He Writes a Book, He Broadcasts Games, He Raises Money for Charity, He Changes Lyrics

That Bob Costas guy really gets around

 Bob Costas is everywhere, and who can say a bad word against him, except maybe that, well, he's everywhere. This week he'll visit Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, Charlie Rose and maybe the Teletubbies to plug his book. But certainly Cardinal Glennon Memorial Hospital for Children won't squawk about the Bobster's omnipresence -- the 12th annual Bob Costas Gala, held Saturday night at the Fox Theatre, raised beaucoup bucks for the Bob Costas Cancer Center at Glennon. (While we're on that topic, what's taking so long for the construction at the hospital entrance? The pyramids in Egypt went up faster.) For Saturday's event, Costas welcomed comedian Jeff Cesario and the one-and-only Lyle Lovett. Bob introduced Lyle to the crowd, some members of which weren't familiar with him, by saying that trying to describe Lovett's music to the uninitiated was like telling a "blind man about a beautiful sunset." Oh, that Bob.

The Big Bopper did a little Q&A onstage with the Blues' Joel Quenneville and Chris Pronger and, later, with Rams QB Kurt Warner, who remains a regular guy and, yes, still believes in Jesus. Though the vertically coiffed Lovett may not at first glance seem to be a sports enthusiast, he fit in fine, having just performed at the Houston Astros' opening exhibition game in their new stadium, where he sang "The Star Spangled Banner," accompanied by a gawd-damn cello. On Saturday, Lovett played "Don't Touch My Hat," per Bob's request, and confessed he and the former voice of the Spirits of St. Louis had tinkered with the lyrics of "That's Right (You're Not from Texas)." Instead of the line "And those old folks from Missouri don't even know you're there," a reference to folks in Branson, Lyle sang this: "And those players from Missouri, they don't even know how to lose." Anything for charity. Lovett played with his not-quite-large band, minus horns and backup singers, but sounded fine nonetheless, though the set ended all too soon. Anyone lonely for Bob could tune in to the Lakers-Knicks game Sunday afternoon -- or Sports Sunday on KSDK that night, or KMOX-AM Tuesday morning -- or go out and buy his book, Fair Ball. There appears to be nowhere to turn for the rest of us.

BLUE-LIGHT SPECIAL: One of the surprise supporters of the Kmart solution to the Southtown Famous-Barr brouhaha -- and about the only one who spoke for it who wasn't on the payroll -- was the Rev. Mitch Doyen. Most thought Doyen, as a founder and former president of C-4, a church-based group that is one of the 20 groups in the Southtown Coalition, would side with the vocal neighborhood activists who oppose Kmart's building at the site. But no, the populist padre backs the plan to put a big box on the 11-acre site at the corner of Chippewa Street and Kingshighway. After the first hearing, Southtown Coalition point man Phil Klevorn cast the accusation that Doyen backed Kmart because the Sansone family, which controls the site, is a major donor to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis. "I hope Phil doesn't really believe that," Doyen says, denying that Archbishop Justin Rigali did, or would, lean on him in regard to this issue. "Even if he did, they think I would do that?" Doyen asks. "Couldn't it be that I'm just being honest about what I think, like I've always been, and this happens to be the way I see it?"

Doyen thinks the Kmart at Gravois Plaza will close anyway and predicts that site's owner, Kimco Realty, is "going to tear it down to the ground and start from scratch. That would be a place for more pedestrian-friendly, smaller stores." He also predicts that the Cincinnati developer pushed by the Southtown Coalition will want "the city to take the land back from the Sansones, give it to him and finance it with TIFs." Unlike the Kmart proposal, this would mean an expense for the city, even if it's done through eminent domain. If that happens, he says, "you're looking at three to five years down the road before anybody even puts a shovel in the ground."

ST. CHARLES GIVETH, AND ST. CHARLES TAKETH AWAY: All manner of City Hall dilettantes showed up Friday evening at the St. Louis Police Officers Association hall on Hampton Avenue to bid a fond adieu to Geraldine Osborn, whose last port of call was special assistant to Aldermanic President Francis Slay. The mock resolution posted on the wall, signed by every living alderman who served with Osborn during her 27 years in City Hall, referred to the longtime 15th Ward resident's impending move to, of all places, St. Charles. One alderman at the farewell soiree suggested that Osborn could be St. Charles' new representative on any realignment of the Lambert Airport Commission. One sign of the times is that Osborn's replacement on Slay's staff is Catherine Kolb, originally from St. Charles, who is an attorney specializing in tax and real-estate issues. So City Hall wrestles with change again as Osborn, the veteran City Hall politico who knows not only where the bodies are buried but who put them there, exits and is followed by a lawyer who knows the tax code and how a development deal is structured.

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