Costas lost me at “hello,” as he continued his personal crusade aganst Barry Bonds in the opening credits, declaring Bonds’ record breaking career “regrettable.” It only brought to mind Costas’ hypocritical support for Roger Clemens and the reminder that at heart, Costas is a well-informed fan boy and no journalist.

Still, Costas NOW’s Pete Rose / Jim Palmer face off on Hall of Fame eligibility is some Must See TV, as Rose still clings to the idea he never got a “second” chance when he’s really asking for … a fourth? Ken Rosenthal’s answer on Hall Of Fame voting also got me thinking, as Rosenthal does not rule out voting in juiced stars like Bonds and McGwire. Instead, he wants time to evaluate the standard should be. If it used to be 500 HRs, or hitting 60 in a season, what’s the standard when it comes to the needle users? 600? 70?

Loved seeing Bob Gibson talk to Wille Mays and Hank Aaron: Gibson’s explanation of why Mays calls him a “headhunter,” and Gibson’s shocked “Who Me?” look when he heard it, make up for tons of Costas. Gibson’s rationale that brushed-back batters jumping away often hit themselves in the head with their bat and only thought it was his pitch — is some hilarious Pete Rose-level lawyering, to say the least. Then Costas called Gibson “Gibby,” like he was one of tho brushed-back, and brought the show back to himself. The East Coast Media bias was put on trial at long last, when Costas’ bio pieces on Aaron and Mays included the fact that the ECM focused on Snider, Mays, and Mantle as the best centerfielders in the game to the exclusion of Aaron who played in Milwaukee. Recent postings will confirm that Rog has my back on this.

Finally, the discussion on the dwindling number of black players in baseball was news to me. If racism is keeping people back, I definitely want it changed. Then again, if the “problem” is that black athletes have other opportunities in the NBA and NFL, and choose other careers, I’m not sure that needs fixing. It’s MLB’s loss in talent, of course, but Costas never framed it that way, just as a PC marketing problem.

As for Cubkiller extraordinaire and former Harlem Globetrotter, Bob Gibson, I add this account of what facing him was like from The Hammer and Dusty Baker.

(Note: As a Globetrotter, Gibson often had to wear silly costumes like the above)

Cubs manager Dusty Baker wonders whether Roger Clemens would have been even more dominating back in the 1960s and ’70s when pitchers could throw inside and hit batters, which he feels helped Bob Gibson when he posted a 1.12 ERA in 1968. ”Guys could go inside on every pitch,” said Baker. ”They could hit you on every pitch if they wanted to. When I first came up, they’d assume you could hit the fastball so they’d see if you could hit the curveball. If you could hit the curve, they’d see if you could hit the slider. If you could hit the slider, they’d see if you could hit the changeup. If you could hit the changeup, they’d say, ‘OK, let’s see if you can hit on your back.’ ” Baker remembers advice from Hank Aaron about facing Gibson: ” ‘Don’t dig in against Bob Gibson, he’ll knock you down. Don’t stare at him. He doesn’t like it. If you happen to hit a home run, don’t run too slow, don’t run too fast. If you happen to want to celebrate, get in the tunnel first. And if he hits you, don’t charge the mound, because he’s a Gold Glove boxer.’ I’m like, ‘Damn, what about my 17-game hitting streak?’ That was the night it ended.”