings makes it fun even for the non-fan.
Meanwhile, over on the radio side, Vin Scully still hasn't lost a step after all these years. The maestro was musing before the first game in Toronto the other night that it's too bad Montreal hadn't made it into the World Series opposite the Jays: "With the Bronfmans and Seagrams owning the Expos and Labatts Beer here with the Blue Jays, we would have had our first 'Boilermaker' World Series."
He then told the story of how ex-Oriole Bob Bailor was the first player ever taken by Toronto in the expansion draft in 1977: "Bailor said, 'You know how a lot of baseball players carry those tins of chewing tobacco and snuff in their back pocket?' When he first came to town, fans used to ask him why the players carried hockey pucks in their back pockets. "
* Good CBS: Statistics like "A.L. pitchers have one hit in their last 81 plate appearances in the Series." . . . The overhead camera showing pitcher Tom Glavine getting credit for strikes six to eight inches outside. . . . The instant replay shots of Toronto's Roberto Alomar head-firsting into home plate safe by a mile only to be called out, and the announcers not making a big deal out of it. Runners are usually safe at the plate because the catcher is trying to make a tag with his huge, cumbersome pillow of a glove. The umpire's rule of thumb is, if the throw arrives in time, he's out. . . . Cameras showing Billy Ray Cyrus from the waist up as he pelvic-thrusted his way through the national anthem. . . . McDonough reminding us just once that Alomar was the MVP of the American League playoffs. Colleague Dick Stockton would have gone hoarse repeating it. . . . No breathtaking and introspective gems of wisdom from reporter in the stands Lesley Visser. . . . McCarver referring to the Jays going out and getting pitcher David Cone for a month and postseason play as "baseball's version of the lend-lease program."
* Bad CBS: The cornball number where the camera rides to the ballpark with a starting pitcher. . . . Host Pat O'Brien saying, 'Maybe even [year-old son] Sean O'Brien saw the entire game tonight [which was played in 2:21]". . . . The ninth-inning shot of Jane Fonda praying, probably that the exercise video market holds up.
* As an old Braves fan, Boston variety, I beg to differ with McCarver, who exclaimed, "The Braves are known for a lot of things, but not shortstops." He then cited Eddie Miller as being an All-Star back in 1942. Uh, Tim, Alvin Dark wasn't bad, winning Rookie of the Year honors at the beginning of an illustrious career, and Johnny Logan wasn't shabby either.
* People working on a collection will be happy to learn Bob Carroll has a book ready to come out entitled "Sports Video Resource Guide Book." It explains what's available and where it can be purchased and for how much.
It makes for terrific reading, too, short reviews accompanying thmovies. For instance, here's the tag for the Mickey Mantle-Roger Maris epic "Safe at Home:" "Only for Yankee fans and masochists. A kid lies to his teammates that he knows Mantle and Maris; they save his psyche by showing up at his Little League banquet. The best acting is by the rubber chicken."
* This bumper sticker arrived, compliments of former Evening Sun sports editor Red Sears: "Attention! Will the lady who left her nine kids at Fenway Park please pick them up. . . . they are beating the Red Sox, 13-0, in the top of the 7th."
* Frothy Fact: "Boog and the Birds" star Boog Powell moved 40 tons of beef and 20 tons of pork at the ballpark this season, and that doesn't even count the considerable amount of barbecued meat that found its way to the former first baseman's stomach.
* Jeff Rimer (Washington Caps hockey on Channel 20) must think everyone wears a hairpiece. The camera showed a guy sitting in the stands at Madison Square Garden during the
Capitals-Rangers game the other night and Rimer said, "the man in the gray hair is Tom Ebright, owner of the Baltimore Skipjacks."
* NBC has a fight tomorrow (5 p.m.), Joey Gamache (29-0) and Tony Lopez (40-3) trading nosebleeds for the WBA lightweight title. It's either that or something just as tough, three-on-three hoops on CBS at the same time.
* Slowly but surely Dan Dierdorf seems to be getting back to his old self as analyst on "Monday Night Football." In other words, Dogmatic Dan is no longer making pronouncements but is letting his natural wit shine through. For example, after watching a frivolous statistical cartoon graphic, he piped in, "That's why we're on in prime time."
* Home Team Sports proudly announces its college basketball schedule for the coming season and it starts with a biggie Nov. 27: Two-time NCAA champ Duke taking on Brandt Hagen of Germany (all alone?). If that one does nothing for you, perhaps North Carolina toying with an Australian squad or Georgetown humiliating St. Leo's again Nov. 28 and Dec. 2 will help.
* Los Angeles Clippers coach Larry Brown flashed a sense of humor on CNN the other night when he noted that with 300-plus pounders John ("Hotplate") Williams and Stanley Roberts on his roster, "our front line is bigger than any line in the NFL. We're trying to figure out if our three-man front is better than our four-man front."
* While the Blue Jays and Braves were having at it, who should show up on the QVC shopping network but Reggie Jackson, selling autographed balls, etc. The ever-humble Mr. October said, "I think I lived a lot of dreams for people with my World Series performance."
* The wonder is that after listening to postgame interviews with ballplayers all these years the players association doesn't protest the procedure. It's not too often it does much for the image of ballplayers.
For instance, one of the highlights of the Series was Game 4
hitting star Pat Borders loading up and spitting in the middle of being interviewed on international TV. . . . and no doubt thinking nothing of it.
* Terrific feature on the cable the other night detailing how longtime NBA star Earl Monroe (Baltimore Bullets) is now involved in the Harlem Junior Tennis Academy program in the Big Apple.
* It's hard to believe with a team batting average of .208, Nick Charles on CNN referred to the "lusty hitting of Toronto."
* Nightly three-hour coverage of Washington International Horse Show begins this evening on HTS at 7:30. Noted champion horse breeder Bo Derek is slated for an appearance. . . . The hockey game on ESPN tonight is the Montreal Canadiens vs. New York Rangers.
4 * Things probably worth knowing or asking about:
Jim Beauchamp is "dugout coach" for the Atlanta Braves. What's a dugout coach do?
Do you suppose the fact President Bush played first base for Yale will be mentioned during ESPN's "Outside the Lines: All the Presidents' Games" next Tuesday (10:30 p.m.)?
Why Braves manager Bobby Cox had his second batter bunt on a 3-and-1 count with a runner at second and none out in the first inning?
And if that wasn't bad enough, how come he kept bringing Jeff Reardon in to blow games when the former Red Soxer was literally run out of Boston for being so bad with a last-place team?
Did that annoying war chant Braves fans insist on mumbling incessantly make it easy for you to pull against Atlanta?
If it bothers anyone else that Lonnie Smith is in the World Series with his fourth different team while Ernie ("Let's Play Two") Banks made Cooperstown as a maiden?