SOLOMON: Dream Team For a Media All-Star Game
Renowned baseball players took the field recently for another All-Star game. It's a major-league spectacle that happens with much fanfare every summer. But what would a team of media All-Stars look like?Here are some possibilities:STARTING PITCHER: Cokie RobertsTossing a classic mix of curveballs and changeups, Roberts can baffle anyone with more than a superficial knowledge of American history. Her delivery, like her wisdom, is utterly conventional.RELIEVER: Christopher MatthewsThe host of the "Hardball" program on a cable TV network, Matthews now makes frequent use of the spitter when the wind is at his back. Formerly a nominal lefty, he is now proudly ambidextrous.CLOSER: George WillThis hurler has cultivated an elaborate windup. Yet he can also throw a mean fastball from a stretch position. Will specializes in wide curves that nick the right edge of the plate. Catchers dread handling his knuckler -- and sometimes get embarrassed when Will argues that even his wild pitches are strikes. If riled, he resorts to the beanball.LEADOFF BATTER: Jim LehrerHis lackadaisical "NewsHour" style belies the fact that Lehrer is adept at the well-placed bunt and beats many throws from across the diamond. Boosted by multi-year endorsement contracts from the agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland, he's an excellent corporate-team player.CLEANUP BATTER: Dan RatherOff at the crack of a bat, Rather can stretch a cliche into a stand-up triple. He often hits line drives up the middle.DESIGNATED HITTER: Patrick BuchananKnown as a "Ty Cobb wannabe" for his flashing spikes and surly manner, this slugger always swings for the fences. Crouched far to the right side of the plate, Buchanan doesn't seem to mind that he rarely connects. Dugout mates say Buchanan complains that batting was much more enjoyable before the days of Roy Campanella.CENTER FIELDER: Barbara WaltersThis consummate pro has decades of experience playing shallow center field. While she defends her turf in the sunny outfield, observers have become heavy-lidded to the point of somnolence.LEFT FIELDER: Michael KinsleyAffable and almost erudite, Kinsley has the unfortunate habit of roaming the middle of the outfield for most of each game, thus leaving vast expanses vacant. Some fans swear that he has never come near the left-field line, even to snag a simple pop-up.RIGHT FIELDER: Rush LimbaughLimbaugh, who likes to hug the right-field line, boasts of many putouts in foul territory. However, he is rued by umpires, who find him abusive and prone to hallucinations.SHORTSTOP: David GergenAt bat, Gergen is a deft switch hitter. Wearing a mitt, he's a fast man in the pivot -- able to pull off a double play with dazzling agility that makes all his maneuvering look easy. Fans marvel that he always seems to land on his feet.CATCHER: Mike WallaceThis seasoned receiver knows how to call the signals without antagonizing the management.PINCH HITTER: Katie CouricNice and savvy enough to be safe when it counts, Couric makes every "Today" look professional, even when sliding around without purpose.MANAGER: Bill GatesIf winning is the bottom line and sharing can be understood as market share, then Gates is a great guy to run the team.BAT BOY: John JournalistBAT GIRL: Jane JournalistTEAM MASCOT: Merrill LynchTEAM OWNER: Rupert MurdochHe has a reputation as a foxy mogul with plenty of acumen. But some players grumble that Murdoch's team is weakened by his refusal to allow southpaws on the mound.STADIUM:TimeWarnerDisneyWestinghouseSonyAT&TViacomNewsCorp Park The media All-Stars wouldn't think of playing the game anywhere else.