Channel surfing for laughs

ON MEDIA

Monster Jams to NBA slams

June 09, 2006|By RAY FRAGER

In the spirit of - or a blatant rip-off of, depending on your view - Entertainment Weekly's "What to Watch" feature, today I take a stroll through the coming week's sports television offerings.

French Open, today, 10 a.m., NBC: Men's semifinals. Being this is Breakfast at Roland Garros, the losers would be French toast.

We Live Outdoors, today, noon, OLN: If you do, how can you pick up OLN?

B.A.S.S. Insider, tomorrow, 8 a.m., ESPN: Insider? You just knew, with those mouths wide-open, the fish were talking.

Celebrity Poker Showdown, tomorrow, 10 a.m., Bravo: Andrea Martin? Please tell me you're playing as Edith Prickley. (Kids, ask your parents about SCTV.)

2006 World SWAT Challenge, tomorrow, 4 p.m., OLN: Just guessing here, but maybe it has something to do with the We Live Outdoors people and mosquitoes.

Sports Reporters, Sunday, 10 a.m., ESPN: In which Mitch Albom has to explain again to Bob Ryan why he isn't one of the five people you meet in heaven.

Orioles at Minnesota Twins, Sunday, 2 p.m., Channel 13: During the seventh-inning stretch, Jim Hunter and Buck Martinez arm-wrestle for the right to be called "The Silver Fox."

Eight Men Out, Sunday, 8 p.m., ESPN Classic: A recap of the Orioles' disabled list.

NCAA baseball, Monday, 1 p.m., ESPN: You'll be hearing that pinging in your ears all day.

The Hot List, Monday, 3 p.m., ESPNEWS: No need for me to check. I know I'm not on it.

Pardon the Interruption, Monday, 5:30 p.m., ESPN: When's the last time you heard one of those guys say, "Excuse me" while interrupting the other?

Monster Jam, Tuesday, 6 p.m., Speed: Made from freshly ground Godzilla and Mothra.

NBA Finals, Tuesday, 9 p.m., ABC: Put pictures of Miami Heat coach Pat Riley and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban next to each other, and which one looks like he's worth a billion bucks?

Jim Rome Is Burning, Wednesday, 4:30 p.m., ESPN: Some jokes are too obvious even for me.

SportsNite, Thursday, 6:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet: What, two dudes are anchoring tonight? No way I'm watching this.

Not stumped

If you've always wanted a shot to Stump the Schwab, your chance is coming. Auditions for the ESPN sports trivia show will be held Thursday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Shuckers (1629 Thames St.). The Schwab is ESPN researcher Howie Schwab. But if you didn't know that, you probably shouldn't bother auditioning.

Homer translation

With a Seattle Times piece this week on baseball announcing, an accompanying chart listed catch phrases and home run calls for various announcers. The homer call for the Orioles' Joe Angel was Hasta la vista, pelota. Angel said yesterday he doesn't use that all the time, but will bring it out when a Latino player hits a home run.

U-S-A

On the eve of the World Cup, ESPN and ABC soccer analysts Alexi Lalas, Eric Wynalda and Tommy Smyth assessed the U.S. team during a news conference this week. Some highlights, as supplied by the networks:

Lalas: "What a great time it is to be a soccer fan. As far as the U.S. is concerned, this is the best team ever assembled individually and certainly collectively."

Wynalda (on the Americans' first opponent): "I think people are expecting way too much from the Czechs, and they're not healthy. This is a game I think the U.S. can win and I think that's what they are planning to do and I expect them to."

Smyth: "Obviously, if Brian McBride doesn't score, the U.S. has a problem. The whole burden will be left on McBride unless [coach Bruce] Arena moves [Landon] Donovan up from the midfield, but then they have a problem in the midfield."

ray.frager@baltsun.com

Read Ray Frager's blog at baltimoresun.com/mediumwell

TV highlights

Hockey: It has been 25 years since NBC carried the Stanley Cup Finals, and they're back with Game 3 tomorrow at 8 p.m. (WBAL/Channel 11 and WRC/Channel 4). Update: Denis Potvin won't be playing.

Auto racing: Open wheels in prime time -- the IndyCar Series Bombardier Learjet 500 tomorrow at 9 p.m. on ESPN.

Football: The 20th Arena Bowl is Sunday (3 p.m., channels 11, 4). And after 20 years, the league can't figure out better names than Rush and Predators.

[Compiled by Ray Frager]

Top-rated sports

Highest-rated sports programming for Baltimore for May 31-June 6 (ratings measure the percentage of television households watching a program):

Program Date Ch. Rtg.

Orioles-Yankees 6/3 13 5.4

Orioles-Blue Jays 6/6 CSN 4.4

Orioles-Blue Jays 6/5 CSN 4.1

Heat-Pistons 5/31 ESPN 4.0

Orioles-Yankees 6/2 CSN 3.8

Sports Unlimited 6/4 45 3.4

Orioles-Yankees 6/4 CSN 3.2

Orioles-D. Rays 5/31 CSN 3.1

Heat-Pistons 6/2 ESPN 3.0

NASCAR 6/4 FX 2.4

[Nielsen ratings courtesy of WBAL-TV]

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