Baltimoreans will want to catch this early Monday history lesson


August 20, 1999|By Milton Kent

No city revels in its past, or wallows in it, depending on your perspective, like Baltimore. So it's a given that television sets around town will be punched in to ESPN in the early hours of Monday morning.

That's when a lovely tribute to Memorial Stadium, the great lady at the corner of East 33rd Street and Ellerslie Avenue, airs as a segment of "NFL Films Presents."

The piece isn't long -- only about 10 minutes -- but it will give old-timers a reminder of how things here used to be and provide the younger generation a primer on the traditions of one of the venerable facilities in American sports.

Long on sentiment, the segment opens with a recording of longtime Colts radio voice Chuck Thompson framed against the current decaying structure, which awaits the wrecking ball.

But the piece conjures up all the memories of glory days gone by, aided by recollections from former Baltimore football players like Ordell Braase, Art Donovan and Johnny Sample as well as from Baltimore Colts' Band leader John Ziemann and home movies from fans.

NFL Films president Steve Sabol chats up Lenny Moore and Tom Matte from where they once ran to daylight, but the most moving moment comes from the foggy 1964 day when Gino Marchetti played in his last home game with his parents in attendance.

For some, the notion that NFL Films, the propaganda arm of the NFL, would honor Memorial Stadium when the league essentially turned its back on the city after the Colts left, will be bitterly ironic. And it would have been nice to see the place Vince Lombardi called the "world's largest outdoor insane asylum" draw more than a 10-minute salute.

But you have to take what you can get, and this segment, airing at 12: 30 a.m. Monday, with a re-airing that afternoon at 3: 30, is worth quite a bit.

Moving on

Well, Baltimoreans, it appears we've had our 15 minutes of NFL pre-game fame, and it is over. ABC has announced that it's taking the "Monday Night Football" studio shows to New York.

Last year's "MNF" pre-game show and halftime segment originated from the ESPN Zone in the Inner Harbor. With kickoff moved to 9 p.m., the pre-game element has been eliminated, and the network has decided to air Chris Berman's highlights package and Al Michaels' interviews from the new ESPN Zone in Times Square.

Personnel moves

"SportsCenter's" Dan Patrick will begin as host of a daily talk show for ESPN Radio next month, but Baltimoreans won't hear it, since its 1-4 p.m. time slot is right in the midst of WBAL's talk bloc.

Patrick is expected to trim his 11 p.m. "SportsCenter" appearances, and that will affect his partner, Kenny Mayne. Mayne will get more airings on the 1 a.m. show. Stuart Scott and Rich Eisen, who currently work the 1 a.m. shift, are expected to move to the 11 p.m. slot, when Patrick and Mayne aren't there.

As you may have already heard, former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Fratello joined Turner this week as an NBA analyst. Fratello, who was NBC's first lead NBA color man, may be paired with Marv Albert, with whom he worked at NBC.

Above-par ratings

The PGA Championship ratings news just got better for CBS, as the national numbers came in yesterday, showing that Sunday's final round was the second-highest final round of any major this year.

Sunday's 6.9/18 rating and share placed behind the 10.1/22 for the final round of the Masters on CBS in April, but ahead of the U.S. Open (6.8/19 for NBC) and the British Open (4.8/14 for ABC).

Locally, the final quarter hour of Sunday's round did an 11.5/21 on Channel 13.

Around the dial

The prestige viewing event of the weekend is the opening of the World Track and Field Championships from Seville, Spain. NBC (Channel 11) will air competition on tape at noon and again at 3: 30 p.m. Sunday, with TBS picking up coverage Monday morning at 12: 40 a.m. Tom Hammond will do play-by-play for both outlets, with Dwight Stones, Carol Lewis and Marty Liquori doing the color.

Yet another winner from "Real Sports," which premieres a new episode Monday (HBO, 10: 15 p.m.). This one includes fascinating profiles of new South Carolina football coach Lou Holtz and of Miami Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson as well as a look into how easily androstenedione is accessible to kids. Also, Armen Keteyian examines the case of a former Orlando Magic assistant coach who is suing the team, claiming his 1992 firing was due to reverse discrimination.

On the links, NBC airs the final two rounds of the U.S. Amateur Championships, with coverage of tomorrow's round commencing at 4 p.m., and the conclusion -- a 36-hole match-play format -- coming at 4: 30 p.m. Sunday. And CBS (Channel 13) will pick up the International tournament with its unconventional scoring format tomorrow (4 p.m.) and Sunday (3 p.m.).

Finally, tucked in among the NFL exhibition games, including tomorrow's Ravens-Atlanta game (Channel 13, 7 p.m. pre-game) is ABC's presentation of Arena Bowl XIII, pitting the Albany Firebirds against the Orlando Predators tomorrow (Channel 2, 3 p.m.).

Week's ratings

The ratings for the top 10 most-watched sporting events on broadcast television in Baltimore during the past week (R-Rating; S-Share):

Event Day Ch. R/S

O's-Twins Tue. 13 10.6/18

Ravens-Eagles Sat. 13 10.5/18

Orioles-Indians Fri. 13 9.5/17

Jets-Packers Sat. 13 6.0/11

Ravens pre-game Sat. 13 5.7/11

PGA Champ. Sat. 13 4.2/11

Orioles-Indians Sat. 45 4.2/11

Base. pre-game Sat. 45 3.7/11

Mystics-Sparks Sat. 11 3.5/9

PGA Late Night Thu. 13 2.8/9

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