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David Brown

Mr. October, Mr. MSNBC chat as Yankees count down to 1st pitch

Big League Stew

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Hey, Stewies! After a hiatus for a few days, I'm back stalking around spring training sites in sunny Florida. I ran out of postcard stamps, but K-Duck said to post anyway between Answer Man recon.

Legends Steinbrenner Field in Tampa is a great place to spot the stars, of course. You could (fist) bump into Yogi Berra, you could catch a glimpse of the (non-Springsteen) Boss in an elevator, or you could find Reginald Martinez Jackson hitting fungoes before a game.

Even better (or worse, if your political bent goes right) you could spot Mr. October chatting with the host of MSNBC's Countdown, Keith Olbermann, during batting practice.

Reggie, you might have heard of. Olbermann, the former ESPN SportsCenter co-host back in the Dan Patrick heyday, became more prominent during the past election cycle by anchoring his channel's coverage of all that led to the Barack Obama coronation.

More importantly, Olbermann is a huge baseball fan whose family has owned Yankees season tickets at least long enough for Chuck Knoblauch to do this to Olbermann's mother.

After the Jackson-Olbermann conversation broke up, I (naturally) went over to the Hall of Famer Olbermann and asked him about Reggie. Olbermann confirmed what I knew: sometimes, Reggie is a hard person to get to know.

Olbermann also recalled when he first passed muster with Jackson. It was about 1986, when Jackson would have been with the Angels (he must kill... the queen).

"I asked him if he considered himself baseball's blue-collar superstar," Olbermann said.

Reggie loved the question, apparently, because it was flattering and something he hadn't heard before. But it also opened a door for Olbermann.

"It got me into the circle of guys who could ask Reggie a question and not be ... back then, he didn't always have the time for us" in the media, Olbermann said.

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