TV networks' loss won't mean gain of inter-league play

Phil Jackman

September 25, 1991|By Phil Jackman

Reading time, two minutes:

Judging from how much money national carriers CBS and ESPN are losing in their deals with baseball, many proposals will be made when contract renegotiation time comes in a couple of years -- meaning that the old warhorse, inter-league play, will receive its umpteenth airing.

If the experience of the minor leagues is any indication, the idea, first proposed in the '40s, would be best left there. The Triple A Alliance, an International League and American Association undertaking, was formed in 1987 and was a drag from the start.

The IL voted unanimously to get rid of it, all hands explaining that fans are well satisfied with the traditional rivalries. And the National League, for one, obviously seconds the motion with its rumored plan of having division foes meet each other 20 times per season while inter-division play will amount to just 42 games.

* The best golf on television, even better than some of those

fantastic finishes at Augusta National and other shrines over the years, was the 1989 Ryder Cup matches in England. It's why nearly non-stop coverage of this year's U.S. vs. Europe test, beginning Friday at Kiawah Island, S.C., is so keenly anticipated.

USA Network opens with "the longest day of televised golf" Friday (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), then does four more hours Saturday morning before NBC moves in for about nine hours on the weekend afternoons. Way too much, you say?

Not when the best on the planet are partnered up, playing better ball and alternate shot before the crucial dozen match play duels. Naturally, the home squad is loaded and a slight favorite, but the Europeans are historically more adept at match play, the course suits them and their ranks include three of the top four players in the world.

Prediction: After retaining the Cup from 1959 to 1983 and boasting a 21-5-2 record dating back to 1927, the United States has been looking to get on the winning side since, but it won't happen. Europe by 14 1/2 -13 1/2 .

* Why is it the worse his teams do -- the Cincinnati Bengals are 0-4 but get a reprieve (bye) this week -- the louder, more profound, more obnoxious and more preachy coach Sam Wyche becomes?

* If the Maryland Stadium Authority wins its silly nuisance suit against Roy Becker over use of the name "Camden Yards" on T-shirts, here's a suggestion for Roy: Bumper stickers stating "Honk If You're Suing Mike Tyson."

* What is it with Magic Johnson, saying how disappointed he is that his buddy Isiah Thomas wasn't asked to play on the U.S. Olympic team? Ten NBAers are already too many, especially when a couple of them acceded only after some arm-twisting, and the invitation-only formula for selecting the squad is so blatantly un-American.

* It's slightly amazing how a school with more than a century of glamorous football exploits, as Penn State has, when attempting to come up with an all-time great team, ends up with the following nominees at quarterback: Chuck Fusina, John Hufnagel, Todd Blackledge, Pete Liske, Tom Shuman, Richie Lucas, John Shaffer, Milt Plum and Galen Hall.

* Only a cad would suggest the reason Martina Navratilova is coming back to help out Pam Shriver with her Cystic Fibrosis Tennis Classic at the Arena Nov. 26 is she feels she owes Pam after going 27-0 against her over the last nine years, losing just five sets.

Also participating will be Jennifer Capriati and Elise Burgin, who tells the story about Gov. Schaefer mistaking her for a Soviet player a couple of years ago. "I have been to Moscowwwwww. I have been to Lenin-graddd," he said emphatically. He thinks I'm Russian, Elise thought and replied, "I have been to Dundalk and Pikesville, and I voted for you in the last election."

* It was the WBC heavyweight title Larry Holmes forsook to break off and force acceptance of the IBF years ago, yet it is this same organization that has regaled tired old Lar' with a No. 9 ranking off a couple of recent victories over parking meters. Anything for a little sanctioning fee money down the road, right, guys?

* It's mildly annoying how a guy goes to Fenway Park once, or watches a couple of games on the telly from Beantown, and instantly he's an expert on the Red Sox, their fans, the New England states and the weather forecast for Eastport to Block Island.

While it's true the Sox haven't won a World Series in Phil Rizzuto's lifetime, all but nonexistent is the occasion when they had the better ballclub going in. The same cannot be said for, oh, the Orioles, for instance. And just the opposite of the outsider's perception, New Englanders don't expect the worst. They view the team as would-be victors no matter how preposterous the notion.

* Oh, by the way, happy birthday to Phil Rizzuto (No. 73). After wishing at least 10 million people many happy returns as a Yankees broadcaster for decades, turnabout is fair play.

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