Like Wittman, Eckman gives Spirit familiar look HTS team includes Davis, Mangione

SOCCER

September 24, 1992|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

It was a day for blasts from the past.

On the same day the Baltimore Spirit announced it was signing former Blast star Tim Wittman, the National Professional Soccer League team introduced Charlie Eckman as the commentator on its eight-game Home Team Sports package yesterday.

The Spirit also released its 40-game regular-season schedule, which opens in Milwaukee, Nov. 6. The team will play 18 of its 20 home games on Saturdays and Sundays, including the home opener Saturday, Nov. 7, against Chicago.

"I tell you, I'm happy to be back," said Eckman, a longtime broadcast veteran who used to work Blast games. "I missed it. I love the action. "When I was growing up here in the '30s and '40s, baseball was the No. 1 sport and soccer was No. 2," Eckman said. "Bad, and I mean really bad, basketball might have been third and no one cared about football up until World War II.

"Soccer still has some skill in it, and this new league has potential with its scoring system," Eckman said. "It's going to get people talking. When they hear about an 18-15 soccer score, they're going to want to come see the game."

Joining Eckman on the HTS broadcasts will be Tom Davis, doing play-by-play, and John Mangione, reporting from the sidelines. HTS communication director Scott Broyles said Davis' professionalism combined with Eckman's "affection for the city and its sports history" will add to the telecast.

"He and Tom enjoy a unique rapport that makes the viewers feel part of the conversation," said Broyles. "They bring the audience in and make them feel part of the telecast."

The first three games HTS will carry are: vs. Milwaukee, Nov. 6, 8:35 p.m.; vs. Detroit, Dec. 6, 6:05 p.m.; and vs. Denver, Dec. 13, 6:05 p.m. The remaining five games to be televised will be announced soon.

* The Spirit's No. 1 draft choice, Eric Dade, a defender from Virginia Commonwealth University, was in town yesterday to discuss a contract. Both Dade and Spirit vice president Drew Forrester said they hope for an agreement in the next week.

Spirit schedule

Nov. 6 at Milwaukee 8:35*

Nov. 7 Chicago 7:35

Nov. 14 at Cleveland 7:35

Nov. 20 at Buffalo 7:35

Nov. 21 Buffalo 7:35

Nov. 28 Harrisburg 2:05

Dec. 4 at Wichita 8:35

Dec. 6 Detroit 6:05*

Dec. 13 Denver 6:05*

Dec. 19 Cleveland 7:35

Dec. 20 at Dayton 5:35

Dec. 26 at St. Louis 8:35

Dec. 27 Canton 2:35

Jan. 2 Dayton 7:35

Jan. 9 at Buffalo 7:35

Jan. 10 Cleveland 2:05

Jan. 13 St. Louis 7:05

Jan. 15 at Detroit 7:35

Jan. 16 Buffalo 1:05

Jan. 18 at Canton 6:05

Jan. 22 at Harrisburg 7:35

Jan. 23 Wichita 7:35

Jan. 24 at Kansas City 7:05

Jan. 30 Dayton 2:05

Feb. 7 at Denver 7:05

Feb. 13 Cleveland 7:35

Feb. 14 at Detroit 5:05

Feb. 19 at Dayton 7:35

Feb. 20 Canton 2:05

Feb. 27 Kansas City 7:35

Feb. 28 at Chicago 5:35

Mar. 5 at Harrisburg 7:35

Mar. 7 at Detroit 5:05

Mar. 10 Milwaukee 7:05

Mar. 12 at Canton 7:35

Mar. 14 Harrisburg 2:05

Mar. 19 at Cleveland 7:35

Mar. 20 Detroit 7:35

Mar. 21 Buffalo 2:05

Mar. 27 at Harrisburg 7:35

* -- HTS game; five TBA.

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