'Greatest Moments' is must for any baseball fanatic

Phil Jackman

May 31, 1991|By Phil Jackman

The TV repairman:

If you're stuck for a Father's Day gift and the old gent is a baseball nut, you couldn't do better than "Baseball's Greatest Moments," a $20 tape available at Blockbuster Video.

A true fan can probably tick off 15 of the 20 moments covered, but they're done so expertly and with rare film footage, they're a joy to watch over and over: Babe, King Carl, Gehrig says goodbye, Mickey, Joe D., Mays, Larsen, Aaron, Maris, Rose, Ryan and Gibby. Oh my!

* When I watch the Portland Trail Blazers (Channel 2 willing) do I instantly think of the Detroit Lions and their flaw-ridden run-and-shoot offense?

* ABC's coverage of the Indy 500 last Sunday was lively and interesting until the green flag dropped for the start after a lengthy rain delay. It wasn't the net's fault there was very little interesting racing until the last 25 miles, but it's about time the director dropped the old standby of sticking cameras in the faces of the wives of the leaders as though it's the ultimate shot.

Also, something has to be done about the plethora of breathless and meaningless reports from the pits ("Paul, the Penske people say they're having trouble with the do-flicker for the whim-wham, so we'll watch that"), tiresome Bobby Unser and the mistaken theory that the race has anything to do with the ongoing development of the auto.

* What do you think, would Dick Enberg rather be in Paris readying for NBC's coverage of the French Open this weekend or sitting courtside watching basketball players stagger through their 100th game of the NBA's never-ending season?

While on the French, ESPN hit upon a gem during its daytime telecast Wednesday when Jimmy Connors, down a break in the fifth, came back to win. Now if someone would kindly inform host Barry Tompkins that making fun of foreign players' names is not even remotely amusing, we may proceed.

* CBS went all giddy yesterday announcing that Katarina Witt will be a figure skating analyst for the Winter Olympics in Albertville, France, next February. Ho-hum.

* Nervous Mike Fratello, who has a cushy job doing NBA hoops on NBC, continues to point out that no one has contacted him about getting back into coaching. Mike can rest assured it's not because prospective employers think he's doing a dynamite job sitting next to Marv Albert. When are the decision-makers at the networks going to get the idea that, at least half the time, ex-coaches are lousy communicators.

While on NBC's NBA work, I'm still trying to figure out what Bob Ferry brings to the pre-game show after lo these many months.

* Welcome to Al Campanis II: Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda was doing a phoner recently when, without informing his old buddy that the caller was conducting a live radio broadcast, he handed the phone to Campanis. Some of Al's language and offerings were as rank as his famed racist twaddle on ABC's "Nightline" and, soonest, it was time for a commercial. That's baseball humor, gang.

* HBO has the Terry Norris vs. Donald Curry and Meldrick Taylor vs. Luis Garcia boxing doubleheader tomorrow (10 p.m.), and both should be action fights . . . which will probably serve to get rid of the bad taste on the pallet caused by ABC dusting off a replay of the Mike Tyson-Razor Ruddock fiasco back in March on Wide World of Sports" in the afternoon (4:30). Bounced is the Hawaii Ironman, so crank out those letters, endurance sport buffs.

Whilst visiting the cauliflower patch, be advised Tommy Hearns, who's talking about a rematch with Marvin Hagler to give you some idea of his mental state, returns to the ring next Monday night in a pay-per-view test against Virgil Hill. Hopefully, the once lethal Hearns won't take too much of a thumping; just enough so he gets the idea to quit or boxing commissions everywhere retire him.

* Even less interesting than constant speculation concerning NBC pro hoops host Pat Riley taking the coaching job of the Knicks is up-to-the-second reports on ex-Giants coach Bill Parcells taking a pro football analyst's job with the same network. Come on, Peacock, this inter-office memo stuff should go no further than USA Today.

* The NBA Finals are being telecast in 73 countries on six continents. Antarctica said thanks but no thanks. Incidentally, the earliest the NBA ever determined a champion was April 7, 1956, when Philadelphia wiped out Charlie Eckman's Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons in five games. Ah, the good old days.

* Ready or not, here they come, the WLAF playoffs: New York/New Jersey (5-5) plays London Sunday (1 p.m., ABC) after Barcelona and Birmingham get it on tomorrow (8 p.m., USA). The winners do World Bowl I June 9, the victor visiting the White House shortly thereafter. Don't drink the water, guys.

* If Ken Levine could get rid of just one cliche per week, just one, he'd make a lot of Orioles game listeners deliriously happy.

* Wait just a moment! It's time for Arena Football again (Sunday, 7:30 p.m., Home Team Sports)?

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