The American Pastime and Japan's

TODAY'S TV

September 27, 1994|By David Bianculli | David Bianculli,Special to The Sun

Despite the strike that has put an end this season to major league baseball, tonight's prime-time TV lineup pits one baseball offering directly against another -- with a Fox telecast of "Mr. Baseball" scheduled opposite the eighth inning of the PBS "Baseball" series.

* "Wings" (8-8:30 p.m., Channel 2) -- Amy Yasbeck, the "other woman" in "The Mask" ("other woman" as in not Cameron Diaz), joins the cast of "Wings," effective tonight. NBC.

* "Full House" (8-8:30 p.m., Channel 13) -- This is the start of the eighth season for "Full House," a thought that's worth contemplating for reasons too frightening to contemplate. ABC.

* "Baseball" (8-10 p.m., channels 22, 26) -- There are many memorable moments in tonight's eighth inning, which covers 1960-1970, including a press conference by retiring pitcher Sandy Koufax and a good recap of the thrilling 1960 World Series -- and, of course, the 1969 Amazin' Mets. For baby boomers, a key installment. PBS.

* "Mr. Baseball" (8-10 p.m., Channel 45) -- Tom Selleck stars as a washed-up, bad-attitude major leaguer traded to a Japanese team against his wishes, Eventually, he learns the ways of the locals and even becomes charmed by some of them, making this 1992 comedy film a sort of "Far Eastern Exposure." It's got some good moments, too -- a lot more than, say, Fox's new "Hardball" series. Fox.

* "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" (11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m., Channel 2) -- Tonight on "Tonight," Leno is host for the original host of "Tonight": Steve Allen. NBC.

* "Late Show With David Letterman" (11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m., Channel 11) -- Tonight on "Late Show," Letterman's guests include Sharon Stone. Now that he and Madonna have called an informal truce, Mr. Letterman needs a new unofficial "bad guest." Ms. Stone could be the one. CBS.

Cable

* "Arthur Ashe: Citizen of the World" (10-11 p.m., HBO) -- If you watched the installment of the "Baseball" series in which Jackie Robinson's career was chronicled, you've had the perfect preamble for this new HBO documentary, affectionately and crisply written by Frank Deford. Ashe, like Robinson, fought against racism in his sport even as he stoically endured it, and this study shows Ashe's increasing commitment to human rights.

* "Smart Sex" (10-11 p.m., MTV) -- Unfortunately, this new MTV documentary is scheduled at the same time as the Ashe documentary on HBO. Both should be seen, but if you have teen-agers, this is the one you'll want to tape, and keep, for

repeated viewing and discussion. It comes from Linda Ellerbee's production company, which is just about all you need to know.

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