Buck, McCarver needed to weed out regular-season roots

Phil Jackman

July 12, 1991|By Phil Jackman

The TV repairman:

The All-Star Game was a fine watch on CBS, but there was a mild annoyance regarding the wordsmiths, Jack Buck and Tim McCarver. It may surprise the duo to learn that the world does not await breathlessly every inconsequential tidbit they can relate about the teams they announce regularly for, the Cardinals and Mets.

Jim Kaat's exit interviews were excellent in that he asked interesting questions and didn't simply go with "Tell me what a thrill it is for you to be here." As host, Pat O'Brien did his usual (yawn) job. We boring you, Pat?

Pssst, CBS has a ballgame Sunday (3 p.m.), Yankees at Angels.

* The executives were nearly breathless as they announced the big doings. Yes, ABC and Raycom-Jefferson Pilot have agreed on a deal that, come next February, will see anywhere from 26 to 30 more college basketball games being dumped on the public. The addition brings the total to an even million, or close.

Actually, all the games would have been on anyway. But Raycom, which has the regional rights to eight conferences, is buying the time from the network, so some of the games will go out nationally -- better to soak advertisers, my dear.

Meanwhile, ABC dumps the production costs, gets work for its talent, Brent Musburger, Dick Vitale, Jim Valvano, and gives the impression to the NCAA that it maintains an interest in college hoops. And it doesn't have to do games in December and January, which spokesman David Downs said "is like beating heads against the wall" opposing pro football.

A lot of the games will be moved from Saturday, which should be a cause for great joy among fans, and the network won't even be around for the best part of the series, conference tournament championship weekend. ABC got a blah 3.0 rating with 18 telecasts last year and is only too happy to avoid competition with CBS on Saturday while cutting its telecasts number by seven.

* ABC has allotted just two hours (3:30-5:30 p.m.) to the final round of the Women's U.S. Open Sunday, so best the gals get on and get off promptly, else the network is apt to pull the plug. The women continue to have a justified beef with the nets, who wax about the importance of these USGA championships but are always guided by the bottom line. ESPN does the second round today (4 p.m.), then ABC fits it in between the Senior British Open (12:30 p.m.) and a Tour de France show (4:30) tomorrow.

* Some enterprising entrepreneur could come up with a terrific point-counterpoint show by simply getting Ted Williams and Jim Palmer on stage to espouse their views. During the All-Star pregame show the other night, Teddy Ballgame said, "I've always thought pitchers were the dumbest part of the ballclub." Conversely, Jimbo has long held it is only the continued stupidity of the hitters that has allowed pitchers to have long and illustrious careers.

* ESPN kicks off 30 hours of U.S. Olympic Festival coverage froLos Angeles tomorrow (4 p.m.) with figure skating and boxing featured. These two sports, gymnastics, track and field and hoops will dominate evening shows all next week. Barry Tompkins will host and, hopefully, he will resist the temptation to come on as the headliner of a comedy show.

* The problem arising from celebrity golf doing so well going against the Western Open last weekend is promoters and a network might misread the mild success and hit us with a series of these monuments to ragged, ha-ha-ha play. Surprisingly, I liked Bill Laimbeer even less on the golf course than on the basketball court.

* Maryland finally has its radio play-by-play man in place, now all it needs is some good teams to gloat over. Johnny Holliday, voice of Terps football and basketball the last decade or so, is back despite the Terps moving over to WRC from WMAL in Washington. WBAL remains the Baltimore carrier.

* Besides the third set of the Steffi Graf-Gabriela Sabatini showdown in the final, maybe the best thing about NBC's Wimbledon coverage was Bud Collins being on hand to counter Jimmy Connors' snide remarks about the players he doesn't care for. Negatives included Tracy Austin's bland observations delivered in a bothersome voice and Boris Becker ruining the men's final with his self-degrading tirades.

* Any resemblance between what shows up on the "Summer Thunder" pay-per-view boxing card that appears on TVKO tonight (10) and what was originally intended is strictly coincidental. A month ago it was supposed to be Lennox Lewis vs. Tyrell Biggs and Riddick Bowe vs. Bruce Seldon. Instead, Lewis, a Canadian nobody knows, takes on a busted up Mike Weaver, Mark Breland still tries to figure out if he wants to fight while going against Reyes Cruz, and Tony Lopez tests Lupe Gutierrez.

* Home Team Sports is picking up the semifinals and finals of the Sovran Bank Classic in Washington July 20-21 after doing the Hall of Fame Tourney from the Newport Casino this weekend: Semis and final at 2 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday.

* Larry Katz has hauled his middle-of-the-night wrestling show from WCBM to the agreeable hour of 10 p.m. Sundays on WCAO . . . Speaking of wrassling, the Baltimore Arena is hosting the pay-per-view Great American Bash '91 Sunday (7-10 p.m.) with all your favorites, Ric Flair, Sting, Lex Luger, etc. vying in something called "Legend vs. Legacy."

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