The TV Repairman: THE BASEBALL crowd got together to review the World Series video, compliments of the Orioles, yesterday, and the number in attendance when the lights went back on tells the story. The Hit and Run Club was nearly empty.
Bad. No, worse than that: embarrassingly bad. It seems as though the producer, Major League Promotions, took the worst of the tape the carrier, CBS, had laying around and spliced it. There is no story line. What little drama there was escaped the show, which runs longer than Cincinnati's sweep of Oakland.
The crowd shots, a CBS staple, are meaningless and far too numerous. At least 15 minutes is devoted to Cincy's opening game pitcher Jose Rijo and his pregnant wife (Juan Marichal's daughter), whom the Reds righthander has subsequently walked out on. Appalling that MLP didn't bother to rescript.
The words uttered by woefully miscast narrator Pat O'Brien are cliche-ridden beyond belief and the whole thing smacks of being prepared by a devout pro football fan. A segment of the O's soon-to-be-released highlight film and a stand-up routine by Jon Miller saved the day.
* The NBA All-Star Game hits NBC Sunday afternoon (1:30) after TNT has had its fun with the Legends Classic, Slam Dunk and three-point shootouts Saturday (7 p.m.). Bob Costas is calling the game, replacing Marv Albert, whose mother died this week.
Meanwhile, over on CBS and ABC, both of which stand in dire need of a shot in their college ratings, the No. 1 UNLV vs. No. 2 Arkansas showdown goes at noon, Duke and LSU jump it up at 2:30, and Arizona and UCLA do it at 4.
Hyping the first game, Jim Nantz of CBS says, "This is the first time I believe a college team [UNLV] could be competitive against the lower NBA teams." Jim, remember, is a heckuva golfer. The last time a college team could put a dent in the pros was 1948 when the Indianapolis Olympians (alias the Kentucky crew of Alex Groza, Ralph Beard, Wah-Wah Jones, etc.) went 18-42 in the NBA.
* Showtime cable has the Sugar Ray Leonard-Terry Norris fight from Madison Square Garden tomorrow (10 p.m.) with a pay-per-view type link. Order up the bout for a $10 fee and they'll toss in a free month of the premium channel.
* NBC analyst Bill Walsh bowed out of writing newspaper columns about the recent Super Bowl when the 49ers bowed out. Come on, cub, you can't do that.
* Here's something for college kids to look forward to in the second semester: Ex-Towson State and New York Giants punter Sean Landeta on the lecture circuit with a talk entitled, "Swinging Sober: The NFL's Most Eligible Bachelor's Guide to Romance, Fun and Safe Sex."
* From the success has its drawbacks department: Co-national champion Georgia Tech is moving its home football opener against Virginia to Thursday night (Sept. 19) to accommodate ESPN. The Jackets already are picking up $650,000 to play Penn State in the Kickoff Classic Aug. 28. Just two years ago, Tech was selling individual games to sponsors.
* Joe Montana, who seems to be on the tube more than Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings combined, says, "I try to take advantage of endorsement opportunities without becoming overly ridiculous. It's probably pretty close to that point right now." Yes.
* During the Home Team Sports telecast of the Capitals-Edmonton hockey game tonight (8:05), they'll cut away to a location in Greensboro, N.C., where a "Craig Laughlin Sound-A-Like Contest" is being conducted. Stay tuned for a "Laughlin Look-A-Like Haircut Contest."
* Promissory note from NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue: "The Super Bowl will not become a pay-per-view event . . . at least not in my lifetime."
* USA Network is doing two dozen World League of American Football games, starting March 23 with Montreal playing at Birmingham. Go you Alouettes! It will run games Saturday and Monday, leaving the weekend to Brent Musburger and Aaaaa, Bbbbb, Ccccc.
* Ben McDonald of the Orioles goes against Delino DeShields of Montreal in the Foot Locker Slam Fest Sunday between halves of the Arizona-UCLA game in ABC. Scoop! The kid flinger bows out.
* If you're hellbent on watching the Westminster Dog Show on MSG Network next Monday and Tuesday nights (8 p.m.), you can drive up into New Jersey and grab a motel room.
* Good grief, a TV station that listens to its customers. Fan interest (and calls) caused an Atlanta station to carry a recent ACC contest on four hours' notice.
* Assuming Jim Palmer isn't off somewhere winning 20 games, he'll be doing the Oriole games on Channel 2 again, serving as Jon Miller's analyst half the time and struggling with play-by-play the other half.