Fox provides top-notch analysis, but camera work needs a step up

Media Watch

October 12, 1997|By MILTON KENT

Apparently, there's some angry chatter among, shall we say, ignorant fans in both Baltimore and Cleveland about the tone of the Fox announcers, complaining that Joe Buck, Tim McCarver and Bob Brenly are not saying the right things about their respective clubs or cities.

That kind of talk is either the work of a flagship radio station trying to entice people away from television or of folks who just don't know any better.

For instance, though it may have stung Orioles ears to hear it, McCarver was doing his job and well, in the top of the sixth, when he sharply criticized the Orioles -- and by extension, manager Davey Johnson -- for not putting Harold Baines in motion on a 3-2 pitch with Chris Hoiles at the plate.

"You can't get away from doing what's right, and sending a runner on a 3-2 pitch and a ground ball pitcher on the mound is right, even if you have been burned," said McCarver, alluding to a sequence three innings earlier when Hoiles struck out and Baines was caught attempting to get a jump on the play.

In that same sequence, Brenly was correct to wonder why, with Mike Mussina pitching so dominantly in that inning, Johnson wouldn't have Hoiles sacrificing Baines to second, with hot-hitting Mike Bordick and the top of the order coming up.

That's not beating up on the Orioles. That's doing what an analyst is supposed to do. To do anything less would be giving the national audience, not just those in Cleveland and Baltimore, short shrift.

In general, McCarver and Brenly were up to the level of the drama that unfolded at Jacobs Field, dissecting just about every nuance.

McCarver, for instance, pointed out that Mike Mussina's knuckle-curve and its downward break forced Cleveland hitters to have to look both up in the strike zone and down for the curve, making them more defensive.

In the Orioles' ninth, the truck produced a series of good replays on the telling play of the inning, as Jeff Reboulet went into second on a Jeffrey Hammonds grounder to second. The replays showed Reboulet getting his arm into the throw from Thome and McCarver said Reboulet looked into Vizquel's eyes to gauge when the throw was coming.

On the game's final play, the second replay from the center-field camera produced a shot that appeared to show Randy Myers' pitch go under Vizquel's bat, as Marquis Grissom was heading )) to the plate. McCarver and Brenly both said the pitch had been fouled, but then McCarver backed off. With the game more than an hour past its scheduled time, there wasn't time to go back and make a definitive call, and that's a shame, for a terrific game and telecast deserved better.

It's also worth noting, however, that while director Bill Webb is doing a generally good job, his tendency to stay with tight shots of hitters and pitchers or split-screens, even into the pitcher's windup, is becoming a little irritating. And it's surprising that no // mention was made of Brady Anderson's groin injury until the 11th, especially since the Fox cameras caught him getting hurt Thursday night.

ESPN's G. Miller arrested

ESPN reporter Gary Miller, who was a candidate for the Orioles' television play-by-play slot left vacant when Mel Proctor left after last season, was arrested early yesterday and charged with urinating out the window of a Cleveland nightclub onto off-duty police officers and resisting arrest.

Miller, 40, who was anchoring ESPN's coverage of the ALCS, spent the night in jail and was released on bond about two hours before yesterday's game. He returned to Connecticut to meet with network officials, an ESPN spokesman said, who added that Miller's view of what happened was different than that of the police.

Police said Miller, who joined ESPN in 1990, was seen urinating out of an upstairs window at a popular dance club in the "Flats" section of Cleveland. Two undercover officers were reportedly sprayed with urine, police said. The officers went into the club and attempted to arrest Miller, with the help of several uniformed officers. Police said Miller resisted but threw no punches.

In addition, police confiscated what they described as "drug paraphernalia" and were testing residue before issuing any further charges.

Ratings update

Thursday's Game 2 telecast scored a 25.9 rating and a 39 share of the audience for Channel 45, and Washington's Channel 5 got an 8.8/13 in the Baltimore area, for a total rating of 34.7/52.

Meanwhile, the game did a 38.2/55 in Cleveland.

Pub Date: 10/12/97

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