WBAL's West will settle into busy 'semi-retirement'

ON THE AIR

March 14, 1995|By MILTON KENT

Just because Jim West won't be reporting sports on WBAL Radio's morning show every day doesn't mean he's taking a rest.

To the contrary, West, who will go on "semi-retirement" after Friday, will be a pretty busy guy, doing occasional fill-ins for newcomer Pam Ward, reporting from the Preakness and Camden Yards and calling lacrosse for Home Team Sports.

West, who will be 66 later this month, just won't be getting up at 2:30 a.m. as much, and he considers that a good thing.

"Gosh, now I'll be able to stay at the games without having to look at the clock and thinking, 'I've got to get to bed and get up in a few hours,' " said West.

For two generations of Baltimore radio listeners, West's voice has been a pleasant and calming presence, as the voice of the late, lamented Baltimore Clippers AHL franchise and Maryland football, the public address announcer of the Colts, the co-host of the "Jones and West" morning show on WBAL (1090 AM), and as a sports anchor.

In the 1970s, West, a Baltimore native, took leave of Charm City to head to Chicago, where he did Blackhawks hockey and Cubs baseball on television before returning home.

Over the years, West has noticed a chill in the relationship between broadcasters and the players they cover.

"It was an infinitely closer relationship when I started out," said West. "You became as friendly as you could. But I certainly don't witness that closeness anymore, as the disparity in salaries between the two sides has risen. Maybe that's good, though. It helps us keep what they do in perspective."

Tournament pairings

CBS yesterday announced its announcer and production assignments for this week's NCAA tournament first- and second-round games, with its lead team, Dick Stockton and Billy Packer, coming to Baltimore for East Regional games Thursday and Saturday.

The rest of the Thursday-Saturday assignments: Sean McDonough and Bill Raftery in Dayton, Ohio, in the Midwest; Mike Gorman and Ann Meyers in Memphis, Tenn., in the Southeast; and Ted Robinson and Derrek Dickey in Salt Lake City for West games, including the Maryland-Gonzaga matchup at approximately 10:30 p.m. Thursday

The Friday-Sunday assignments have Verne Lundquist and Quinn Buckner working in Tallahassee, Fla., in the Southeast; Dave Sims and Dan Bonner in the Midwest in Austin, Texas; Mike Emrick and George Raveling in Albany, N.Y., for East games; and Tim Ryan and Al McGuire doing West games in Boise, Idaho.

Passing on the replacements

KTVT, the flagship television station of the Texas Rangers' network for the past 10 years, announced yesterday that it would not carry replacement games.

Brian Jones, KTVT's station manager, said the club's contract did not cover games played by nonunion players. The team is expected to try to find another carrier.

Terrapin travails

Remember last week how those big-time college basketball announcers had divergent opinions on what would happen to Maryland in the postseason?

Well, their opinions are still radically different, except they have gone the other way. Packer, who last week said he thought Maryland, the No. 3 seed in the West, had an outside chance at a top NCAA tournament seed, has told his partner, Jim Nantz, that the Terps are "vulnerable."

In fact, Nantz has gone so far as to pick Texas to beat Maryland in a potential second-round meeting Saturday.

Meanwhile, ESPN's Dick Vitale, who correctly said Maryland had no chance at a top seed, is now picking the Terps to reach the Final Four, meaning they likely would have to go through top-seeded UCLA and second-seeded Connecticut.

"I like Maryland with coach Gary Williams back," said Vitale. "They're going to be rocking and rolling out there. I like them to beat UCLA."

Go figure.

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