Former New York Yankees catcher Rick Cerone has emerged as the top choice to take over color analyst duties on Orioles telecasts this year, sources said yesterday.
Cerone, who has been an analyst on Yankees telecasts for Madison Square Garden Network as well as on playoff broadcasts for baseball's international feeds, may meet with Home Team Sports officials early next week and could be signed to a contract by the end of next week.
Cerone joins former manager and Fox television analyst Jeff Torborg and former Orioles John Lowenstein and Rick Dempsey as candidates to replace Mike Flanagan, who left the Orioles' booth to become the team's pitching coach. Cerone has not done a full schedule of games before, but is said to be intrigued by the chance to do at least 90 games on an Orioles schedule.
"That's something that a lot of announcers want -- the opportunity to do a lot of games -- and I think that appeals to him," a source close to the process said.
HTS supervising producer Chris Glass confirmed that Cerone is on the list of candidates but declined to speculate on his status.
They've got happy feet
As it is during most weeks of the football season, the story of Sunday's conference championship games is the four quarterbacks who will try to lead their teams to the Super Bowl, and their common abilities to make things happen as much with their feet as with their arms.
In the NFC game, for instance, San Francisco's Steve Young and Green Bay's Brett Favre have both shown no hesitation about running for yardage and showing a nasty streak when the moment calls for it.
"They'll both run. They'll both block, and they'll get in people's faces if they have to. They're kind of like nose tackles or linebackers in the body of a quarterback," Fox's John Madden said about Young and Favre.
Meanwhile, in the AFC, if Denver's John Elway is the wiser old head with the knowledge to know when a scramble is appropriate, then his Pittsburgh counterpart, Kordell Stewart, has emerged as a newer model with happier feet and a world of potential.
"When you get to be a 15-year veteran, you get to rely on instinct and experience. Elway has that and he still has the mobility and experience," said Sam Wyche of NBC. "Kordell Stewart will gain that experience and as he gains that, we'll talk about him as the model for quarterbacks for years to come."
NBC and Fox will set up broadcast operations at the respective sites Sunday, NBC's AFC game coming from Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium with pre-game festivities commencing at noon, and the Fox show coming from the stadium formerly known as Candlestick Park at 3: 30 p.m.
Meanwhile, ESPN's "NFL Countdown" (Sunday, 11: 30 a.m.) Meanwhile, ESPN's "NFL Countdown" (Sunday, 11: 30 a.m.) promises an interesting feature on the relationships between Young and Green Bay coach Mike Holmgren, a former 49ers assistant, and Favre and former Packers assistant Steve Mariucci, San Francisco's coach.
CBS yesterday announced a couple of additions to its Olympic roster in advance of next month's Winter Games in Nagano, Japan.
Al Trautwig, who has done Olympic duty on all three networks, will join Michele Tafoya as host of the network's late-night shows, replacing Pat O'Brien, who left CBS for a syndicated entertainment show.
CBS also has tapped Ekaterina Gordeeva as a special correspondent for the Games. Gordeeva, who won two Olympic gold medals with her late husband, Sergei Grinkov, in the figure skating pairs competition, will do interviews and provide commentary in Nagano.
Around the dial
Two intriguing television events come on Monday. First, the Harlem Globetrotters will play in their 20,000th game, as they meet the New York Nationals (you were hoping for the Washington Generals, maybe?) from the Tri-County High School Remington, Ind., at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.
Then, at 10 p.m., the premiere of the latest "Real Sports" on HBO takes a look at the world of sports memorabilia with a focus on items that are held up as legitimately signed by stars, but are, in fact, phony. The Orioles' Cal Ripken is identified as one of the most victimized by the trend.
In addition, "Real Sports" has a frightening feature on disruptive and alcohol-fueled fan behavior at sporting events, as well as a fascinating profile on former Dallas Cowboys running back Duane Thomas, who went through an entire season without talking to his teammates. Once again, "Real Sports" turns in a real winner.
For some unexplained reason, Robin Roberts will interview actor and former boxer Tony Danza for her "In the SportsLight" show tonight at 7: 30 on ESPN. Among other things, Danza says that he has been boycotting boxing lately because of its image.
Pub Date: 1/09/98