In new job as analyst, Baker manages to offer his views on Orioles

ON MEDIA

Commentary

The Kickoff

March 23, 2007|By RAY FRAGER

Dusty Baker is ready to stop being mad and start getting to work.

The hurt of losing his job as Chicago Cubs manager lasted for quite a while, but now Baker has become an ESPN baseball analyst.

"I feel great," he said in a conference call this week. "I feel recharged and renewed and I'm ready to charge into my new job."

Part of that new job is answering questions from newspaper types who want to know what he thinks about the hometown team. So, Dusty, how about those Orioles?

"They got power arms and pretty good offense ... but anybody that's in that division, you have to compete with the big three," Baker said Wednesday in a phone interview with The Sun, referring to the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays.

Baker said the Orioles' efforts to solve last year's relief problems made sense, because "like Yogi Berra said, `If you don't have a bullpen, you don't have nothing.' "

However, Baker added that the club might need to revamp its bullpen again soon while banking on its young starting rotation.

"If you can build your pitching staff from within ... during that period, you may change your bullpen three-four times," Baker said.

Though Baker didn't see a lot of the Orioles last year, he followed former Cub Corey Patterson, of whom he clearly remains a fan.

"[Patterson] was about to prosper and then he got hurt" with Chicago, Baker said.

And then there was Brandon Fahey, whose appearance in the majors surprised Baker, who knew Fahey's father, Bill, a former major league player and coach.

"I was shocked," Baker said. "I didn't know [Brandon Fahey] was going to be that old."

Nothing Extra

Wednesday's news that Major League Baseball rejected the latest offer from In Demand to carry the Extra Innings package of out-of-market games doesn't bode well for anyone without DirecTV who wants it. In Demand, available via cable television, said it had matched DirecTV's terms with MLB. Not only did MLB disagree, but baseball turned down the offer less than hour after receiving it, according to The New York Times.

One issue is the number of subscribers who would receive baseball's new MLB Channel in 2009, the Times said. In Demand apparently figures it only has to match DirecTV's number of 15 million, the report said, but MLB wants In Demand to make the channel available to a matching percentage of digital customers - 80 percent, (more than 25 million).

Delayed release

The problem was not with your radio or TV set. If you tried to listen to the Maryland basketball radio broadcasts on WHFS (105.7 FM) or ESPN Radio 1300 (WJFK-1300 AM) last week while watching the NCAA tournament games on CBS, you would have noticed about a 20- to 25-second delay between what happened on TV and what you heard on radio.

That's because WHFS and WJFK, like many others, employ a delay on live broadcasts to protect against obscenities going out over the air, station management said. With the Federal Communications Commission ready to fine broadcasters at $300,000 a pop, the caution is understandable. However, CBS said it uses no delay on live sports telecasts.

I'm sure all of you are suddenly thinking, "wardrobe malfunction."

Come baseball season, Orioles broadcasts on WHFS will have a three- to four-second delay, the station said. So don't you try shouting out anything nasty to Joe Angel and think it's getting on the air.

Tournament leftovers

Is CBS' Gus Johnson sometimes over the top? Certainly, but his call of last week's Ohio State-Xavier game was entirely appropriate. ... Not to dump on Kevin Harlan again, but why could he not be more exact about Duke's previous first-round NCAA loss other than to say it was the first time in a long time? Nobody could have flipped through a media guide and found out it last happened in 1996? ... NCAA coverage dominated the local ratings for sports programming in the past week. You have to go down to the 16th spot in Baltimore's Top 25 before seeing something other than a college basketball game - Sunday's NASCAR race on WBFF (Channel 45).

ray.frager@baltsun.com

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