When ESPN puts Vitale on basketball, hold down that mute button, bay-bee

The TV Repairman:

January 22, 1993|By Phil Jackman

Please, ESPN, assign Dick Vitale to secondary-type college games, which might be enhanced by his special brand of hype, '' or chain him to a studio chair in lieu of his working marquee games.

Rarely (like never) does Vitale add any worthwhile analysis of what's going on in the game right in front of him and his commentary is painfully worn and repetitive. You know the stuff: "Better get a timeout, bay-bee . . . don't turn this baby off . . . are you kidding me? . . . he's a P-T-Per, a diaper dandy," etc., ad nauseam.

Vitale put his annoying imprimatur on the Indiana-Purdue game the other night, making it necessary to ride the mute button throughout.

Speaking of college hoops commentary, Al McGuire returns to action Sunday, joining Greg Gumbel at the mike at the Ohio State-Indiana contest, the second half of CBS's twin bill starting at 12:30 p.m. The Eye will be all over the place, Jim Nantz and Billy Packer doing the Georgetown-UNLV game tomorrow (4 p.m.) and James Brown and Bill Raferty at the North Carolina-Seton Hall matchup Sunday (12:30).

McGuire, recall, is a guy who doesn't fudge. For instance, regarding the "Super Sophs" at Michigan, Al says: "They may go undefeated next season, but they won't make it to New Orleans for the Final Four this year."

* Showtime's next boxing show, otherwise known as the Don King Marching & Chowder Society, goes Jan. 30 with Michael Nunn (38-1) taking on Victor Cordoba (18-4) in a rematch of a September bout in which the latter was robbed of the decision. King's Klowns, Greg Page, Francesco Damiani, Tony Tucker and Oliver McCall, clutter up the undercard.

* The fourth Senior Skins Game Jan. 30-31 from Hawaii will have Chi-Chi Rodriguez providing quips as stand-in for Lee Trevino (bum hand), joining defending champion Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Raymond Floyd.

* Kudos to Home Box Office for doing a report on a couple of NFL players being indicted on charges of trafficking steroids during its weekly "Inside the NFL" show last night. The nets didn't even mention what could become a semi-big scandal during their happy-talk conference championship games pre-game shows last Sunday.

* ABC's "Wide World of Sports" probably won't get the ratings it did last year with the U.S. Figure Skating Championships tomorrow (4:30 and 9 p.m.) what with Kristi Yamaguchi going pro and this being a non-Olympic year. Still, Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding in primetime (live) should put a dent in the usual weak Saturday night menu put out by the networks.

* Great balls of fire, CBS is recognizing that the major-league season runs a tad longer than a typical Little League season and has its schedule for the coming campaign all the way up to 16 Saturday telecasts. And its midseason hiatus stretches from just May 29 to July 10 this summer.

* Here's good news for the folks who are peeling off $175 for a Super Bowl ticket. Besides a cushion at each of the 103,000 seats in the Rose Bowl, there will be your very own radio with headset to listen to either the TV or radio broadcast. Playfone Systems is providing the hardware, and the NFL is in the process of gathering up a sponsor for the venture. Call NFL Properties if you're interested.

* If you can tear yourself away from the epic movie "Full Exposure: The Sex Tapes Scandal" on NBC Monday, PBS is airing "Knute Rockne and His Fighting Irish" on the American Experience at 9 p.m. It's a no-holds-barred look at the legendary coach as evidenced by a statement by interviewee and author Stephen Fox: "The public version that Rockne wanted to present of the George Gipp story was to describe Gipp as an All-American boy who didn't drink, carouse, gamble, shoot pool or disappear for a week at a time, all of the things that Gipp did."

* Isn't it strange how NBC hasn't made a big to-do about Jim Lampley replacing Charlie Jones as the host of its golf telecasts? No doubt it wants to avoid some of the sound and fury surrounding ABC elevating Brent Musburger to the same position last year.

Lampley does a solid job in every assignment he undertakes, but he does have an affected style that makes him sound as if he's delivering a speech in the House of Lords. That might not sit too well with weekend afternoon regulars, but NBC isn't too big on the links game anyway.

This weekend, for instance, there's a tour stop raging in Arizona, but the Peacock is going for one of those made-for-TV skills competitions taped last October. In its defense it should be pointed out that this 16-player contest will no doubt grab a bigger rating than just another tour stop.

* The "This is the NFL" show tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. on Channel 2 should be a goodie: best games of the season. . . . WMAR then follows it up with the "Gary Williams Show" at 1 and Gary's Terps taking on N.C. State at 1:30, their (alleged) first victory in the ACC this season.

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