Come on, Joe. Come on, Tony. This is the World Series, not the Cubs and the Braves on some Saturday when we'd all be better off at the beach.
Fifth game of the October classic. Ninth inning. We are watching this great hulk of a mystery man named Jim Beattie pitching a pretty spectacular game, for a guy we've barely heard of.
There's a fly to right.It's going to be the second out. But who's that out there?
That's not Lou Piniella. "Oh," worthy announcers Kubek and Garagiola break in, startled, "That Jay Johnstone out there. The Yankees snuck him in when we weren't looking," Jay Johnstone, everybody.
As a matter of fact, we have a whole new Yankee outfield. There's Gary Thomasson in left and Paul Blair in center. And what are these guys hitting? And can they throw? And how did the Yankees latch on to them?
Joe and Tony won't tell. They're busy rattling on about Bob Hope's special, upcoming right after the show. We've already heard all about that, because twice in the course of the game we've dropped down to a bewildered Curt Gowdy in the box seats. He's interviewing Hope, who isn't showing us any inside knowledge about baseball.
No, Hope is telling us how funny it's all going to be tonight, because Cheryl Tiegs, see, is going to get him on the couch, and he's the umpire, wink wink. And we all know about Cheryl Tiegs and how convincing she can be.
The only thing we don't know much about is the game. Like what has Reggie Smith done today, and what does that Reggies Jackson shift look like. Key, you cameramen out there, give us a shot of the Reggie Jackson shift.
Oops, too late. Jackson just filed out to whatsisname in center.
Joe and Rony can be great. It was Garagiola who told us one time about the catcher's glove they use when the knuckleballer comes on. "It looks like a housing development," he said.
And there's been some nice byplay. We remember the Saturday afternoon game when Tony told Joe the last time they had agreed on anything "was when I offered to pay for lunch."
This is great stuff for a dull Saturday game between a couple of teams you don't care much about engaged in a game that has little meaning.
But this, fellows, is the World Series. It only comes around once a year. And we fans want to know how old Charlie Hough is, and whether he ever throws anything but the knuckler. We are not impressed with closeups of him rolling the ball around in his hand so we can be told by our announcing team how fabulous it is we can see the 75th anniversary stamp right there on the ball.
Baseball is the longest season of them all, and yet there are fans who brood all winter because they can't watch anymore. It's a game of subtlety unlike any other American sport.
A goo announcer preceives that subtlety and reports on it. Ralph Kiner once disclosed on a Met broadcast that a curve ball can be hit further than a fast ball because the spin of the ball bites into the bat.
He may be nuts, but that's the kind of inside poop we fans want. We don't want to know what's coming up next on NBC. We want to know who's coming up now, and why, and what's he going to do?
Come on, Tony. Come on, Joe.