Though he raised his family in St. Louis, like myself, Bob Costas is really from Long Island.
I did a guest appearance on our big radio station KMOX many years ago with Costas, and some other St. Louis writer, who was also from Long Island.
We were all from New York and here we were in St. Louis, discussing St. Louis baseball.
Bob went to Comack High School way out in Suffolk County.
This is the same school that produced Rosy O’Donnell.
You might call them the Dim and the Wit.
The first and only time Bob ever came to one of my homes was in 1974, shortly after he came to St. Louis to broadcast the ABA games for the St. Louis Spirits.
It was his first big time job since leaving Syracuse University.
He asked my seven-year old son Mark, what he thought of the team and in his inimitable, laconic style, Mark said Spirits stink.
It was as accurate a judgment as any professional sports critic could have rendered.
Consequently Bob admired my son’s candor.
He gave us passes to several games.
There would be no more than 800-1000 people at any of the games.
I remember one game with the New York Nets, who then played on Long Island, where the Spirits burst out to a 22-1 lead and still lost the game.
After each game, we would be Bob’s guests in the Arena Club.
He would do his post-mortem and discuss his performance for that evening.
One time a beautiful young intern accompanied him from KMOX, the flagship of the Cardinals and the Spirits for their first year in St. Louis.
She was a dead-honest knockout.
So while Bob is busy discussing the game with Mark, the seven-year old, I turned on my debatable charm with the pretty redhead.
After that Bob and I went our separate ways.
He went up. I went in a straight line.
I ran into him years later in St. Petersburg, Florida before an exhibition game at Al Lang Stadium.
As people would happen by, Bob kept thanking people for their notes, letters, and reminders.
I said: Bob, do you always, answer your correspondence here behind the home plate screen?
He was a with a swarthy-looking guy that really looked familiar to me.
We chatted for a few minutes, until Bob, ever the genial host introduced me to Bobby Valentine, who was scouting for somebody.
Relieved I told my new acquaintance: I knew you were somebody.
I thought you were Bucky Dent, referring to the Yankee, who hit the famous home run ending the Red Sox chance at a pennant in 1977.
I have been a big fan of his ever since.
I was spending my last night of a two-week vacation at the Pink Hotel, the famous Don Cesar in St. Petersburg Beach.
My wife and I have been there 35 times over the years.
I got a phone message that said Bob Costas had called and I was to meet him in the lobby at 9:00 PM.
I was puzzled by the message but at dinner I spied basketball’s Dick Vitale’s loudly, what else, proclaiming that he was to be a guest on Coast to Coast with Costas.
Yes that was it, Bob wanted me to guest for a few minutes on his show.
I go down to the lobby with a couple of my kids and wait for him.
About 8:45 his entourage comes in and I ask Bob:
How can I help you? He replied: Oh, I have every thing under control!
Well, how did you know I was in Florida? I didn’t, was his reply.
Then why did you leave the message? What message, he stated.
I quietly slinked away in red-faced embarrassment.
Lou Pinella, then the Cincinnati Reds manager came in to be the other guest with Vitale.
I went up to my room to get my camera.
The phone rang. It was my good friend, Terry Burke, the dentist, who said, Did you get my note?
I was told it was from Costas.
I said that because I didn’t think you would come.
I threatened to ruin his practice, sell his family into slavery, extract his teeth with a box cutter, and so on.
I then went down to try to explain. I got down on a knee and whispered this sordid tale to Randi Costas, with the faint hope that her husband wouldn’t think I was a real jerk.
The next morning, my nine-year old son, Matthew comes down to the lobby as I am checking out and tells me: Bob Costas just called.
What!!! I am not falling for that again!
No really, he said he’d call back.
Back in the room, my phone rings.
It IS Bob Costas.
I explain the story and he listens passively.
I told him I thought it was not out of the realm of reality to think you might want me to be on the show.
He gave a silent no.
I had met Terry on the beach years before, after the Holy Cross football coach Rick Carter had committed suicide.
He had played for him at a small school in Ohio and we commiserated. I had told him I knew Costas and I guess I set myself up.
Burke was the guy who first called me after my picture was in Sports Illustrated in 1987. He told me the picture was an exact likeness of me.
When I saw it the next day, I was angry as hell.
I looked like a demented dwarf.
Why did they use that picture?
The freelance photographer had taken 297 picture in a three-hour shoot.
The one they used was on the last role.
I had no glasses on…I had a bat draped over my weary shoulders that were all slumped down and I could hardly smile.
Try smiling 300 times in a three-hour period.
To this day, my left cheek spasms when I try to smile for a picture.
In 1997, I received the James Hartnett Award from Birthright of St. Louis.
Not only had Monsignor Hartnett baptized my son, Matthew, more importantly, he introduced me to Stan Musial.
I remember the date.
It was a Saturday evening, September 6th, which was my birthday.
What a party—700 of my closest friends.
On the day of the dinner, held at the Ritz, I took my New York cousins, who had flown in for the dinner, down the block to see the Costas residence.
He lived in a large brick home in an exclusive section of Town and Country.
I used to drive by it all the time.
Sometimes I would enter the neighborhood and drive through it.
I did that so many times, they put up a gate!
When we arrived, for some reason the gate was open.
With a nod of the head, the cousins directed me to drive in.
Just as we approached the gate, it started to close.
I quickly veered to the left. He saw us, I yelled.
Early that evening, I voiced the wish that Bob’s wife Randi was a member of birthright, so he would be at my dinner.
To my knowledge he had never been to one of their annual dinners.
To my surprise as I mingled with the crowd, who should be leaning against a wall, holding court and answering his mail but Bob Costas.
It seems that his wife wanted him to come.
We talk for a while and I realize that he is clueless as to my being the honoree.
I don’t tell him.
We part and I go about my business. Well, they introduce me, I give a short speech, which they actually listened to.
Past honorees have had their thoughts drowned out by the less than respectful throng.
I had urged my cousin Ritchie, a customs official at Kennedy Airport, who packs heat to put a round through the chandelier to get their attention but he did not have to do that.
After I got back to my table, Costas rushes over and apologized for not recognizing me as the guest of honor.
He was so polite and suppliant, I almost cried.
I told him, I was just fooling with him.
I told he had I known he were coming to this dinner on the 20th at Holy Cross.
But was scheduled to speak at the President’s Council meeting of which I am a member. He said the 27th.
He owed the president of his network, Bob Wright, Holy Cross, Class a of 1965—my class—a favor.
Every time what I think contradicts Bob Costas, I immediately think I am wrong.
Costas is the kind of guy who could tell me, my head was on backwards, and I would check in the mirror.
Well, it really was the 20th.
Was I having a good time night!
We later ran into him after the dinner in the lounge and I told him about his gate.
He said the pizza boy could get into their neighborhood with ease.
Now he tells me!
The eminent economist and columnist, Thomas Sowell likes to publish a series of what he calls, his random thoughts.
He does this presumably when he can’t think of anything else to write about or maybe has an idea for one that does not have the necessary legs to warrant 500-1000 words.
I am going to try that myself and see if it works for me.
What you will read below are just a collection of thoughts that I have had, or stories I have told or even experiences that have enriched my life with humor, insight and maybe an epiphany or two.
In this case they usual relate to famous people I have met in St. Louis.
I am privileged to have known one of America’s greatest legends, Stan the Man Musial, who delighted St. Louis fans for twenty-three seasons while a member of the Cardinals.
Stan had come to a couple of my St. Louis Browns affairs.
His former American League rivals loved to be around such a great Hall of Famer and truly marvelous human being.
He loves to play the harmonica. His hair is getting thinner on top, but longer in the back because he says: I am a musician!
At one of our BFC dinners, I noticed that when he plays the harmonica, he closes his eyes.
I said Stan I bet there are a thousand National League pitchers who wished you had closed your eyes when you hit.
For years, I kept running into Stan, especially at Annunziata Catholic Church, where we both attend.
And I had seen him in Florida on the beach and many other places.
At a party once, he called me over to him and asked, Who are you?
I tell him and the next day at Mass we run into each other and he says How you doing Bob?
Another time I had messed up our reservations for the Archbishop’s luncheon and so I was voted the odd man out.
I had to go sit in the back at an open table. Who happened to be sitting next to me but Stan and Lil.
I proceeded to regale them all about me and Lil said that I reminded her of sportswriter Bob Broeg, who talks and writes in 1000-word essays.
That was a conversation-stopper.
Many years ago, Stan was coming out of Annunziata and I was dragging my then three-year old son, Matthew, who was being as stubborn as a Missouri mule who forgot to take his Prozac.
Just at the exact instant I jerked the kid forward, Stan took his rolled up Catholic newspaper and started to swat Matt in the back of the head.
This was easy grounds for child abuse today!
I couldn’t believe the Man, who could hit a 95-an-hour fastball out of the park but whiffed at a melon-sized head of a three-year old.
Stan was born on November 21, 1920, the same year as Pope John Paul II, the second most famous Pole in St. Louis.
He goes faithfully to Mass every week.
His wife Lil had been in a wheelchair for many years. She just passed away earlier this year.
Stan used to wheel her out and get her in the car and then fold up the chair.
He did this, even with bad knees for many years, such was his true greatness.
Sainthood doesn’t happen on a baseball field but in the parking lot, the kitchen and any other place a husband can help his ill wife.
One Sunday a friend rushed up to me and showed me an autographed baseball that Stan had just given him for helping with her chair.
I was a bit jealous to say the least.
A few months later I noticed that no one was helping Stan put the chair in his car after the 5:00 Mass on Saturday.
As I rushed over to assist, two other people did as well.
He told me that he gave balls for helping. I said innocently: No, I didn’t know that! Well he gave us each an autographed ball.
But I was the one who folded the chair. I was the one who lifted it and put it in the truck but he still gave each one of us an autographed ball.
I looked at mine and said to him: Stan this says ‘Red Schoendienst’? He paused for just a second and then smiled because I had tweaked him…or is it tweet?
** Speaking of kids and coming out of Church, I am always careful not to step on one because it is so difficult to scrap them off the soles of your shoes when you do.
I have been in the St. Louis Cardinals press box maybe twenty times because of my baseball publications and historical interest.
I used to ask maybe twice a year.
As long as I did not push it the Cardinals, always complied.
I am sitting at a table with Hall of Famers, Ralph Kiner, then the announcer for the Mets and my alter ego, Post-Dispatch columnist, Bob Broeg.
In comes Hall of Fame broadcaster, Jack Buck.
Now I had met him before and he had actually interviewed me in his broadcast booth three separate times in the 1970s.
But like a lot of people, he does not seem to have a clue who I am or what I do.
My family is the same way.
He looks at me and said, What are you doing here?
I did not really know how to answer that question.
Some years later–it was in 1989, I had just taken Matthew to Super Bowl XXIII.
If you ever see the highlights from that exciting game, the winning TD was scored just in front of my seats in the 22nd row and if you look quickly I am in one of the 13 different camera shots.
On the return trip, we were sitting in first class.
(Actually I was in first class. They had messed up the return tickets and I bribed Matthew to sit in coach because the seat was right next to Jack Buck.)
After take-off, I truthfully told Jack that this was the first Super Bowl game I had ever seen in person.
He looked at me and said, Oh, I thought you would have been covering them. Who does he think I am!
Years later, the year of the replacement players, my wife and I are returning to our then favorite hotel, the Don Cesar in St. Petersburg Beach, Florida, one night.
We have been going there every year for thirty-five years.
I see Jack Buck sitting in his blue Lincoln outside the side entrance.
I look at him and he motions me over.
We talk for a few minutes about the unique situation in baseball and he asks me: What are you doing here?
I say, I am staying here!
Really…You must be doing better than I am was his response.
I say: I guess I am.
Jack was a great guy but he really gave me an identity complex.
Who did he think I am?
During my annual office visit to see my eye doctor last November, I found out that I am officially color blind.
Now this should not have surprised me because my wife has been telling me that for 46 years.
Now I can believe her.
As a nation color-blindness has served as a suitable metaphor for a people hell-bent on creating as much racial diversity as its seams will hold.
I think there is another application for this metaphor that bodes poorly for the entire country, black, white, Indian and oriental.
I am talking about the color green which happens to be at the root of my own eye dysfunction.
Really it is different shades that throw me but clinically I have a blue/green problem that afflicts 8% of the white male population.
But I digress.
Green is now the color of saving the planet by reducing our carbon footprints.
That is a $64,000 idiom!
Big Green is literally everywhere–hotels, spas, government building and so on.
In our schools millions of children are being made to feel guilty for living on this planet and using the modern technology of their generation.
A new generation of Luddites is telling them to get used to living with much less in comforts for the good of the race.
The Luddites were a social movement of 19th-century English textile artisans who protested—often by destroying mechanized looms—against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution, that replaced them with less-skilled, low-wage labor, and which they felt were leaving them without work and changing their way of life.
Implicit in these teachings is the fact that they believe the planet would be better off with about five and half billion fewer people.
That includes virtually everybody but themselves who need to survive so they can enjoy pure air and water, presumably in their caves.
My bank darkens one half of its corridor so that it can save a few dollars in electricity and leave its customers groping in the near dark.
But now they cane say they are green!
I now think that most Americans are not green for their attempts to save the planet but playing into the hands of the browns and I don’t mean my beloved St. Louis Browns.
Personally, I do not think there is a more fanatical group of people in this country than the main players in the environmental movement.
They make Hamas, the Klan, and the Black Panthers seem like groups of boy scouts at a busy corner in Manhattan with several old ladies trying to cross the street.
And there is no greater fanatic than our president, Barack Obama.
He has been dancing and even singing to their tune most of his political career.
He is not only the first mulatto to serve as president but the first green man to serve.
Could he have really been born in Mars and not Kenya or Hawaii?
Where is Donald Trump when you really need him?
Stephen Moore writes for the Wall Street Journal and is a panelist on Fox News.
He recently describe his three days of horror in Washington, D. C. after a series of storms caused millions to suffer in the heat without air-conditioning.
He realized just how dependent Americans are on our creature comforts, especially in extreme weather.
He called electrical power, the central nervous system of our modern economy and our 21st century lifestyles.
He felt like he was living in a pre-Industrial Age by not having electricity or over a week.
He also noted that our way of life is under a fierce assault from these self-appointed gate-keepers of the planet’s future.
While Mother Nature caused Moore’s nightmare, he is convinced that the color brown, in the form of brown-outs will be the wave of our future if Obama and his henchmen in the Environmental Protection Agency.
Sweltering in the dark to him was a dark glimpse into America’s future if the greens have their way.
The EPA has to rank, not only as one of the most nefarious government organizations but probably as one of the most dangerous oxymorons in the English language.
There is no kind of fuel that they approve.
Our green president has slammed the brakes on coal production.
This cheap and domestically abundant source of power is getting cleaner by the minute.
One of his unofficial czars, the notorious James Hansen at NASA had the effrontery to liken trains, carrying coal to German death trains that transported the Jews to Nazi concentration camps for extermination.
What a blatant abuse of historical reference that is.
I think Obama would enjoy seeing all of them go the way of the widget and buggy whip makers.
Natural gas is also on the Obama hit list.
It ranks as our second most efficient source of electrical energy and thanks to the technological miracles of hydraulic fracturing we have hundreds of years of this clean-burning fuel that even reduces green house gases…as if that were a necessary thing.
But another extreme group, the Sierra Club is vowed to shut down natural gas.
It goes without saying that Big Green hates the oil and nuclear industries as well.
That’s why millions of barrels of untapped oil still rests, untouched and unapproachable thanks to the antiquated policies of the Obama administration, which is politically and morally beholden to this pack of environmental zombies.
And forget about nuclear reactors.
Every time they are included in the argument, we only hear a few words from the greens–Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.
The former is the only significant accident in 35 years in the nuclear industry and the later happened in Ukraine in 1986.
Maybe someone should ask them, how are we supposed to live without any electrical energy?
Perhaps they are all former Boy Scouts and can teach us how to rub two sticks together.
But that would be a waste of wood and a possible fire hazard.
The EPA would have to shut us down.
I think people who color themselves greens are really browns, who want our electrical grid to collapse and so what if the collateral damage is thousands and thousands of dead people.
What do they care if millions of Americans die prematurely.
It will serve them right as a matter of social justice that they die because it is because of their size 52 carbon footprints that their earth is in jeopardy.
As for my own clinical color-blindness, I found that if I had tried to enlist in the Air Force, in 1965 I would have been disqualified but I would have been sent to the Vietnam frontlines because I could see through camouflage.
I think we should all take off all our color-blinders and see through the false color coding and see them for their true color.
Harry Hopkins was probably Franklin Roosevelt’s closest advisor.
Some historians have even called him FDR’s Deputy President.
Hopkins had a great love affair with the Soviet Union.
He was largely responsibly for the president’s deep affection for their way of government and political control.
The Venona Dispatches, which exposed the secret dealings of the collapsed Soviet Union after 1991, revealed that Hopkins, while not a full-fledged spy was much closer to the Soviet Union than a mere fellow traveler.
My father used to quote him at length.
He advised all Democrats to tax and tax, spend and spend and elect and elect.
This formula has been the hidden mantra of the Democratic Party ever since.
And it has worked…unlike most of their wasteful policies for over 70 years.
As Ronald Reagan said to Jimmy Carter, there you go again.
President Obama, in the true discipleship of his legendary mentor, has done it again and plans to do it again and again and again.
When will the American people finally tire of this political deception that has for the first time written our national demise and economic collapse on the walls for everyone to see?
But do we have the eyes to see?
While Justice John Roberts nuanced decision has not set well with many conservatives, I think it might eventually work out to be very beneficial, not only for Republicans across the board, but more importantly for the nation’s future.
In his own cautious and perhaps self-contradictory way, the Chief Justice may have opened the door for a Republican victory in November.
Former Clinton advisor, Dick Morris said on Fox News the other night that Obama won the battle but will lose the war thanks to the National Federation of Independent Business vs. Sebelius.
I think and hope he is right.
Now Obama has to defend his odious, unpopular, forced and bribed legislation before the electorate this coming summer and fall.
Right now he doesn’t even mention it…supposedly his biggest political accomplishment, next to fooling the American voters.
His scripted factota dance around the subject of new taxes, like Baryshnikov and Nureyev on speed.
Now that ObmaCare is the sanctioned law of the land, not under the expansive Commerce Clause but under its power to tax and tax…spend and spend…Obama has effectively raised the taxes on millions of middle class Americans.
But this tax increase will not be felt by the top 1% of Americans but by the young, the middle class, the poor because those are the people who can’t afford insurance or don’t think they need it.
And they will be joined by millions more when businesses realize–many already have–that it will be cheaper to pay the tax than pay for employee health care.
Then these employees will have to buy their own insurance.
Of course Obama can still give his notorious exemptions–over a 1000 to everyone but the Catholic Church.
He can also subsidize them as he is wont to do with billions from the empty treasury.
His legacy for future generations will be his big fat I.O.U. for several trillions more in government debt.
Like most of our lives, this president continues to make a mess of things.
And by the way, I took a leaf from the pages of George Stephanopoulos and looked up the basic definition of a tax, which reads—a compulsory levy on a person, business or property.
Under that definition the ObamaCare’s fines can easily be construed as new taxes.
Why wise has Obama already hired 18,000 new IRS agents to implement this huge tax?
And why will all taxpayers have to submit detailed information about how much each member of a household earns, how much insurance the household has?
Why does the government want to know what the premiums are, the availability of employer health plans and several more items that will create a new nightmare for the ordinary taxpayer?
However this levy on people for not buying insurance is admittedly strange and unique.
Admittedly, the Chief Justice had to nearly fold, staple, and mutilate the Constitution’s language and procedure to call it a tax.
Maybe one could call it a negative excise tax.
But nonetheless it walks like a tax…quacks like a tax…so it must be a…tax!
In fact ObamaCare can now be called the ObamaCare Tax Bill since it includes 21 addition hidden taxes that include visits to tanning spas, over-the-counter medications, a new withholding tax from paychecks, and a surtax on investment income that when coupled with the virtual repeal of the Busch tax cuts will raise investment income to 43% from its current 15%.
Just think what all these new taxes will do to our already weakened economy, job creation and not to mention thousands of pension funds that are already underfunded.
Taxes have been inimical to the American people since the days of Benjamin Franklin and James Madison.
Didn’t Obama say that he would not raise taxes one dime on anyone, making less than $200,000?
Is that not the Democratic equivalent to George H. W.’s Read my lips, no more new taxes, a pledge he broke?
Didn’t that violation of the public trust hand the election to Bill Clinton in 1992?
It was another more famous Supreme Court Justice who wrote in McCulloch v. Maryland in 1819, the power to tax involves the power to destroy.
Failure to believe this is an invitation for destitution and maybe even prison.
Franklin said in 1789 after the ratification of the U. S. Constitution that Yes we have a Republic.
Let’s see if we can keep it!
The most prophetic words from Justice Roberts’ majority opinion was that in effect it was not within the Court’s pay scale to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.
So the ball is in the electorate’s court and it is our job to eliminate one of the most atrocious bills ever forced on the American people…one marred by legislative bribery and presidential deception.
This election, the most important in American history since 1860 is our chance to throw the rascals out and restore a semblance of good, fair and decent government.
The choice is our–taxes or prosperity–tyranny or freedom!
And when the people finally speak loudly and clearly…hopefully they will repeal 70 years of New Deal falsehood, along with ObamaCare and with it the Nanny State that has gradually cooked the American frog.