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CBS blinded by baseball's shining moment

By
JEFF HASEN UPI Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES -- Baseball's shining moment appears to be blinding the network that overpaid for the opportunity to cover it.

Instead of hitting its stride in its second World Series, CBS has taken seven games' worth of missteps in just the two weekend Metrodome contests.

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Consider:

--Jack Buck calls Atlanta Manager Bobby Cox's decision to start Charlie Leibrandt in Game 1 'justified,' just before the Twins light up the left-hander and give every second-guesser in the audience something to chew on at Sunday brunch.

--What analyst Jim Kaat called 'It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Supervision' is overused in the first game and absent from the second. The computerized path of the pitch appears to be nothing more than a big-money video game that isn't worth the buildup.

--Jeff Treadway strikes out on a pitch in the dirt in Game 1, but the pictures show Treadway running toward first instead of catcher Brian Harper dealing with the errant toss.

--Buck doesn't pick up on the power behind Kent Hrbek's upper-deck home run, asking, 'Did he hit it good enough?'

--Replays, replays and more replays are shown, but many end abruptly when live action demands it.

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--Game 2 pre-game guest Tom Lasorda of the Dodgers says the Braves have adjusted to the difficult Metrodome roof, yet the first ball hit off the bat of a Twin in Game 2 is dropped by colliding fielders.

--Umpire Rich Garcia, a CBS consultant, gets air time to shamelessly defend the obviously incorrect call when Hrbek pushes Ron Gant off first base and gets away with it.

--Analyst Tim McCarver believes Atlanta pitcher Tom Glavine agrees with Coble following a balk call later in the game, yet the pictures clearly show Glavine's disgust with the ump.

CBS can be proud of Kaat's analysis and objectivity despite his ties to the Twins, Pat O'Brien's off-beat work, the brilliant closeups at first on pickoff throws and its journalistic content of covering stories like the Indian protests of the Braves' fans' tomahawks and chants and the recovery of umpire Steve Palermo.

But where was the interview with Hrbek after Game 2 and the attempt to talk to Coble or a baseball official about what might go down as the turning point of the Series? All we got was Garcia pulling our collective leg, much like Hrbek did to Gant before millions of more objective eyes than Garcia's.

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