The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘Howard Cosell’

In praise of the 1979 World Series

Posted by keithosaunders on February 25, 2019

You can watch countless old baseball games on youtube.  Last year, during the off-season I watched some of the 1974 World Series between the Dodgers and the As.  This year I’ve been watching one of my all time favorites, the Pittsburgh Pirates versus the Baltimore Orioles.

Played in 1979, This was a rematch of the 1971 Series.  Like its counterpart, the ’79 Series went a full seven games –  both were won by the Pirates.  1979 was particularly dramatic, however, as the Pirates fell behind 3-1 in games and had to win three elimination games. To top it off the final two games were played on the road in Baltimore.

Here are some random observations:

In those days ABC and NBC would alternate years broadcasting the Series.  1979 was an ABC year and I was reminded why they were the inferior broadcasting network.  ABC had a bizarre fixation with showing the ball players wives, which quickly grew tiresome.  Their camerawork also seemed sub par – replays rarely yielded a satisfying shot.  And then there was Howard Cosell.

Cosell was as insufferable as I remembered him being.  He was smart, could be glib, and yes, I would take him any over Joe Buck (I would take a trained seal over Joe Buck) but he couldn’t help but make the game about himself.  Cosell did, however, provide one laugh-out-loud moment.  After catcher, Manny Sanguillen, won game two with a pinch hit ABC went down to the field to interview him.   As  the camera fixed on a closeup of the scraggly, bearded veteran, Cosell waxed,  “LOOK at that time-worn face!”

Keith Jackson was the play by play man for the games in Baltimore.  Although he was a consummate professional and had a good set of pipes, he was more of a college football guy.  That weekend he was absent from the Series as he was sent to work the Oklahoma-Texas Tech game.  Jackson’s sub was a young Al Michaels, whose voice was a half an octave higher than it is today.  Michaels was a marked upgrade from Jackson and it was good to hear him during his formative years.  The booth was rounded out by Don Drysdale, or Twin D, as Cosell referred to him.

The uniforms were garish, but delightful.  I always did love the banana-yellow Pirates uniforms.  The Bumblebee Bucs!  Even Baltimore got into the act in game 2, donning flaming orange tops.

It is a delight to watch pitchers pitch with tempo.  Jim Palmer versus Burt Blyleven was a sight for sore eyes.  Most of the pitchers I saw pitched with a tidy rhythm, with the exceptions being Jim Bibby and Dennis Martinez.  Kent Tekulve, one of my favorites at the time, did not disappoint.  He also has a good quote in which he said that he takes one look at the scouting reports, throws them away, and then pitches his game.  Take that, metrics freaks.

In game three there was an hour rain delay after three innings.  Both starting pitchers, John Candeleria, and Scott McGregor, remained in the game.  McGregor, who had allowed 3 runs in the first two innings, settled down and pitched a complete game.  Somehow pitchers in those days could get through the lineup 4 times.  Go figure.

Relief pitchers were allowed to stay in the game for more than one inning and closers were sometimes called upon to get outs in non save situations.  In game 4 The Birds had come from 6-3 down to take a 7-6 lead.  Earl Weaver was pulling all the right strings employing a successful string of pinch hitters.  With two on and one out Weaver allowed relief pitcher, Tim Stoddard, to hit.  Stoddard, being an American League pitcher,  had not had one at bat the entire season.  Of course he singled to center, driving in a run.

[John Sterling voice] That’s baseball!

Image result for 1979 pirates

 

 

 

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Monday night baseball

Posted by keithosaunders on August 13, 2017

Last night, while browsing Twitter, I stumbled upon this VHS recording of a telecast of a 1979 ABC Monday Night Baseball game between the Angels and the Redsox.  The recording only contained the first inning and a few highlights, which was fine since the game ended up being a blowout.  It’s a great time capsule, however, and is worth watching for a few minutes.

The thing that struck me the most was how much more pleasant it was to watch a game in those days.  There are hardly any replays, stats are kept to a minimum, and the overall pace of the game is much quicker.

The announcing team was Keith Jackson, Howard Cosell, and Bob Eucker.  Jackson was known largely for college football but he did a professional job and was a good listen.  He didn’t get in the way of the game and you can tell that he did his homework.  Cosell, on the other hand, did get in the way of the game – he had a tremendous ego – but was still a much more compelling listen than today’s bland ex-jock color men, or robotic, colorless Joe Buck.

Check it out!

 

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Tour de Bronx

Posted by keithosaunders on June 21, 2011

While I’m in New York City I’m staying at my friend Jeff’s house in the Bronx.  Some of my longtime readers may remember Jeff as an occasional guest poster.  He is a fellow sports fan and music aficionado.  It is a testament to our friendship that Jeff, the greatest Yankee fan of all time, could be best friends with the greatest Yankee hater of all time.  Believe me, I got the better part of the bargain.

The Bronx gets a bad rap.  When people think of the Bronx they think of an overhead shot of burning buildings in the South Bronx taken from the Goodyear Blimp during the 1977 World Series, with Howard Cosell’s overly dramatic intonation, “The Bronx is burning!”  Back then it was a dangerous place, but much of greater New York City was as well.  The city was broke, crime was rampant, and the real estate and stock market boom of the 80s was yet to arrive.

Today I helped Jeff run an errand to a part of the Bronx that Jeff was unfamiliar with.  We ended up taking a circuitous route, but this was right in my wheelhouse.  I love seeing different sections of New York, particularly in the outer boroughs.  It’s in these neighborhoods —  not chic, glossy, yupped out Manhattan —  where you can still get a whiff of old New York.

We set out from Jeff’s neighborhood, a verdant, tree-lined section of Pelham filled with old three-story red brick houses.  There are lots of flowering bushes, and by summertime the trees begin to form a shade canopy over the streets.

Pelham is in the East Bronx and we headed north and west via the Mosholu Parkway, cut over to Bedford Ave, and made a hard left onto the Grand Concourse and headed downtown.  The Concourse was designed and constructed in the late 1800s with the idea of providing access from Manhattan to the parkland in the northern Bronx.  It was lined with fashionable, deco-style apartments, most of which still exist today, although some are in ill repair.  I took a photo of one that I found particularly striking; a triangular building that reminded me of the Flat Iron building on 23rd street in Manhattan.

 

We passed 176th street, a mere ten blocks north of Yankee Stadium, and turned east onto Mount Eden Rd.  Here are some of the apartment buildings.

 

 

 

 

 

After a few more blocks we approached Crotona Park.  The Bronx is home to most parkland per capita in New York City.  Pelham Park, in the Northeast, is even larger than Central Park.  I was amazed to see this green oasis in the middle of a dense, urban area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a few more blocks I noticed a stand-alone, one-story house which was surrounded by pre-war apartment buildings.  Jeff then recalled that back in the ’70s Jimmy Carter had visited the Bronx, and decrying the urban blight, pushed for the construction of several affordable homes.  Sure enough we soon came to a block that had several of these homes. 

 

We reached our destination on 176th st, ran the errand, and turned north and east to go home.  We found ourselves on Boston Rd, which at this point, runs under the 2 train, which is part of the IRT subway line that runs express in Manhattan under 7th Ave, and continues into Brooklyn, ending in Flatbush.  For my final picture here is a shot under the el — a classic New York street scene if there ever was one.  

 

Now get out there and visit the Bronx!

 

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