UBIQUITOUS? ME?

SPORTS Call him Kilroy. Call him Rainbow Head. Maybe even a verse from the Gospel of John. Some say that whenever a camera is on, so is TOM BAILEY, sportS editor of KNON radio. The problem is, Bailey isn’t always wanted in the shot.

“One day we were looking at some footage, and my cameraman says, ’Bailey is always there,’” explains a local sports reporter for one of the major stations, “And then I started to notice. Even if you look at live events, like when ESPN is in town, Bailey is always in the background.”

It’s true. At one station, they call him “3:16.” for “John 3:16.” the ubiquitous Biblical message that is thrust into the camera’s eye at just about every televised sporting event.

“1 have never intentionally tried to position myself in someone’s shot,” responds Bailey, who has been on the local sports scene for many years. Bailey knows, however, that he’s a familiar sight, and offers two explanations.

First: “I don’t like to be stretching when I do an interview because I don’t get good sound quality. So I like to be up front.” Second: “I get in there early and gel set, so I will sometimes end up in someone else’s shot. It is simply the result of being an aggressive reporter. If I’m on the scene. I’m on the scene.”

While Bailey denies any egotistic intent, he can list several occasions in which he has found himself in the national spotlight, albeit in the background. The most famous is the 1989 HOOPS NBA All-Star Game Trophy card, where Bailey looks like an extension of Karl Malone’s elbow.

“I was talking to Malone’s mother and followed her onto the floor for the presentation,” he explains. “I didn’t even know I was on the card until some kid ran up to me and showed me one.”

Locally, Bailey’s reputation for inserting his lovable mug into the line of sight is growing. A few media types grumble, but very few seem to view the situation with any seriousness. Most find it funny.

“If you look closely at a picture of the blowing up of the Hindenburg,” offers one such observer, “you’ll see Tom Bailey’s face in the background.”

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