On the wings of marathon six-hour telecasts of the PGA Championships yesterday and today starting at noon, TBS will preamble extensive CBS coverage tomorrow and Sunday (1:30-6 with two-hour shows beginning at 11 a.m. That's 25 hours of live coverage, which some might argue is a tad excessive. What is this, Judgment Day?
Increasingly and with so much time to fill, both network and cable are going overboard with endless and boring swing analysis -- as though anyone cares about how so-and-so "moves his left side out as he starts his downswing."
* If preparation is the key to success in football commentary, Pat Haden is headed for the top of the heap. He was so loaded with information for the Steelers-Redskins exhibition game on TNT the other night, he soon became overwhelming. Fortunately, Skip Caray was there keeping everything in perspective in his own inimitable (shrug) style.
For example, when shots of a marriage proposal on the scoreboard and a smiling couple appeared on camera, Skip said, "What I've always wanted to see when this happens is for the gal to slap the guy's face and storm out." Haven't we all?
* The Riddick Bowe (25-0)-Bruce Seldon (18-1) bout on TVKO tonight (10) is going for $20. The supporting bout, Bobby Czyz (38-5) vs. Bash Alli (34-12) figures to be much better.
* No longer the flagship station of Maryland sports, WMAL in Washington heads over to do Navy football and the announcing team will be Steve Buckhantz (Ch. 5) and Ted Patterson. And just when Jack (Zzzzzz) Cloud was getting the hang of it, too.
* ESPN will open its college football slate with East Carolina at Illinois and Pittsburgh at West Virginia Aug. 31. TBS's offering that day is Ole Miss vs. Tulane. But HTS beats these guys, coming through with the Kickoff Classic, Georgia Tech vs. Penn State.
* ESPN college football commentator Beano Cook always seems to get to the heart of matters without time-consuming bluster. A long time ago, he said the Federal Trade Commission's failed suit charging ABC and the College Football Association with restraint of trade was so much foolishness, adding, "I wish the FTC would do something about what the oil companies and regional phone companies are doing to America, and not worry about a silly thing like football on TV." A thousand amens, O leader.
* The man who screamed bloody murder when Madison Square Garden Network cut away from a Knicks-Timberwolves basketball game last January to inform its viewers of the start of Operation Desert Storm, Richard Evans, just got zapped as MSG president. What took 'em so long?
* No doubt the NFL would frown upon it, but in the interest of public interest wouldn't you think one of the networks would have done something on the adventures of Rocket Ismail in the Canadian Football League by now? He's packing them in up north.
* Making NBC sideline reporter Todd Christensen's interview with skater Katarina Witt doubly strange during a Bears-49ers game from Berlin last weekend was (1) there was absolutely no substance to the grin-and-giggle session and (2) Witt will be working for CBS during next year's Winter Olympics.
* Two more reasons to love the game of basketball as practiced internationally is teams are restricted to just two timeouts per half, and there are no TV timeouts. Needless to say, we'll never see such heresy here. There's too good a flow to the games, which works against the flow of intrusive commercials.
* Since Jesse "The Body" Ventura ambled off into the sunset seeking his destiny as a politician (mayor of a small town in Minnesota), giving up his mantel as top pro wrassling analyst, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan has come on impressively. During a WWF show from Madison Square Garden on USA Network the other night, Rick Martel and Ricky Steamboat had knocked each other cold and were motionless on the mat when Heenan intoned, "Hey, it's just like 7th Avenue in here, two guys laying on the sidewalk."
* ABC certainly didn't knock itself out covering a very interesting event opening up the Pan American Games last Saturday. It had ample time to put a package together on the early-morning marathon and time to show it when U.S. vs. Cuba hoops was delayed because of a broken backboard. The men's victor was fading fast and ended up winning by just two seconds while American women finished 4-5. The drama and any excitement present was brushed aside in about the same time it takes to announce that day's winning lottery numbers.
The backboard business also caused the net to cut away before the game was over to go to regularly scheduled bowling. It further messed up by robbing viewers of at least four minutes of playing time with explanations, ads, billboards and, once going back to the arena, not showing the game but some guy holding a flag for about 30 seconds. Making matters worse, Cuba made a nice comeback to make it close.