Sports television critics, it has been discovered, generally are spineless, a condition apparently exacerbated by years of laying indiscriminately on cheap couches. And sports television critics, it has been revealed, are lousy theater-goers, partly because they expect key scenes to be replayed in order to be understood properly.
One historian recounts that during the 4th century A.D., when the Visigoths invaded the Roman Empire, ancestors of sports television critics refused to fight; rather, these video progenitors could be found on the high hills outside of Rome, with transistor radio-type devices, trying to pick up late-night chariot races from the west coast of Italy.
These days, as a genetic victim of circumstance, I can only stare blankly into my rectangular looking glass, take notes on cereal box tops and report back to you -- the normal, outside world -- on the latest sights and sounds from the world of sports broadcasting: If There's Time for Weenies of the Week and Wrestling, Then There's Also Time for a Score or Two: Guilty: WRC-TV-4's George Michael and WUSA-TV-9's Glenn Brenner, on their 6 o'clock sportscasts, often will show highlights of the previous night's baseball action but will not give the score of a baseball game played that afternoon. Innocent: WJLA-TV-7's Frank Herzog, with half as much time at 6 o'clock as Michael and Brenner, almost always will relay the afternoon scores. There Are Home Run Calls and Then There Are Home Run Calls. This Was NOT a Home Run Call: During the Yankees-Orioles game at Memorial Stadium June 22, Baltimore catcher Terry Kennedy was up, and here is Orioles broadcaster Jack Wiers' play-by-play call -- "A long drive . . . Say goodbye to this one . . . It has a chance . . . No!!! It hits the wall." It's Wonderful TV (Even if You Think Bicycles Are Best When Strapped Down to Tops of Cars): Kudos to CBS Sports for its fifth consecutive year of wonderful Tour de France coverage. David Michaels led a production team that included 35 people, one helicopter, two motorcycles, four cars and a mobile unit to follow the daily racing. And Coming in 1988, It's 'Celebrity Infant Superstars,' Where Children of Famous Couples Compete in a Variety of Crib and Playpen Sports: Hoping to cash in on the popularity of the long-running "Superstars" competition, NBC's "SportsWorld" is televising "Veterans Superstars," featuring such ex-athletes as Drew Pearson, Jerry Koosman, Walt Frazier and Bob Beamon. The Answer Is Probably No: Won't ABC baseball analyst Tim McCarver ever shut up? They Fooled With the Coca-Cola Formula and Now They're Fooling With Chuck & Brooks. What's Next -- a Newfangled Sunset?: On many Orioles telecasts this season, WMAR-TV-2 has added Scott Garceau or Martin Wyatt to the broadcast booth with Chuck Thompson and Brooks Robinson. For one thing, three announcers are too many; for another, the wonderful chemistry between Thompson and Robinson is altered with an alien presence in the booth. On One Day at Least, Washington Sounded Like a Big League Baseball Town: On June 29, D.C. radio listeners got a rare treat (and choice) -- on WTOP-1500, Jon Miller was joined by veteran Boston announcer Ken Coleman during the Orioles-Red Sox broadcast from Fenway Park; at the same time, over on WMAL-630, Chuck Thompson and Jack Brickhouse were describing the National Old Timers Baseball Classic from RFK Stadium.
WUSA-TV-9 has purchased the rights to the Dec. 20 NFL game between the Redskins and Miami Dolphins from ESPN, which will also show the 8 p.m. game as part of its eight-game Sunday night schedule. The purchase is part of a contract between WUSA and ESPN that will allow WUSA to show three Redskins games also being shown on ESPN over the next three years, if there are three.