SI Vault
Edited by Robert W. Creamer
March 28, 1977
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March 28, 1977


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The San Francisco Giants were the worst draw in the major leagues last season, and their performance on the field was generally dismal. This season's prospects don't look much better, but the Giants do have one distinction: Mayor George Moscone of San Francisco broadcasts their ball games. Well, he broadcast one ball game. All right, all right. Two and a half innings of one exhibition game.

The mayor, who had been an outstanding athlete in high school and college, popped over to Phoenix a couple of weekends ago to watch the Giants work out, and during a game between the Giants and the Chicago Cubs he was invited to sit in the broadcasting booth with announcer Lon Simmons. Once there, Moscone ended up doing the play-by-play for a few innings.

He wasn't bad, either, although Simmons had fun chiding him from time to time. Shaky at first, the mayor warmed to the task and soon was using such glib phrases as "that evens out the count" and "the score is even at zero." His big problem was lapsing into silence between pitches. During one such silence Simmons said, "George, you might sing or something between pitches. Or mention a lot of names. Maybe practice a speech." On one long foul ball, the only thing Moscone said was, "Ooooooh." Simmons said, "I'm afraid 'Ooooooh' just won't do it, George."

On the other hand, Moscone once kept talking straight through a station break. He also admitted, "Hey, it's hard to tell balls and strikes from up here." Simmons agreed but said with tongue in cheek that he had a special arrangement with the umpires, the man behind the plate raising his right arm to signal Lon if a pitch was a strike, not raising it if the pitch was a ball. Simmons also advised the mayor, who is having political problems in San Francisco (one opponent wants him to submit to a recall election), to be gentle in his comments on the umpires, because "One of them may move to San Francisco and become a voter."

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