Fox pair on replay fence

ON MEDIA

October 21, 2005|By RAY FRAGER

Fox will have 26 cameras trained on each game of the World Series. The way things have gone this postseason, that's not good news if you're an umpire.

During a teleconference yesterday with Fox's Series announcers, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, the question of instant replay review naturally came up because of this fall's playoff series with phantom tags and strikeouts that weren't.

"I don't want to see it because I'm a traditionalist," McCarver said. " ... But you could make the case based on this postseason."

"We all want to see the games umpired correctly," Buck said. "[A bad call] takes away from the game.

"I'm starting to sway [in favor of limited use of replay] ... a list of a handful of things on which an umpire can look at the replay."

As for the matchup between the Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros [Game 1, tomorrow, 8 p.m.; pre-game at 7:30, WBFF/Channel 45, WTTG/Channel 5], Buck said: "It's kind of a throwback World Series.

"It should be pitching heavy, two teams that know how to move runners along, two teams that have to scrap. ... I don't see the offense going nuts for either side."

McCarver said: "I can't remember a World Series that has had as many quality starters. ... You can make a case that every starting pitcher in this Series is a top-notch starter."

No Piniella

Guest analyst Lou Piniella had been scheduled to join Buck and McCarver for the Series, but it's unclear now whether he'll be on the air. Piniella, the former Tampa Bay Devil Rays manager, will be staying home in Florida because of the impending Hurricane Wilma. Fox is holding out hope Piniella could work the Series if the storm's effects don't keep him in Florida.

Buck and McCarver said they enjoyed working with him and wanted him back.

"We had to ask our mom if we could have Lou sleep over," Buck said.

Eye on Sunday

Hey, CBS gave us Rich Gannon doing the Ravens-Cleveland Browns game Sunday. Hey, Gannon is a broadcasting neophyte. Hey, Gannon clearly is at the bottom of the network's analyst ladder.

But someone should tell him to stop introducing thoughts by saying, "Hey."

And while I'm complaining, how long were we supposed to wait until CBS showed a clear replay of Todd Heap's touchdown? As Gannon might say: Hey, they haven't been scoring that many.

So Heap scores. Then the extra point. Then a commercial. Then the kickoff. Then a commercial. Then, finally, a replay that showed Heap across the goal line when he caught the pass.

Just enthusiastic

When an official got knocked down during Sunday's Ravens game, radio commentator Tom Matte sure sounded as if he were cheering the shot taken by the referee. Play-by-play man Scott Garceau at least half-kiddingly called Matte on it. Matte responded by saying he was just pumped for a positive offensive play by the Ravens.

Also during the game, part-time - and we should be glad of that - analyst Michael Mc- Crary reacted to an overthrow by Browns quarterback Trent Dilfer by saying: "That's the Dilfer I know." As opposed to the Dilfer who helped put a Super Bowl ring on McCrary's finger.

Tuned in

Because I know how much you love ratings news - I probably get just as many e-mails about ratings information as I do requests for autographed pictures of Peter Schmuck - there is this from St. Louis: On Monday night, with the Cardinals in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series and the Rams playing the Indianapolis Colts, more than half of all TV homes in the market were tuned to sports. The NLCS drew a 39.9 rating, the Monday Night game a 14.0.

ray.frager@baltsun.com

Top-rated sports

Highest-rated sports programming for Baltimore for Oct. 12-Oct. 18 (ratings measure the percentage of television households watching a program):

Program ..................... Date ............. Ch. ................. Rtg.

Ravens-Browns ....... 10/16 ............... 13 .................. 16.3

Pats-Broncos ........... 10/16 ............... 13 ................. 12.8

Rams-Colts ............. 10/17 .................. 2 .................. 9.7

ALCS Gm. 5 ........... 10/16 ................ 45 .................. 5.8

ALCS Gm. 2 ........... 10/12 ............... 45 ................... 5.6

USC-ND ................. 10/15 ................ 11 .................. 5.5

Skins-Chiefs .......... 10/16 ................ 45 ................. 5.5

Texans-Shwks ....... 10/16 ............. ESPN .............. 5.5

ALCS Gm. 3 ........... 10/14 ................. 45 ................. 5.2

NLCS Gm. 5 .......... 10/17 ................ 45 ................. 4.9

[ Nielsen ratings courtesy of WBAL-TV]

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