This just in: Ryan Howard will be on Late Show With David Letterman tonight. That's CBS3 at 11:35 p.m. The Big Piece will read Dave's Top 10 list -- "Top 10 Reasons to Watch the Baseball Playoffs" -- via satellite from Citizens Bank Park. Dave thought about having Charlie Manuel do it, but said he wasn't sure if Charlie could read. No he didn't. I said it, and it's a cheap joke, and we all love Charlie more than anything.
Sample reason to watch: "We just had the Phillie Phanatic clipped, wormed and neutered." Good thing Dave's not trying to make it to the World Series of comedy. Howard looks adorable in his civvies, with that $125 million smile.
Coverage of Game 1 of the National League Championship Series between the Phillies and the Giants, starts at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, and it should be a pitching duel for the ages, working-man Roy Halladay, who throws strikes that nobody can hit, vs. hippie Tim Lincecum, who throws balls that look like strikes that nobody can hit. Keep those bats on your shoulders, Phillies.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:57 p.m., early for post-season baseball, but still too late. The game's on Fox, not TBS, thank goodness, so we get Tim McCarver, even if we also have to put up with Joe "You're Not Your Father" Buck. "It's one of the most extraordinary matchups I've seen in my 52 years in the game," says McCarver of the Doc-Freak face-off.
Speaking of freaks, our own Wild Thing will be one of the presenters, as they say in the U.K., during the pre-game. Mitch Williams is a surprisingly good TV presence, and I never did blame him for that World Series gopher ball in '93. At least he helped us get to the series.
Ken Rosenthal, who covered the Phillies v. Reds NLDS series for MLB, is Fox's roving reporter for the NLCS, and isn't BB just the most acronym-crazy sport? He concurs with McCarver: "Perhaps the only matchup that could top [Halladay-Lincecum] would be Halladay vs. Cliff Lee - Phillies present and past - in the World Series.”
From your lips to God's ears, Ken.