Somehow it won't be the same

March 03, 1995|By PHIL JACKMAN

The TV Repairman:

An outfielder named Tom Wright turned left when the ball was going right, recovered under the towering shot, but then turned right when he should have turned left. Fortunately, he was not injured, having slipped to the turf (probably from dizziness) a few feet from where the ball landed.

Wright will be among those wearing the proud pinstripes of the New York Yankees tomorrow when they take on the New York Mets at 2 p.m. on cable WWOR. Think anticipation will rob you of any sleep tonight?

"It's not what we want and it's not what the fans want. But it gives the fans baseball and it won't be that bad," says Yankees Bossman George Steinbrenner (without a great deal of enthusiasm) of the replacement players' fiasco. The opinions of Mr. Steinbrenner are strictly his own and not those of the TV Repairman or this newspaper.

Hey, it will be just like tapes of games played by the 1952 Pirates or the 1962 Mets, certainly the two worst baseball teams flung together since the Big War ended.

The Mets will be the home team, and although Fred Wilpon, co-owner of the team, agrees with the sentiments of Orioles owner Peter Angelos that games between pick-up teams are gross in private, he says he's going along with the majority for the "continuity of the game."

Just like during the last six weeks of last season, the playoffs and World Series, right, Fred?

By the way, if you don't catch that game tomorrow, it will be at least a week before the Tom Wrights of the world are out there flashing their wares before the cameras.

Incidentally, this Tom Wright is not the one who played for the Red Sox, White Sox and Senators years ago and had a decent stick. That one is 61 and probably still better than this one.

The Orioles' first televised exhibition (HTS) was slated for March 13, so feel free to do anything you like that afternoon.

* TNT is threatening to get away from the usual fluff of pre-game shows and, as Turner Sports' veep Mike Pearl says, "We're looking forward to developing 'Inside the NBA' into an issue-oriented, interactive informational show that gives fans something they want along with something they didn't know."

Part of the format change sees Tim Brando in the host chair -- now there's a tough, get-the-story guy -- and the promise of interviews with celebrities who enjoy pro hoops, live phone-in with fans, scores and highlights. Sounds like standard stuff here. Ah, the best-laid plans.

* Considering the almost-staggering success of previous WrestleManias, it would appear Lawrence Taylor, one of the all-time great linebackers in the NFL, probably needs the World Wrestling Federation more than it needs him while agreeing to grapple with Bam Bam Bigelow at Mania XI April 2. Note the WWF Roman Numeralizes its signature event just like the grid people do with Super Bowls. Fact is, the two sports have a fine tradition together -- Bronko Nagurski, Leo Nomellini, Paul Orndorff. . . .

* TBS is doing the Senior Slam of Golf next Monday and Tuesday in prime time (7-11 p.m.), the winners of the Senior PGA Tour "majors" colliding. They are Lee Trevino (PGA), Ray Floyd (Tradition), Dave Stockton (Players) and Simon Hobday (Senior Open). Vin Scully, Dave Marr and Bobby Clampett will be the voices.

I don't know about you but golf at night during the week hits the spot. A slight hint of wasted time seems to slip into sitting and watching on weekend afternoons.

* This week's stop on ABC's Pro Bowlers Tour finds the keglers competing in the inaugural Greater Baltimore Open tomorrow (3 p.m.). Look for Channel 13 sportscaster John Buren in the audience, because the driving force behind "League Night" on WJZ Fridays (11:20 p.m.) is among the pastime's most loyal fans.

* Pernell Whitaker, who always seems so superior to his opposition in the ring, says he has no trouble staying motivated as he has no problem scouting up new challenges. Whitaker (34-1-1) climbs up in weight on HBO tomorrow (10 p.m.) going for the junior-middleweight title owned by Julio Cesar Vasquez (52-1). Vasquez can hit, 35 knockouts, but Pernell never seems to get hit more than a couple of times in his bouts.

* TNT is now pumping NBA games into a 3.1-million-household Latin America market Thursdays and the folks south of the border have four language choices: Spanish, Portuguese, English or Hubie Brown.

* WOLB (1010) sends along a sports call-in show centered around local sports Sundays from 11 a.m. to noon with prep writers Derek Toney and Calvin Watkins hosting. The latter says he knows a lot about boxing. . . . The NBA game tonight (8) on TNT is Sonics at Suns. They're fourth and first, respectively, in the West. . . . The NASCAR stop Sunday is the Pontiac Excitement 400 and TBS will have it at 1 p.m.

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