If you can't watch in a world without ball, tune in to a catchy lineup


August 05, 1994|By RAY FRAGER

Even in troubled times such as these, we must find some solace in song. With a looming baseball strike -- quick, look out behind you! -- it's enough to take us back to the days of the British Invasion, when the only problem was that the Phillies still thought the majors were on a 154-game schedule.

With apologies to Gerry and the Pacemakers, Herman's Hermits, the Dave Clark Five, the Searchers, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, Chad and Jeremy, Wayne Fontana and every one of his Mindbenders and especially to Peter and Gordon (and while I'm apologizing: Mom, I'm really sorry, but I didn't mean to knock Jeff down that flight of stairs at Bubbie's house), I offer this thought:

Please, take the TV

and the cable converter, too.

If they're not there,

I won't care,

There's no majors.

I don't care what they say,

I can't watch in a world without ball.

My summer's ending too soon,

but these guys don't give a darn.

They're all so rich,

Fehr and Ravitch,

just can't get along.

I don't care what they say,

I can't watch in a world without ball.

(Based on "A World Without Love" by Peter and Gordon, Capitol 5175, No. 1 on the Billboard charts for the week of May 16, 1964. Hey, you think Casey Kasem is the only guy who does research?)

What will you do during the baseball strike? Sure, you could -- in the advice of that catchy tune -- stop watching TV. . . . Hey, just kidding there. You can't stop now, not when that indentation in the couch just is getting really comfortable. So here's a guide to finding baseball-related programming, even if a strike had begun yesterday:

* Tomorrow, 8 p.m., in lieu of Orioles-Brewers on Channel 13: Some easy choices here: a preview of Ken Burns' history of baseball on Channel 26 and Lifetime's "Bull Durham," featuring Kevin Costner dancing with Susan Sarandon instead of wolves. But how about "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" on Channel 54? "Nine" is for innings, and "Deep" as in going deep. Remember, life is like a box of chocolates. . . .

* Sunday, 2 p.m., in lieu of Orioles-Brewers on Channel 13: Yeah, "The Natural" is on Cinemax, but suppose you don't have Cinemax and nobody in your neighborhood who has it can stand you long enough to have you in the house to watch? (Hypothetically speaking, of course, and why do you think this would be a problem for me?) It's "Porky's II: The Next Day" on Channel 54. This fine film is set in Florida, home of the Grapefruit League.

* Monday, 7:30 p.m., in lieu of Braves-Reds on TBS: ESPN has an "Outside the Lines" on the state of baseball, but USA Network has "Wings," which may be airing one of the episodes written by Ken Levine, the former Orioles announcer now with the Seattle Mariners (and do you think his voice had anything to do with those tiles falling at the Kingdome?).

* Tuesday, 2:10 p.m., in lieu of Giants-Cubs on WGN: Wait until 3 p.m. and watch "thirtysomething" on Lifetime. You think a manager feels heat from an owner to win? The agita Peter Angelos is giving Johnny Oates is nothing compared with the mountains of angst piled upon poor Michael Steadman by Miles Drentell.

* Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., in lieu of Orioles-Yankees on HTS: Miss those plays at second base where the dirt gets kicked up? Then watch "Desire in the Dust," starring Raymond Burr, on Encore. (I bet the wheelchair really stirred up all that dust.)

* Thursday, 7:30 p.m., in lieu of Orioles-Red Sox on HTS: The people on "Jeopardy!" (Channel 2) at least have to win in order to make money, unlike those greedy ballplayers. And if you squint and look really fast, Alex Trebek looks sort of like Keith Hernandez.

All right, so much for some examples. Next week, you're on your own.

Not Baron of baseball

If it's necessary to replace "Sunday Night Baseball" on Aug. 14 and 21, ESPN has scheduled two minor-league games featuring the Birmingham Barons. Must be because that rookie outfielder named Jordan has been swinging a hot bat. . . .

ESPN and CNN carried the news conference by players union head Don Fehr yesterday, but ESPN cut away after Fehr's announcement that the strike date hadn't changed, while CNN hung around for some of the questions from reporters. ESPN went back to auto racing. . . .

Before watching the Goodwill Games the other day, I got in the mood by pouring myself a tall drink of fluid from the drip pan under the car. Ah, so refreshing, just like that pool in St. Petersburg.

You ready for some football?

Start putting away your nickels and dimes for pay-per-view college football. Just $59.95 suggested retail price (but I can get it for you wholesale) buys a 12-week package of games from ABC. Viewers can choose each week from regional telecasts not being aired locally. Don't serve food, though. If you own a bar or restaurant, it'll cost $699. . . .

Sports Illustrated's Peter King is joining ABC's "Monday Night Football" as a halftime studio reporter. . . .

Channel 11's Vince Bagli has gone to Saturday-morning-only sports anchoring duties, but isn't ready for full retirement yet. . . .

The Washington Bullets are scheduled for one appearance on Turner Broadcasting next season, Jan. 31 on TNT. Of course, the schedule was made before Scott Skiles joined the team.

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