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Pressed into service

Media out in force for this showdown

The game-by-game story of how this Red Sox-Cardinals World Series matchup plays itself out is going to add a new chapter to Sox history. However, we'll also be keeping an eye on one of the lesser stories that will reflect the big news from the Series.

First, though, here's pretty much what you need to know about the TV and radio part going in:

All World Series games will be on Fox (Channel 25), starting tonight at 7:30 with the first pitch shortly after 8:05. The broadcasters are Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, two guys who cherish their St. Louis ties.

The games will be available in high definition. Locally, Channel 25 and NESN will be doing pre- and postgame shows and everyone's news coverage will, in effect, be a pregame show, pending other major news stories. Fox, NESN, Fox Sports New England, CN8, and virtually all other local stations will do postgame coverage and reports from the scene. The event is big enough that there will be all sorts of newsroom folks assigned to the media throng, including ESPN's "Baseball Tonight," with Boston native and host Karl Ravech, John Kruk, Peter Gammons, and Harold Reynolds.

Buck, son of legendary St. Louis broadcaster Jack Buck, has been calling at least a portion of Cardinals regular-season games since 1991. McCarver played the first 10 seasons in a 21-year major league career with the Cardinals, including their 1967 World Series win over the Red Sox.

"I don't tuck myself into bed with my Cardinals PJ's on," said Buck. "The most important thing is to be balanced, and I take pride in that."

Buck has said all along that he considers the Red Sox the most dangerous team in the postseason mix.

"And I still feel that way," he said Thursday. "They're the most complete team I've seen since Tim and I started this postseason run with Fox back in 1996. As much as what the Red Sox put on the field, they have as much going off it. The team -- and Red Sox Nation -- have to feel this really is their year. When you're down, three games to none, and losing to the Yankees in Game 4 with Mariano Rivera on the mound and then come back to win . . . well Curt Schilling's good friends, aura and mystique, have something to do with it."

On radio, Sox flagship WEEI (850-AM) basically will be all-Sox-all-the-time except for regular Patriots shows. Today and tomorrow, the station will begin broadcasting live from Fenway Park at 1 p.m. and add expanded pre- and postgame shows throughout the Series. Ted Sarandis will broadcast live following Games 1 and 2 until 3 a.m., and go all night for all games after that.

That bit of business aside, the real suspense about the upcoming 10 days is how this unfinished Schilling story is going to play out. No, not the one about his ankle. There are plenty of folks on the news, sports, and medical staffs to write about that.

The interest here is in the story he's been writing with the commercials, notably for the New England Ford Dealers. The plotline: Before the season, Schilling was hitchhiking from Arizona to Boston. Standing in the desert, he turned down rides in other manufacturers' pickups, finally accepting one in a new Ford F-150. He told the driver he was headed to Boston to break a curse.

Well, what about a sequel?

Schilling's agent, Katie Leighton, contacted this week, said only that he'd spent a day filming the original commercial last winter.

Not surprisingly, our New England Ford Dealers spokesman, Hal Dewsnap, would only say sequels "sounded like a good idea."

Good enough that one already has aired. During Wednesday night's Game 7, an updated commercial ran.

It was Schilling, from Boston.

"Last spring, I came to Boston with a mission. I trained hard, and showed I was built tough [like an F-150]."

The voiceover then announced the results. "10 . . . 15 . . . 20 . . . and a major league-leading 21 wins."

"Keep on believing," said Schilling. "Never lose the faith." We'll just have to see how it plays out.

All angles covered
Fox pregame host Jeanne Zelasko and studio analyst Kevin Kennedy will do pre- and postgame interviews and features from the game site each night. Both also will serve as in-game reporters along with Chris Myers . . . Kennedy has obvious Sox ties (he managed the team in 1995 and 1996) . . . Fox will have 25 game cameras for each telecast, including "Diamond Cams" in the dirt in front of home plate, plus 80 microphones at each park. On radio, the rest of the country will hear games on ESPN with Jon Miller and Joe Morgan. In Boston, the airwaves will be the same as during the LCS. Sox voices Joe Castiglione and Jerry Trupiano will do an hourlong pregame as well as participate in expanded postgame coverage . . . WEEI will take all its daily shows -- "Dennis and Callahan", "Dale and Neumy", and "The Big Show" -- on the road to broadcast from St. Louis next week . . . Did you notice whom the Cardinals rolled out to sing "God Bless America" during Thursday night's Game 7 of the NLCS? Nobody. The 52,140 at Busch Stadium (the name will remain the same when the new park opens in 2006) did the job themselves, then applauded . . . Of the Sox, Buck marveled: "All 25 guys on the roster had an active role in the ALCS, including Dave Roberts, who I guess to be the 25th guy. He traveled the most important 90 feet in stealing second." . . . Of the Cardinals fandom, Buck said, "Being Jack's son, I grew up knowing the power of the team's radio network and what it meant to the western part of the country before the Dodgers and Giants moved west. I liken St. Louis to being the Green Bay of Major League Baseball. It's not as small as Green Bay, but it's a franchise with great tradition and national appeal. The uniform carries a lot of class and respect and the fans appreciate good baseball, whether it's by the Cardinals or opposition." . . . Channel 25 delivered a 14.4 rating (23 share) in the Boston market for the Cardinals' 5-2 victory over Houston in Thursday night's Game 7. The local number was right in line with the overnight 14.4 (21 share) from the 55 metered Nielsen markets . . . WWZN (1510-AM) will be sending morning flash co-host Kevin Winter on the road for sound bites and to participate in programming from St. Louis. And GM Mike Winn, following the station's "all hands on deck" credo, will host shows after every game.
Bill Griffith's e-mail address is

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