In CBS booth, as on the field, Series has been lacking

Phil Jackman

October 22, 1993|By Phil Jackman

The TV Repairman:

As Toronto manager Cito Gaston, one of those people who apparently can catch 40 winks with his eyes open, gazed at his first two pitchers, Todd Stottlemyre and Al Leiter, throwing in unbelievably inept manner Wednesday night, CBS announcer Sean McDonough pointed out how Gaston had a reputation for being "very patient" with his pitchers.

Uh, Sean, the proper word to cover the situation would have been comatose.

When one puts out as many words as Tim McCarver does during a telecast, a lot of them are bound to be unnecessary, superfluous and downright inane.

For some reason and for the 21st straight year since the designated hitter came to the American League, commentator deluxe felt compelled to comment on it as Series play moved to the National League ballpark.

Tim indicated that the Phillies were at a "disadvantage" having to utilize the DH in the AL park, which is nonsense, of course.

If the NL doesn't want to use the DH, it is not required to, and it's hard to fathom how putting an established hitter in a batting order replacing a feeble-swinging pitcher can ever be construed as a disadvantage.

It doesn't matter much how early or late Series games commence, they're usually boring for the first couple of hours, which translates to viewers abandoning ship anyway.

In Game 4, for example, the first two innings took an hour. An hour later, it was still only the fifth inning and the quality of play was laughable when this is the time of year when performance is supposed to be first-class.

This combination of ingredients has CBS concluding its four-year misadventure with baseball staring at the worst ratings for a World Series since A.C. Neilsen started keeping track.

One thing you have to like about Gaston is at least he doesn't spew whatever all over ballpark dugouts and carpets. One more huge, consumptive cough by Phillies manager Jim Fregosi, followed by a spray of tobacco juice, shown over and over by CBS, and the FCC should step in.

With the length of Series games averaging more than 3 1/2 hours, maybe the games should be split in half and played over the course of two evenings (two admissions, of course).

* No, gang, that throbbing in your head isn't a full-scale assault on your frontal lobe, it's the pitter-patter of little basketballs.

Yep, the McDonald's Open is under way in Munich, Germany, the Phoenix Suns taking on teams from France, Brazil and Italy. TNT has a twin bill tonight (8 and 10:30) with NBC moving in for the final tomorrow at noon. To paraphrase Hank Williams Jr., "Are you ready for Charles Barkley!"

Natch, the collegians won't be far behind, ESPN planning a "Midnight Madness" show at the witching hour next Friday. Chances are Dick Vitale might be involved somehow.

* Channel 2's doing a show "Bombers or Bust: The Final Decision" Monday at 8 p.m., the eve of the NFL's announcement of which two cities will be joining the league in 1995. CBS says it's going ahead with "Evening Shade" anyway.

* The NFL says reducing the play clock from 45 to 40 seconds this season has resulted in five more plays and one more point per game. It hasn't really reduced the time of games, as though you hadn't noticed sitting there on the edge of consciousness Sunday afternoons.

* Please, please, please, network and cable, stop hyping upcoming shows as rematches of high profile games played previously between teams. You know the bit: "The Giants vs. the Bears; a replay of the famed "Sneakers" game in 1934."

* It really doesn't matter if the "Monday Night Football" games are blowouts or stinkers anymore, so relaxed and interesting have boothmates Al Michaels, Dan Dierdorf and Frank Gifford become in their weekly stand-up. They've got it all over the Comedy Channel.

* Hey, the Coltsies get a national look-see for the first time since the goalposts got shoved back to the back of the end zone, showing up in Miami to take on the Dolphins Sunday (7:30 p.m.) on TNT. Ah, Miami, the city where Bob Irsay tied a tin can to his coach (Mike McCormack), but didn't have the gumption to tell him for about a month.

* Somebody must think Navy's four wins, two against Division I-AA teams, are the goods. The Mids' game at Notre Dame Oct. 30 at noon splits national with Georgia-Florida. The Irish vs. Southern Cal game tomorrow (NBC, 2:30 p.m.) will be a lot better than the line, N.D. favored by 13 points.

* A couple of weeks ago, Navy, before a record crowd in Navy-Marine Corps Stadium, roared from behind to beat Air Force in a terrific game that was over by 4:30 p.m. A couple of hours later, on WBAL-TV, not a word. Not a syllable or even a hint. When new sports people come to town, maybe the stations could provide them with maps, so they can familiarize themselves with where Annapolis is.

* This hot off the wire: The Hula Bowl has been rescheduled to 8 p.m. on Jan. 22 on ESPN. Let planning for the home parties begin.

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