If Mike Bush were one of the St. Louis athletes he covers, he'd already have retired to the golf course and sports-banquet circuit: He's been with us that long. When St. Louis first heard Bush elongating the word "deep" on his signature home-run call, Jack Clark was the Cardinals' slugger, 35 long balls in spacious Busch Stadium seemed an outrageous accomplishment and Mark McGwire had yet to play a major-league game. When Bush arrived in town 16 years ago from Kansas City, Bill Bidwill, not Georgia Frontiere, was the owner of the local football team, and St. Louis hadn't managed to win (or even host) an NFL playoff game, much less a Super Bowl. The Blues were still playing at the Arena (or was it the Checkerdome?) and failing to advance to the Stanley Cup finals (well, some things never change). That longevity -- a rarity in TV news outside St. Louis -- is both blessing and curse: As with any significant relationship, we've perhaps begun to take Mike Bush for granted. We shouldn't. Bush not only serves up a well-produced sports segment a few times most evenings -- with well-chosen highlights and velvet-smooth delivery -- he does so with agreeable humor and real wit. And when he's allowed to stretch beyond the newscast's confines on Sports Plus
-- the best of the local Sunday-night sports shows -- Bush is especially fine, efficiently reporting the day's events but also incorporating interesting reports from other contributors, recruiting top-flight players and commentators as guests and conducting surprisingly substantive interviews. Bush league, in his case, is anything but an insult.