A PHONE CALL FROM THE PRESIDENT
Ronald Reagan, that old baseball play-by-play man, has the reputation of being an enthusiastic sports fan. But the President has had trouble lately handling the names of some of the nation's athletic heroes. For example, while hosting the NBA champion Boston Celtics at the White House last week, he butchered the names of three ex-Celtic greats, Tom Heinsohn, John Havlicek and Dave Cowens, referring to them as "Hein-shown," "Havizlak" and "Coevens," respectively.
Reagan's difficulty with names was also evident during preparations for the congratulatory phone call he made to the Los Angeles Raiders' locker room following their 38-9 win over the Redskins in January's Super Bowl in Tampa. Reagan spoke to Raider coach Tom Flores after being briefed by White House aides and CBS-TV staffers. The exchange was captured on tape as follows:
Male voice (to Reagan): O.K.? O.K. They hear you fine. It will be a few minutes, O.K.
Reagan: It's Joe Flores, isn't it? Joe...yeah.
Two voices (in unison): No.... Tom. It's Tom.
Reagan: Tom Flores. Tom Flores. Joe Gibbs.
Voice over monitor. Mr. President, Mr. President? This is Tampa Bay. Do you hear us?
Monitor: Thank you very much. We will inform you before you go on the air, sir.