We wouldn't have the vaguest idea whose hand holds the scuffed baseball on the cover of Inside Sports' May issue illustrating Tom Boswell's piece on "Outlaw Pitchers" -- but a tipped hand has spoiled an NBC-TV attempt to get into the act.

This one fellow, see, agreed to demonstrate illegal major league pitching for a pregame show. He and an NBC crew gathered Wednesday at the U. of Missouri-St. Louis diamond. Secret? The pitcher wore a ski mask. NBC planned further protection by reversing the film to make the pitcher, a right-hander, into a left-hander. His catcher, ahem, had to change his shirt when NBC thought the letters on his jersey would look a little funny backward. Before donning the mask, the pitcher spent about 45 minutes showing off a variety of verboten deliveries, and how sandpaper hidden in a glove can make the ball do tricks. All set?

Whoops. A reporter and a photographer from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat showed up. Someone had talked. Off came the mask and there stood the Houston Astro who had been knocked out in four innings by the Cardinals the night before.

"That's it. I'm not doing it," said Don Sutton. "I'm 36 years old and I don't need this."