Don't have to be Einstein to see Albert is unbiased


June 10, 1994|By RAY FRAGER

It arrived just in time for the NBA Finals. At first, I wasn't sure about the purchase, but what sports fan can be without a Marv-o-meter?

Maybe I should have ordered that three-CD set from K-Tel, "Boxcar Willie and Slim Whitman Meet Godzilla and Rhodan." But, in the name of research, the Marv-o-meter is more important.

You see, Marv Albert is calling the NBA Finals for NBC, and some are inclined to believe that his play-by-play will reveal a bias for the Knicks, for whom he's long been a local announcer. I'm happy to report, though, that the Marv-o-meter's Bias Detector (a big red apple) didn't light up once during Game 1 Wednesday.

OK, you got me. I'm kidding. Everybody knows that Japanese mutant monsters never could stand up to a whistling-and-yodeling assault. But during a news conference this week, the question of Albert's possible bias actually was posed this way: During the Eastern finals, didn't Albert's signature "yesss!" calls pack more oomph on Knicks baskets than on those by the Pacers?

"You know, there's a Columbia University course on that," Albert replied. (This may be where the Marv-o-meter was developed.)

"Even before the series starts, fans are influenced by [hearing], 'Oh, it's Marv Albert doing a Knicks broadcast,' " Albert said. "People hear a certain enthusiasm for the Knicks" that may not be there.

"I just have to be true to myself. It's just perception."

Conversely, Albert said, New York fans sometimes accuse him of being too objective on local telecasts.

"There are people in New York who feel I should have more of a hometown approach," he said. "I feel we have to be a mirror and reflect what's happening on the court."

For instance, Albert on the Knicks' aggressive approach:

"There's a fine line between physical and thug ball, and the Knicks have crossed the line on occasion."

Marv-o-meter aside, Albert doesn't cross the line. Go ahead, try to count the number of s's on the end of each "yesss!" But that just would be sssilly.

Up on the hill

Channel 11 has added Spirit general manager Kenny Cooper as a soccer analyst for its sports reports during the World Cup. In addition, Cooper will be heard on ESPN Radio. . . . Watch what you say, Orioles. Channel 11 also has added WBAL Radio sports yakker Jeff Rimer to its lineup. Look for "Jeff Rimer's Clubhouse Confidential." The name, of course, comes from the 1958 movie "High School Confidential," starring Russ Tamblyn and Mamie Van Doren. Rimer, we believe, will be in the Tamblyn role. . . . Where does the time go? On June 20, Tom Matte's "McCafferty's Sports Hour" talk show on WCBM (680 AM) will celebrate its first anniversary with a two-hour broadcast, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Green, green grass of home

Home Box Office will cover Wimbledon for the 20th year starting June 20. HBO has 10 days of live and taped matches. Live coverage runs 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. the first week. Jim Lampley is host, joined by Cris Collinsworth, Andrea Joyce, Billie Jean King, John Lloyd, Barry MacKay and Larry Merchant. Even with HBO's looser standards, none of the announcers will appear nude. . . . Former major-league manager Jeff Torborg will be CBS's analyst on tomorrow's College World Series championship telecast (1 p.m., channels 11, 9). Greg Gumbel, in his last CBS assignment before joining NBC, will call play-by-play. . . . Are you starting to hear a little World Cup buzz? ESPN presents "The World Cup Comes to America," an hourlong preview, on Monday at 9:30 p.m. ESPN's "World Cup Today," to be carried each Wednesday through July 20, debuts next week

at 3:30 p.m.

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