You've probably noticed the Lakers have two play-by-play announcers these days. There is, of course, Chick Hearn, who will be working all the playoff games for KLAC radio and early-round weeknight games for Fox Sports Net or Channel 9.
Then there is Bob Costas.
The way the schedule is spaced, he will be working a lot of Laker playoff telecasts. The Lakers are the marquee team, and Costas and partner Doug Collins are NBC's marquee announcing team, so they get the Lakers.
Costas and Collins will be in Salt Lake City on Saturday, then at Staples Center on Sunday for Game 1 of the Laker-Sacramento series.
Basketball may be in the forefront of Costas' mind at the moment, but he has also been talking baseball.
Costas was in Los Angeles all week, promoting his new baseball book, "Fair Ball." He was on the "Tonight Show With Jay Leno," ESPN's "Up Close," and Jim Rome's radio show.
The book is worth the attention. It has been out only a little over a week but already has cracked the New York Times' best-seller list. It will be No. 10 on the list that will appear in Sunday's paper.
The 179-page book is excellent, well written and well thought out. Costas is one of the most intelligent people in sports and it shows.
The book is essentially a long essay on what needs to be done to improve--maybe even save--a sport Costas loves dearly. He advocates revenue sharing, a salary cap, and discarding the wild card. He also tackles lesser issues, such as Pete Rose. He believes the suspension was justified, but he also believes Rose should be eligible for the Hall of Fame.
It is apparent that Costas spent time and thought on the book.
Why did he write it? Certainly not for the money. He is donating the proceeds to BAT--the baseball assistance team that helps former players and others from baseball in need. He wrote it because he cares.
Baseball spokesman Rich Levin said Thursday that the commissioner's office had no comment on the book.
Sure, some of Costas' suggestions are unrealistic. Maybe George Steinbrenner would never agree to revenue sharing, and maybe $15-million-a-year players would never agree to a $10-million cap. But every baseball owner, executive, player and fan should read it. Most of what Costas proposes makes sense.
WHAT'S NEW IN NEWS
Channel 9 has renamed its nightly sports news segments "KCAL Sports Night," and a new half-hour show, "KCAL Sports Sunday," makes its debut Sunday at 8:30 p.m. Alan Massengale is the host, with James Worthy the first guest co-host. John Ireland and Darren Horton will serve as reporters. . . . "Fox Sports News" has a new name--the "National Sports Report"--and a new, flashy look with new interactive aspects. The name was changed because coming in late June will be a half-hour "Regional Sports Report," to air nightly at 11 p.m. The first two hires for the Los Angeles version of the "Regional Sports Report" are Lisa Guerrero and Suzy Shuster as reporters. Shuster comes from HBO, where she is a producer on "Real Sports."
WHAT'S NEW IN RADIO
Tony Bruno, formerly of ESPN Radio and possibly the best sports talk-show host in the country, has joined Dave Denholm on the midday show on KXTA (1150). Bruno replaces Newy Scruggs, who took a TV job in Dallas. Bruno is still living in Philadelphia and, for now, is doing his portion of the show from there. He plans to move to L.A. soon. KXTA has Bruno until August, when he will move on to the new Fox Sports radio network. . . . KXTA plans to give former superagent Dennis Gilbert a tryout on April 30, from 7-10 a.m. Gilbert is knowledgeable about baseball and also knows just about every celebrity in town. His radio skills, though, are in question. . . . KXTA's Jeff Biggs has returned from a honeymoon to resume his regular role on Dodger talk. . . . One pairing that doesn't work is Ken Levine and Lee Klein. Individually, these guys are fine. Together, they sound so much alike you can't tell who is talking.
Marv Albert, who works for both NBC and TNT, has the weekend off because of the death of his father. . . . Marv's brother Steve was to work a historic boxing show for Showtime--the first fight televised from China to the United States--but has been replaced by Colonel Bob Sheridan. The Showtime card, to be shown Saturday, delayed at 10 p.m., features Andrew Golota in the main event and Laila Ali, the daughter of Muhammad Ali, on the undercard. Ali, 5 feet 10 and 165 pounds, is seeking her sixth knockout in six fights.