CBS gets last at-laugh with Phillies


You saw the mounted police at Veterans Stadium on Wednesday? That's when I knew the Phillies would beat the Braves. Everybody knows a team can't win a pennant without the horses. (Rim shot.)

But I wanna tell ya, ladies and germs, it's great to be back at the World Serious. And how 'bout those Phillies? You think they'll pass customs in Canada? (Ba-dum.)

Hey, we kid the Phillies, but I heard they're taking two planes to Toronto -- one for the team, one for the beer. (Double rim shot.)

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying some of the Phillies are fat, but I heard that they don't wear double knits -- they wear quadruple knits. (Ba-dum, dum.)

You've been a great audience. Thanks, and drive safely.

Go ahead, make jokes about the Phillies. But they're in the World Series and you're not. In fact, CBS analyst Tim McCarver said yesterday, the team's characters and softball-league appearance might be keeping the Phillies from getting their due.

"This is a gloriously motley crew," McCarver said. "There is so much emphasis put on their hair and their stomachs that we lose sight that this is a very intelligent team."

CBS begins coverage of the Series tomorrow, and McCarver said the Phillies' looseness could present problems for the Blue Jays.

"Put yourself in the Blue Jays' spot," he said. "The biggest worry I would have is they [the Phillies] don't appear to be worried."

McCarver, along with play-by-play partner Sean McDonough and pre-game host Pat O'Brien, will be working a lame-duck Series. (With a shorter pre-game show and less for him to do, Jim Kaat will be sitting out the Series.) Next season, baseball's television rights move to ABC and NBC. McCarver said CBS will be trying to "squeeze the last morsel of professional contentment" from the Series telecasts.

On Wednesday, however, the National League tried to put another kind of squeeze on CBS. Umpires told NL president Bill White that they weren't happy with some of CBS' best shots -- the overhead view of the plate showing where pitches cross. Before Game 6, CBS said, White carried that unhappiness to Rick Gentile, CBS Sports senior vice president for production.

To its credit, CBS made no promises to cut down on those shots (you may have caught them a few times in Game 6). The network's position is it has shown that view for three seasons, doesn't overuse the shots to second-guess umpires and, in fact, often backs up an ump's call on borderline pitches.

CBS said it has heard no complaints from the American League.

NL umps should take a cue from the Phillies and lighten up a little.

I got a line on you, babe

Greg Gumbel in the AL playoffs and McDonough in the NL playoffs had good calls in the final innings of their respective series' clinchers.

After the Blue Jays foiled the White Sox's pitching strategy with a homer, Gumbel said: "Devon White knocks the percentages right out of the ballpark."

After the Phillies wrapped up Game 6 of the NLCS, McDonough said: "In a series filled with improbabilities, this was the most unlikely ending of all -- a 1-2-3 inning by Mitch Williams."

However, CBS went a little too far in its coverage of the playoffs on Saturday and Sunday nights, when obscenities were picked up by microphones in the dugouts.

It's a good thing the games are so late that no kids were up to hear.

Loved you in 'Aladdin'

Everybody is talking baseball. On PBS' Charlie Rose show this week, conservative godfather William F. Buckley was explaining why he isn't a big fan: "To really enjoy the game, you have to study it, follow a team. . . . That's a tremendous investment of time. . . . It's sort of like learning Russian."

New man at 11

You may have wondered who that guy is doing sports on Channel 11 this week. You also may have wondered (ah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wondered) why (why, why, why, why, why) she went away, and you may wonder where she might stay, your little runaway (ah run, run, run, run, runaway).

The answer to the latter (I'll take Del Shannon songs for $100, Alex) will have to wait until I can get Dick Clark on the phone. But the fellow at WBAL is Paul Davis, who recently was hired to replace weekend sports anchor Butch Alsandor, who went to work for a Houston station.

Davis, who has been filling in for vacationing Gerry Sandusky, is a Baltimore native whose broadcasting career began 13 years ago with a production job at Channel 11. Davis, 38, is a Mount St. Joseph graduate whose previous TV stops were in Albuquerque, N.M.; Lafayette, Ind.; Bismarck, N.D.; and Harrisonburg, Va.

In other local news

As that robot on "Lost In Space" used to say: "Warning, warning, warning." On Sunday, Channel 11 will be required to join the Redskins-Cardinals at 4 p.m. for kickoff, regardless of whether the 1 p.m. game, Eagles-Giants, is over. The CBS-NFL contract designates Baltimore as a peripheral Redskins market, requiring Channel 11 to carry Redskins games in their entirety. Clip and save this notice and read it again on Dec. 26, when the same holds true for a Redskins-Cowboys game.


I never liked Randy Cross and Jim Nantz anyway.

A CBS news release this week lists some of the network football announcers' preferences for NFL expansion teams. You know, Tim Ryan and Lesley Visser always seemed pretty bright to me.

* The right answer: Ryan and Visser pick our town, though both are ignoring the announced team name of Bombers. Ryan still likes Rhinos. Visser suggests Berries, as in ex-Colts great Raymond Berry. "If the Berries lose, we can say they're 'Blueberries.' . . . Fans can give the team 'Raspberries.' " Berry nice try, Lesley.

* The wrong answer: Here's the Cross word: "Memphis is a proven football area that deserves a franchise over St. Louis and Baltimore for no other reason than those cities have already had and lost franchises due to lack of community support." What can you expect from a guy who spent his career looking upside down and backward between his legs?

* Home, sweet home: Pat Summerall backs Jacksonville because it's his hometown, and Nantz favors Charlotte, N.C., where he was born.

* What a joker: And then there's Matt Millen: "The NFL should send quality NFL teams to Tampa and Cincinnati before looking anywhere else."

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