No doubt the reason why baseball and commissioner Fay Vincent are looking to clip the wings of the super stations is the Braves and WTBS, for instance, are pummeling ESPN in the ratings. For $400 million spread over four years, ESPN is reaching 1.5 million homes while TBS is doing about a third better than that at a cost of just $10 million per year.
* "When It Was A Game II" is on Home Box Office at 10 p.m. Monday, the eve of the All-Star Game. Miss it and you can't really consider yourself a ball fan. This one's better than its predecessor.
* The night after the American and National League luminaries do their thing Tuesday (8:30 p.m.), ESPN sends along the World Basketball League All-Star Game at midnight, the best from Calgary, Halifax, Hamilton, Winnipeg and Saskatchewan taking on the lads from Dayton, Erie, Jacksonville, Youngstown and Orlando.
It's all-star week all over the place. Home Team Sports has the Double-A game Monday at 7:30 p.m., an hour before the Old-Timers game shows up on ESPN as part of the festivities dTC going on in San Diego.
* No word from ABC yet if Hank Williams Jr. is going to open Monday Night Football telecasts with that moronic "Are You Ready For Some Football?" shriek following his well-publicized problems at a recent concert stop.
* Here it is more than two weeks before the Olympic Games open and the book "America's Dream Team: The Quest for Olympic Gold" already has a publishing date: Oct. 10. Author and coach Chuck Daly says, "We will be the favorite; we should win the gold; and I think we will win the gold." Rule No. 1, Chuck, don't give the ending away before you've even sat down to write the book.
That's almost as bad as Penn State and the Blockbuster Bowl announcing the Nittany Lions will play in the New Year's Day contest seven months and 11 days early.
* Home Box Office will be doing the Riddick Bowe (30-0) vs. Pierre Coetzer (38-2) heavyweight elimination bout July 18 (10 p.m.), and the co-feature ain't bad, either: Pernell Whitaker (28-1) vs. Rafael Pineda (26-1) for the IBF welterweight crown. If Bowe ++ wins, he's in line for a shot at Evander Holyfield's title in mid-November, and that one will be on TVKO (pay-per-view).
* Quickest way to send any NBC spokesman off in search of a foxhole is to ask how sales for its Olympic TripleCast adventure are going. The network and cable partner are looking for a buy rate of 2 million homes for package or daily programming, but is staring at a microscopic percentage of that with the Games just two weeks away. NBC will go in with perhaps 90 percent of its ad time sold, meaning commercials during 161 hours of broadcasting won't number any more than a few hundred thousand.
* During a couple of promos for the TripleCast during a Wimbledon telecast, NBC first skipped a 6-5 game in the fourth set of the Guy Forget-Jeremy Bates match, then missed the first three points of the tie-breaker. Sorry the forehands, backhands and overheads got in your way, fellas.
* Some are saying the best part of the post-game "Orioles Talk" show from Camden Yards Tuesday night was the roar of a vacuum cleaner in the background. In the battle of blowhards, however, host Stan White won handily.
* Home Team Sports gets into tennis heavily the next two weekends, sending along the semis and final from the Hall of Fame Classic in Newport, R.I., tomorrow (3 p.m.) and Sunday (5 p.m.), then doing the same for the NationsBank Classic in Washington on July 18-19. A rematch of the Wimbledon semifinal
between Andre Agassi and John McEnroe in the D.C. final would work, right?
* Tomorrow, two shows to help get you in the mood for the Olympics beginning July 25 have 1968 decathlon champion Bill Toomey the subject on "Greatest Sports Legends" at 2 p.m. and Kim Zmeskal featured on "Barcelona '92" an hour later. The shows are on Washington's Channel 4. The NBC affiliate here, Channel 2, is showing a movie.
* USA Network has the first round of the Celebrity Golf Championship today (4-6 p.m. and 11 p.m.-1 a.m.), just in case you haven't overdosed on Michael Jordan yet. Mark Rypien and Rick Rhoden are past winners. NBC is picking up the weekend action while the other networks spread out to cover the women, the PGA Tour and the PGA Seniors Open.
* How come HTS wins an Emmy for its Orioles coverage and it gets the running score wrong on graphics so often? And where does Mel Proctor, who won't be aboard for the O's-Twins game Sunday, get off taking a vacation in the middle of the baseball season?
* The Sports Almanac shows running on ESPN on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. throughout the summer are terrific. Next week's effort is entitled "Upsets and Underdogs" and features the Dusty Rhodes World Series (1954), the 1951 Ezzard Charles-Jersey Joe Walcott fight, Althea Gibson at Wimbledon and Tom Gola's La Salle team taking the college hoops title in 19 54.