Palmer hasn't lost knack for moving fielders, questioning umps

Phil Jackman

June 07, 1991|By Phil Jackman

The TV repairman: Say what you want about Jim Palmer as a broadcaster (and I have), but there are times when the guy shines through with his commentary. Same goes for tennis analyst Mary Carillo.

Palmer, you'll recall, used to spend quite a bit of time when he was pitching faced in the opposite direction, motioning his outfielders where they should be playing. It's enlightening to listen to him doing Orioles games these days, checking the O's defense and doing the same thing.

Just as important, though, is Jimbo commenting in no-holds-barred fashion as he did the other night when plate umpire Dale Ford was having such an erratic time during a Baltimore-Minnesota game. "Disgraceful" just about covered it.

Ditto Jon Miller, who, when he sees a play not up to big-league standards, isn't averse to pointing it out.

Carillo, doing the French Open on USA Network the last two weeks, shows rookie and veteran sportscasters alike how unnecessary it is to blab all the time. She speaks only when she has something worthwhile to say, like when too many players questioned too many line calls in Paris: "This is obnoxious. It takes an act of Congress to make a call. It shouldn't be that way."

* What does it tell you that the deciding game of the NBA semifinal series between the Lakers and Portland got an 11.8 rating in prime time while the opening game of the final between L.A. and Chicago did a 16.4 on a Sunday afternoon? Right, Michael Jordan could probably be elected president as everyone in Chicago votes five or six times, remember.

* How enthusiastic do you think Angelinoes will be dragging their weary bones out to the Forum Sunday for Game 4 of Michael vs. Magic (3 p.m., EDT)? Hey, man, that's beach volleyball time. Game 3 tonight (NBC, 9 p.m.) is no bargain either considering it's suppertime there.

* There are times when it is highly questionable, TV sticking its cameras into a dugout when it's highly predictable a negative reaction is in the offing. A guy loses a ballgame, as Gregg Olson did the other night against the Twins, and he figures to be upset.

Then there was the David Cone-Bud Harrelson confrontation in the Mets' dugout, which was seen around the world within an hour. It's fortunate cameras weren't as nosy years ago when, after striking out with the bases loaded in Detroit, Boog Powell returned to the dugout, caught a wise remark from the manager and promptly grabbed Earl Weaver by the throat and pinned him to the wall.

* "Get a good shot of this one, guys, it's a pretty hole," Jack Nicklaus advises ESPN cameramen as they shoot the course that's being used for the PGA Senior Tour Championship this weekend. Nicklaus, the heavy favorite to win, is the architect of the Michigan TPC layout, which could be construed as a conflict, I guess. ABC turns on the camera tomorrow at 1 p.m.

* CBS has the regular PGA stop again tomorrow (4 p.m.) and Sunday (1:30 p.m.), the Buick Classic being a worthy lead-in to next week's U.S. Open. Seve, Nick Faldo, just about everyone will be on hand save for Masters champ Ian Woosnam, who opted for appearance money back home.

* Sunday, beginning at noon, the WLAF World Bowl, Barcelona at London before about 70,000 in Wembley Stadium, should get a decent rating on ABC since there's not much opposing. Unless, of course, the French Open men's final on NBC stays interesting into its fourth hour. The women's final goes tomorrow at 3 p.m.

* Question is, why did it take so long for the PGA to drop instant replay as an aid in the enforcement of rules when the camera ends up covering only about 1 percent of what goes on during a typical tournament round?

* It's an educated guess that big-league hitters aren't enamored of the College World Series on ESPN, what with the plate umpires calling such a big (valid) strike zone. The final is tomorrow at 1 p.m. and the tourney has been a joy to watch because of the speed-up in play and the enthusiasm.

* Jimmy Connors says one of the reasons he, as a moonlighting tennis commentator, would like to play Wimbledon in a couple of weeks is "NBC would get good publicity out of it." Otherwise, DTC who would know this quaint little upstart tourney was being contested?

* When Katarina Witt signed on to be a figure skating commentator for CBS at the Winter Olympics next February, she said, "As someone who went to the last two Olympics [and won], I know a little bit about what goes on behind the scenes." Uh-huh, but when's the last time any ex-Olympic jock let the public in on what really goes on?

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