A long, long time ago, before the major league baseball season started and before CBS began its four-year commitment to the game, CBS Sports Executive Director Ted Shaker said: "We're not going to reinvent how baseball has been televised. Other networks have already set the standard. We have big shoes to fill. In the beginning, we're probably going to make some mistakes, but hopefully we won't make them twice."

A matter of months into its run, CBS has done a bit of reinventing, giving the National League Championship Series two consecutive days off -- and of all days, Saturday and Sunday. CBS says that it was lockout related, Major League Baseball says that it was lockout related.

However, that does not appear to be the case.

"The big reason," said Major League Baseball's manager of public relations, Jim Small, "is that when we had the lockout the number one concern was to play 162 games. In order to do that we had to push three days into the postseason.

"We went to CBS -- they were very accommodating; we came up with the best scenario possible. . . . CBS had some {programming} commitments and we respected them."

Small went on to say that the LCS schedules had not been finalized with CBS. "We don't set that in granite, because we have facilities with other {NFL} clubs. So, we don't decide in March. . . . We have a pretty good idea, but we need to stay flexible."

However, that does not appear to be the case.

Said Susan Kerr, director of communications of CBS Sports: "What happened was Major League Baseball met with CBS prior to the season to map out a schedule for both LCSs. We worked out a schedule and we were locked in -- then the lockout.

"They came to us and asked us to make adjustments. We revised previously scheduled time periods. After lengthy conversations we came to a schedule fairest and most reasonable for all involved. . . . It didn't benefit us. We would've liked to leave it the way it was."

The way it was, according to a spokesman in the National League offices, was Game 1 of the NLCS on Tuesday, Oct. 2, with the familiar 2-3-2 format, allowing for single travel days and games on both Saturday and Sunday.

When advised of comments made by Kerr and the National League, Small stood by his account. However, Kerr -- after speaking with Small -- changed her story, now claiming there was not a set schedule.

A spokesman for NBC said his network always knew when the playoffs would start. Last year, when NBC televised both championship series, there were four games on the weekend: Games 3 and 4 of the NL series, Games 4 and 5 of the AL Series.

Either way, the lockout conveniently allowed CBS to bow out of the whole weekend. It seems that since baseball went to the network to alter an existing schedule, CBS said: "Okay, but we think we'd like something in return. Hey, just off the top of our heads, how about A SUNDAY FOOTBALL DOUBLEHEADER!!"

Said Kerr: "Fay Vincent has said he appreciates CBS making adjustments -- he was happy we changed."

Oh Fay, oh baseball fan of baseball fans, say it ain't so.

As for the telecasts, CBS is doing a creditable job, no matter when the games are on (and go on and on, at least in the AL). With the NLCS, Jack Buck and Tim McCarver work extremely well together, surprising considering CBS televised only 16 regular season games (NBC and ABC televised more than twice that total last season).

There were reports earlier this season that CBS didn't want Buck as its lead play-by-play man. Of course, that originally was supposed to be Brent Musburger's job.

Buck is perfect with McCarver. He doesn't talk too much, and doesn't get excited until the situation warrants, but adds just enough to balance McCarver, who some say talks too much, and probably does. (And he even squeaks a bit when he raises his voice trying to make a point.) However, what McCarver does say is interesting. He takes us through the game as a manager sees it: always one or two batters ahead of the play. Most analysts talk just as much but filibuster with inane stats.

Jim Kaat is working the AL series with Dick Stockton and has found a mix of what to say and how often to say it. He interviewed Wade Boggs during Game 1 of the ALCS telecast in the Boston locker room. Boggs, with that Fu Manchu, was wearing mirrored sunglasses and looked like something out of Wrestlemania. "Nice shades," said Kaat.

The pregame show is a typical pregame show, once it gets past that grating theme music (Fellas, this isn't "Chariots of Fire") and all those monitors and bright colors and strobes and neon (and that's just in Pat O'Brien's ties).

But most of all, thanks to CBS for needing all of one pitch of the AL series to show us Tom Brunansky actually making a catch.