Sports icon Bagli has new, if lesser, visionVince Bagli...


April 09, 1993|By RAY FRAGER

Sports icon Bagli has new, if lesser, vision

Vince Bagli, who leads Baltimore television sportscasters in longevity and gesticulation, is giving up his sports anchor duties on Channel 11.

But don't call Bagli the Dean emeritus yet. He will continue to appear on WBAL three to four days a week, Bagli and news director David Roberts announced yesterday.

Gerry Sandusky, who has been sports anchor during the 11 p.m. newscast, will take over during the 6 p.m. show as well beginning April 26, Roberts said.

"Vince has been the sports icon in this market for nearly four decades," Roberts said, "and he will continue to be visible in special features that link the past to the present. Vince Bagli doesn't have anything else left to prove."

"I've been doing this 28 1/2 years, and I've had fun, but it's time to move along," Bagli said.

Bagli will turn 66 next month, but said he isn't being forced out by station management.

"It wasn't my idea, but I was hoping this would happen," Bagli said. "There was no pressure from anyone to do it.

"They were afraid I'd be upset about it, but I'm really happy."

Bagli's contract runs through August 1994, and he said he hasn't set any plans beyond then.

"There's not that many people who do the same job for that long," said Bagli, who joined WBAL-TV in 1964. "I feel like I've been blessed with the opportunity I've been provided to work in my home city. These people [at WBAL] have been very good to me."

Starting in 1949, Bagli worked at four radio stations -- including WBAL -- and at the News American before joining Channel 11. He also worked on Colts and Bullets broadcasts.

"I don't have to come charging in here at a particular time anymore," he said. "I've been looking at the clock for 44 years."

Bagli will provide three commentaries and one feature per week, occasionally might appear on Channel 11's Saturday morning news show and frequently will be seen reporting from Camden Yards, Roberts said.

In the blow-dried, consultant-constructed world of TV news, Bagli has been something of a wild card, a Lt. Columbo of sports. He will start and stop, never finishing some of his sentences, wave his arms as if to signal for the right- or left-hander from the bullpen, get so worked up he practically bounces over the anchor desk and, almost always it seems, run over his allotted time.

"It's a unique way I've done it," Bagli said. "Whatever it is, it has

worked in this city. I don't mean that in a bragging way. If viewers didn't like it, they'd have run me out a long time ago."

"The biggest impact he's had on the market is that you don't have to try to be anyone else," Channel 2's Scott Garceau said. "You can be yourself."

"The first thing Vince has proved is that you can age in a market," Channel 13's John Buren said. "There was a time, after you passed 45, there was a target on your back. Personally, having just turned 40, I like to know that.

"The thing Vince brought to his job more than anything else was consistency. Vince was always Vince."

"He had a unique style that I couldn't ever emulate," said Sandusky, 31. "His intuitive sense for Baltimore was something that was unequaled in any town I've been in or heard of."

Because Sandusky won't be trying to be Bagli, the 6 p.m. sportscast will take on a different look, more like Sandusky's highlights-laden, late-night segments.

Roberts said Sandusky and weekend anchor Butch Alsandor will take the sports reports in more of a local direction. But, in whatever direction Channel 11's sportscasts head, Sandusky said he couldn't follow Bagli's long-running act.

"When you try to draw a parallel to [Bagli's career]," Sandusky said, "you can't do it."

None of their bid-ness

CBS won't make a sealed bid for the 1994 Super Bowl, the network told the Associated Press. The next Super Bowl was not part of the current NFL television deal, and the league reportedly planned to ask for sealed bids from the networks by the end of April.

For openers

During his half-inning on Channel 2's Opening Day telecast, President Clinton displayed a skill that some play-by-play men have yet to learn. When the Rangers' Jose Canseco came to bat with a new stance, Clinton involved the analyst, asking Brooks Robinson about the change. The politics of inclusion?

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