Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Costas: Baseball Hurting Itself with 2 Latest Changes

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Costas: Baseball Hurting Itself with 2 Latest Changes

Article excerpt

Bob Costas, NBC sports authority, reared back and let loose.

Costas says he's no fan of the new six-division realignment and wild-card playoffs in major-league baseball. In rapid order, he called it bad baseball and bad business. And he good-naturedly chided those, such as KMOX baseball announcer Joe Buck, who would shake him off as a purist.

"Joe uses the term `purist' as if anybody who disagrees with these harebrained changes is part of the baseball version of the Amish people, who wouldn't want to see any change at all because people would come to games in streetcars, little straw hats and their sleeves rolled up and have ladies' day and everybody gets in for a quarter, right?," Costas said.

"Baseball has changed before and it will change again," he continued. "But all great institutions, baseball or any other institution, have enduring principles."

Baseball, by realigning, strayed from those principles and ripped apart its competitive essence, he said. "There's no more pennant races," he said.

Costas unleashed his knuckleball at the Baseball Forecast Luncheon at America's Center. The third annual event drew about 800 baseball fans, who got a preseason peek from the pros.

Cardinals manager Joe Torre thought the team had a "good shot" at winning the National League Central Division, if its shaky pitching staff holds up. Cardinals general manager Dal Maxvill hoped to work the same magic for the pitching staff as he did last year, when he acquired outfielder Mark Whiten and first baseman Gregg Jeffries.

Post-Dispatch baseball writer Rick Hummel predicted that Houston, Atlanta, San Francisco, Toronto, Seattle and Cleveland would win their respective divisions.

Among those in attendance were American League umpire Dave Phillips, sports executive Bing Devine, Cards broadcaster and emcee Mike Shannon, broadcaster Al Hrabosky, Cards President Stuart Meyer and former Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog, who recently stepped down as general manager of the California Angels. …

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