WHILE FORMER University of Maryland golf coach Fred Funk was battling his way to the biggest PGA victory of his career on Monday, local television viewers were transfixed on WBAL, where Lisa Marie Presley was pouring out her heart to Oprah.
Let's go to the show capsule on the Oprah Web site: "Everything you wanted to know about Lisa Marie Presley - marriage ... men ... motherhood."
Don't know about you, but if Lisa Marie isn't Freddie Funk's wife or the mother of his children, I'm thinking, how about a little coverage of The Players Championship?
It gets better. Dr. Phil, the opening act in Oprah's daily two-hour touchy-feely-thon, was on from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. with a show on - get this - obsessed sports fans. The two shows aired right in the middle of the rain-delayed final round of the TPC. Funk's dramatic finish actually came on after 6 p.m., during the news, but a lot of important golf stuff happened while Dr. Phil was helping sicko sports nuts save their marriages and Lisa Marie was talking about her strange union with Jacko (an ironic bit of scheduling in itself).
Of course, if you're an obsessed golf fan and you are either wealthy enough or unemployed enough not to have to work Monday afternoon, you've got to be outraged. Golf is a religion. Funk is a local hero. What were they thinking up there on Television Hill?
WBAL-TV's president and general manager, Bill Fine, said they were thinking pretty clearly. It was a huge news day, what with the earthquake in Asia and the heart-wrenching Terri Schiavo saga, and picking up four hours of golf would have lapped over the evening news as well as several popular afternoon programs.
"We were in a no-win situation," Fine said. "When we were making the decision, they weren't even sure the golf wouldn't carry over until Tuesday. They couldn't guarantee that they were going to crown a champion."
There's also the small issue of ratings. The golf tournament may have been compelling, but it grabbed only a 3.3 rating in Washington. Oprah, Dr. Phil and the news all scored in double figures for WBAL. That's means there was three times the audience for Lisa Marie, and I don't even find her that attractive.
"If we had put on the golf, we would have gotten a multiple of angry calls, compared to what we got from the golf crowd," Fine said.
That said, NBC reported that more than 90 percent of its affiliates carried the golf coverage, which means almost everyone except the biggest station in Fred Funk's home state.
The ongoing compensation negotiations between Peter Angelos and Major League Baseball have been ongoing so long that I'm starting to wonder what could be the big holdup. So, here's my Top Ten list of unreasonable demands that might be standing in the way of an agreement to protect the Orioles from adverse financial impact:
10. Nationals must have Baltimore on road jerseys.
9. Orioles get naming rights to Washington Monument.
8. New television network to be called "O's TV and that other team."
7. Nationals must pick up remainder of Sammy Sosa salary, and provide limo.
6. Syd Thrift to be named Nationals GM for life.
5. Nats fans must agree to shout "O!" during national anthem.
4. Nats games can be televised only in Las Vegas, Portland, Ore., and Monterrey, Mexico.
3. Sidney Ponson gets to throw out ceremonial first punch at home opener.
2. New team must be called the Baltimore Nationals of Washington.
1. All Nationals trades must be negotiated between Peter Angelos and MLB president Bob DuPuy for a minimum of six months.
The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry took an interesting turn this week, when The New York Times published an editorial criticizing the Yankees' proposal for a new stadium in The Bronx and Yankees president Randy Levine countered with a veiled accusation that the paper - which holds a small ownership stake in the Red Sox - is biased against its hometown team.
This not really just in: Yankees officials began getting suspicious when Times reporters started letting their hair grow out and stopped shaving during the ALCS last year.
Final thought: Kevin Eck's impassioned defense of professional wrestling on yesterday's Kickoff page (subliminal final thought: Kevin is a loon) got me to thinking. With newspaper deadlines getting earlier and earlier, maybe it's time for us to embrace a sport that can send in results the day before the event.