IN A CORNER:
Why didn't ESPN viewers see Tom Brunansky's pennant-clinching catch against the White Sox Wednesday?
Said ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys: "The decision was made to use the cameras to isolate on reaction shots of an anticipated celebration, consciously knowing that we were gambling on a small corner of the right field, that if something happened there, we wouldn't catch it."
Most baseball fans in the Boston area were unable to watch last Saturday's CBS broadcast of the crucial Red Sox-Blue Jays game because of strange circumstances.
New England Sports Network, which is partially owned by the Red Sox and reaches only 17 percent of the area's households, showed the game. Under normal circumstances, both CBS and NESN would air. However, the Red Sox held the network to a clause in the baseball contract that allows for local blackouts on the final two Saturdays of the season. Despite hundreds of phone calls, the team held its stance and most fans were stuck with the Reds-Padres game.
SUCH A LOVELY PLACE:
During the baseball season, ESPN's Chris Berman often opened his West Coast broadcasts by declaring "Welcome to the Hotel California," in reference to The Eagles' hit song. It became as synonymous as his player nicknames.
But during the network's final West Coast telecast -- Tuesday's Padres-Dodgers game in Los Angeles -- Berman's comedy act conflicted with the game. The preceding Red Sox-White Sox game didn't end until about 11:20 p.m., forcing ESPN to join the late matchup in progress.
Instead of going directly to the action, which was in the third inning, ESPN used a distant shot of trees behind Dodger Stadium with "Hotel California" playing in the backround. Suddenly, a white blur raced across the screen. While Berman was reciting lyrics over the air, San Diego's Gerald Clark had hit a home run.
Saturday's edition of "Sports Business" on cable network CNBC (10:30 a.m.) will feature a discussion on the future of sports rights on television. Guests will include Bob Wussler, president and CEO of COMSAT; Sean McManus from International Management Group; and Len DeLuca, vice president of program planning for CBS Sports.