Bob Costas Finally Takes His World Series Cuts

He's worked on the Olympics, National Football League and National Basketball Association telecasts.

For seven years, he teamed with Tony Kubek to form one of baseball's most popular broadcasting teams.

He's won six Sportscaster of the Year Awards and nine Emmy Awards as a sports host and writer.

But until now, Bob Costas - unabashed baseball-lover - has never called an entire World Series on television.

"I really don't look at it like, `It's about time!,' " says Costas. "I'm just really happy to be doing it this year."

Game 2 of the best-of-seven World Series is slated for 4 p.m. Sunday on NBC (KING-TV). (The first pitch is scheduled for 4:35 p.m.) Costas will provide play-by-play alongside analysts and former big-league players Joe Morgan and Bob Uecker. After a travel day on Monday, the Fall Classic resumes Tuesday with Game 3. Subsequent games are scheduled Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, with Game 7,if necessary, next Sunday.

It was just two years ago, during the NBC/ABC-shared "Baseball Network" coverage of the World Series, that Costas got his first TV crack at the World Series. It wasn't the perfect situation.

"Essentially, I hadn't done any baseball for about six years, and I could have been a little rusty," Costas admits. "It was also the first time I had worked with Joe and Bob, and it takes a while for a new announcing team to find a rhythm. Throw in how choppy the scheduling was, with us doing only Games 2, 3 and 6, and it turned out to be somewhat difficult."

There are no such problems for Costas this time around. He's reached a comfort zone in the booth with Morgan and Uecker, and his play-by-play voice should be in fine shape after already calling three division-series games and the NLCS. He even caught a break by working one game of both first-round American League playoff series.

"Any announcer will tell you that calling one game is worth more to you than watching those same teams play five games," Costas maintains. "When you work a game, you have to do extensive preparation and it has a way of sticking. When you hear yourself say something, when it becomes part of the broadcast - when you've `lived it,' so to speak - it stays with you, more than when you're just watching. Even though I saw each of the AL teams only once, it will have a tremendous carry-over effect to the World Series."

Costas has been a fan of baseball for as long as he can remember. Like so many others, the game grabbed him as a child.

In recent years, as baseball has taken some hits of its own in the eyes of fans and the media, Costas has been looked upon by many as a voice of reason . . . the keeper of the sport's conscience, so to speak. He's quick to point out that he's not necessarily against change in baseball; he just doesn't think the "quick-fix" decisions that owners have been making are the right ones.

"Baseball is foolish to try and go away from its strengths and play to the perception that we're in a video-game age, therefore people will not invest the extra time that is required to be rewarded by baseball. If baseball changes to try and win over an audience with such a short attention span that it finds the game boring, it's not going to be successful.

""The owners ought to take stock and ask, `What are we?,' and then go with that. That doesn't mean baseball should never change, but it should be very careful about changing fundamentally."