Television viewers usually don't bother to call network
executives unless they want to complain about something. So it
surprised Kevin Cattoor last summer when a number of viewers called
to tell the MSC vice president how much they enjoyed Bert Blyleven's
analysis on TV broadcasts of Twins games.
That audience response - and Blyleven's easygoing, fun style -
convinced Cattoor to elevate Blyleven from his fill-in roles of last
summer to a regular spot on the broadcast team. Blyleven recently
signed a two-year deal with MSC and will work about half the 1996
telecasts, splitting the season with fellow MSC analyst Tommy John.
Blyleven had little broadcast experience when he joined MSC's crew
last year, but his personality and history with the Twins made him
an immediate hit.
"He brings a lot of humor and wit to the broadcast, and his
knowledge of the game can't be questioned," Cattoor said. "Not only
is he an ex-Twin and someone viewers identify with, he goes back to
the Twins of the '60s, to guys like Killebrew and Oliva. We're very
excited to have him."
Blyleven, who played for the Twins from 1970-76 and 1985-88, is
traversing the Upper Midwest this week, visiting 11 cities with the
Twins Winter Caravan. Cattoor said Blyleven and John will work
together - sharing a three-man booth with play-by-play announcer
Dick Bremer - for the season opener and a handful of other games.
The network still has not signed a backup play-by-play announcer for
this season and is negotiating with Chad Hartman, who filled in for
Bremer last year.