Put them together and Holliday, Harmon would make a dynamic broadcast duo

The TV Repairman:

September 25, 1992|By Phil Jackman

Between them, Maryland and Towson State have an excellent football broadcast team, Johnny Holliday always having been a good play-by-play listen on the Terps, and Vaughn Harmon doing exceptional work as the Tigers' analyst.

Except for Tom Matte a couple of seasons ago, Holliday has always been saddled with commentators who were either inept, bad or both with the present partner, Aziz Abdur-Ra'off, being right down there with the worst. His babbling on last week's Maryland-West Virginia thriller was appallingly amateurish for a guy in his second year, and starting out every thought with "I gotta tell you" is just not a step to the big time.

Conversely, Harmon's work during Towson State's win over Bucknell was exceptional, his explanations proving timely, informative and succinct despite working under adverse conditions. The TSU broadcasters must share the same seat with the Minnegan Stadium public address announcer with coaches, students and anyone else around no more than 15 feet away partying.

* Because it's so heavily into baseball on Fridays (and losing money faster than it can be printed), ESPN will not be doing the first two singles matches of the Davis Cup semifinal showdown between the United States and Sweden tonight. Andre Agassi and Jim Courier are taking on Stefan Edberg and Nicklas Kulti and there's at least a chance the Americans could be breezing, 2-0, before the cable turns on the cameras in Minneapolis for tomorrow's doubles at 4 p.m.

Strangely, the U.S. team is bypassing all of its proven doubles teams to have John McEnroe and Pete Sampras team up for the first time. The strategy is going to look weak indeed if Open champion Edberg can win his singles and he and Anders Jarryd combine for a doubles victory.

* Good move by ABC tomorrow, giving about 40 percent of the country a look at San Diego State running back Marshall Faulk against UCLA (3:30 p.m., Ch. 13). The net usually goes with the same tired regional matchups while ratings have long since indicated it's time for some updated thinking and innovation.

Meanwhile, N(D)BC checks in at South Bend again with the Irish taking on Purdue at 1 p.m. The Boilermakers are coming off a loss to Toledo, so it's anyone's guess how long this one will be competitive. Figure a quarter. At one time, it seemed ND would never wear out its welcome on the tube, but that moment is getting closer and closer now with the Golden Domers on in a huge segment of the country every week.

* After passing on the suggestion earlier to have Bobby Riggs around to hype the Martina Navratilova-Jimmy Connors tennis match on pay-per-view this evening at 9 ($25), the promoter changed his mind and Riggs has been talking non-stop all week in Las Vegas.

Bobby credits himself with pushing the women's game ahead 20 years with his Houston Astrodome loss to Billie Jean King before a live house of 35,000 and worldwide TV. But that was nearly 20 years ago, ancient history. Now he expects Connors to even matters while all the promotion is hoping for is for folks to tune in. Question is why? This is no more than a practice session between a couple of current players of similar age with some odd rules tossed in to supposedly even things up for Martina.

As for the money -- $500,000 to the victor -- it's not as though these millionaires are playing for their favorite charity, is it?

* An almost assured bummer is to sneak a peek ahead at the upcoming NFL Sunday afternoon games a few days ahead of time. It can ruin a perfectly good Friday or Saturday, the prospect of having matchups similar to the ones facing the masses hereabouts this weekend: Bills vs. Patriots (D-); Falcons vs. Bears (C-); Dolphins vs. Seahawks (D); Jets vs. Rams (F).

There is a reprieve for cableites in that the 49ers are taking on the Saints in a B+ game at 8 p.m. on TNT.

* No surprises in the lineup HTS will have in the announcing booth for the eight Baltimore Spirit games it is doing. Jack-of-all-microphones Tom Davis is comfortable on play-by-play, at least until he launches into gales of laughter as colorman Charlie Eckman unloads another East Ballmer memoir from the '30s. Dino Mangione, despite making for a dreaded three-in-the-booth, should help restore some order as the sideline reporter.

While the new indoor soccer franchise is well set in the visual medium, it's likely the Spirit will have no radio deal.

* One of the real displeasures of the baseball season has been the almost total lack of rain delays during Orioles ballgames. This, of course, is when Jon Miller and Joe Angel really come out to play and, consistently, they make for interesting patter with the fans.

Monday night, for example, a woman called in with some basic questions, which launched Jon and Joe into discussion on unassisted triple plays, keeping score and a half-dozen other seldom-discussed subjects. Unfortunately, they ended up playing the game.

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