CBS, in its first season of coverage, has showed wisdom beyond its baseball years through two games of the World Series.

For the most part, the sights and sounds have been superb, with 15 well-positioned cameras, and Jack Buck and Tim McCarver working well, but having fun while doing so. That makes it fun for the viewer.

From the first batter of the first game, Buck has shown he's more than just play-by- play. With Rickey Henderson batting, Buck said umpire Frank Pulli has a "liberal strike zone; he'll punch you out." Two pitches later, Henderson was called out on strikes; two batters later, ditto for Jose Canseco.

McCarver usually talks too much. In a pre-Series conference call with reporters, he said that isn't the case, yet so far he seemingly has toned down his act.

And the most graphic evidence of the fine camera work: Joe Oliver's single that won Game 2 hit smack dab on the third base line -- and CBS captured it.

Anyway, here's two games worth of coverage. From the top.

CBS couldn't have begun more eloquently, with Ernie Harwell reading the words of Roger Angell, and with Pat O'Brien reading from "Huckleberry Finn": "As a rule, I'd rather watch baseball than go to school." (A bit of license was used, as shown by research done by Stan Isaacs of Newsday. Fishing was Huck's sport of choice.) All well and good, but this homey feeling was odd coming from an outfit that had treated baseball so rudely during the season and playoffs.

After that too-little-too-late apology, CBS got down to work, updating the injuries of Canseco and Eric Davis within five minutes.

Jim Kaat and McCarver came next, with Kaat seemingly giving the bullpen edge to the A's and McCarver countering with: "Whoever's ahead after six innings is going to win." A graphic midway through Game 1 showed the A's (79-4) and Reds (74-6) were the best in baseball when leading after six, so that prediction really was anything but bold.

In the first inning, McCarver explained that when there's a base runner it is A's Manager Tony La Russa who determines when a pitcher throws to first or steps off the mound. An inning later we saw a shot of catcher Terry Steinbach peering at La Russa, who was giving him signs. Pictures backing up words.

The story of Game 1 was Dave Stewart's poor pitching. It was obvious from the get-go, with a walk and a homer in the first. But it wasn't until the third inning, after Stewart's fourth walk, that McCarver finally addressed the issue -- and then not before Buck's prodding.

"He is not himself," Buck said, adding that maybe the mound was troublesome to Stewart. "Maybe," said McCarver. "It could be the fact that this is his sixth day {between starts} too."

There was a terrific exchange in the sixth inning, with Cincinnati maintaining a 7-0 cushion.

Buck asked Kaat, situated at field level behind the plate, about Reds starter Jose Rijo: "Hey, Jim Kaat, what do you think about Rijo staying in the game?"

Kaat: "I'm all for it, he's got a shutout. . . . Save the 'Nasty Boys' till later."

Buck: "Those pitchers stick together, Tim."

McCarver: "I don't know, Kitty. I'm going to have to disagree. I know this isn't 'Point-Counterpoint,' but if this series goes seven games Rijo's going to have to start twice on three days' rest. He's done it only twice all year."

McCarver 1, Kaat 0.

In that pre-Series conference call, McCarver proved prophetic when discussing Rijo. He said the A's had the edge, but it would have been bigger if the NLCS had gone to Game 7 because Rijo would've had to pitch it, thereby unable to start in the Series till Game 3.

Buck's lone flub of Game 1 came in the ninth. The Reds "knew they were going to have to beat Dave Stewart somewhere down the line," he said. And McCarver didn't dispute it. However, the Reds did not have to beat Stewart, also slated to start Games 4 and 7. They could've won Games 2, 3, 5 and 6. Buck reiterated his statement after the game.

Game 2. I had been trying to figure out what I didn't like about O'Brien. It's his demeanor, his personality. They're not strong enough to be a host; he's perfect in a supporting role. His quirky, offbeat features always have worked well -- in any sport. Sure he hosted the NBA finals, but that was just a few minutes every game. Now, it's a half-hour.

The positioning of the cameras really stood out in Game 2. In the first inning, Henderson was on third when a grounder was hit to first. With a replay shot from the upper deck above third, we not only saw Henderson, we saw what Henderson saw. Henderson scored. So did CBS.

On balls hit to the right side, the camera in the right field corner has offered candid replays of the swing, the batter running and the fielder.

On Henderson's ice-cream-cone catch in the ninth inning, CBS caught Henderson with his eyes as big as baseballs, and the wide-eyed disbelief of batter Todd Benzinger.

Just before Game 2 ended, A's third baseman Carney Lansford was guarding the line with Chris Sabo batting and Billy Bates on first. Sabo singled Bates to second. McCarver said that with Bates now on second Lansford would move off the line. Why? He never explained. The next batter, Oliver, hit the line to win it.

A graphic then showed no road team has won an extra-inning World Series game since the '73 A's. How relative is that? Have there been two extra-inning games since, or 20? It didn't say.

CBS, so far, so good. But one request: Please don't replace Jack Buck next season.