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Frager: Steady diet of Ripken offers much iron, few archival clips

Ray Frager

Medium Well

July 20, 2007

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And now back to our regularly scheduled sports media notebook, but there's no need to TiVo it.

• Comcast SportsNet doesn't carry Orioles games anymore, but it still has plenty of Cal Ripken Jr. Hall of Fame coverage. It will run a series of features daily on SportsNite starting Sunday, and Chick Hernandez and Brent Harris will report from Cooperstown, N.Y., starting Wednesday.

Comcast SportsNet also has commissioned a song for the occasion, a Ripken-centric version of Terry Cashman's "Talkin' Baseball," written and performed by Cashman.

The Orioles' current home, Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, is sending Jim Hunter to Cooperstown, and his reports will air on pre- and post-game shows starting Thursday.

• WBAL (1090 AM) has been running a series of "The Road to Cooperstown" vignettes leading up to next weekend's Hall of Fame induction. But this week, the station has added a disclaimer to each one.

As printed at WBAL's Web site, the message reads, in part: "WBAL Radio is proud to have broadcast all of the significant milestones of Cal Ripken's career. ... We wanted you to hear those moments, which originally aired on WBAL, once again. But the Baltimore Orioles and Major League Baseball have prohibited us from letting you relive those historic highlights."

Even though the original broadcasts went out over its airwaves, WBAL doesn't own the rights to game accounts, according to Major League Baseball rules, and so MLB - at the Orioles' request - advised WBAL to stop using the archival snippets. (You might have heard those clips on the Ripken countdown feature on ESPN Radio 1300 AM, but that station is owned by Orioles rights-holder CBS Radio and thus is entitled to use the audio.)

MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said: "WBAL would have had to make a request" to use the clips and the Orioles would have had to approve. According to MLB's rules, WBAL also would be prohibited from using the audio if the segments were sponsored, but station management said only about a quarter of them had sponsorship.

• The same set of MLB rules prohibits Comcast SportsNet from using game footage in any of its Ripken specials. However, when the Ripken segments appear as a part of the regular SportsNite programs, game highlights are permitted.

• Need more Cal? He'll appear Monday night at 9 on QVC, hawking a line of Hall of Fame-related collectibles. An autographed pasta cooker, maybe?

• CBS Radio already has announced ' Monday night show, but it also plans to have talk shows hosted by Ravens players every weeknight from 6 to 8 starting in September, station management said. Each show will be simulcast on WHFS (105.7 FM) and ESPN Radio 1300. New running back Willis McGahee also is in the fold, with the other three players to be determined.

• Relive the Ravens' championship season - if you have the NFL Network. Tonight at 9, the NFL Network replays the excellent documentary on the 2000 team, with extensive interviews of Lewis, Trent Dilfer and Brian Billick.

• ABC's coverage of the British Open this weekend features a piece of golf telecast history: The network's analysts, Nick Faldo and Paul Azinger, will captain the European and American squads, respectively, in next year's Ryder Cup. And ABC can call it a feature, but we can call it a commercial: Tiger Woods will offer a look at Carnoustie's closing holes using his video game.

• I had trouble falling asleep Wednesday night because I stayed up to watch the end of the Orioles-Seattle Mariners game. It wasn't that the ending upset me but that I started to watch the post-game show and was nearly blinded by Tom Davis' radioactive purple jacket, which apparently came from the Craig Sager Collection. Turning off the television didn't help - the TV stayed illuminated for a long time.

• Costas Now returns to HBO Tuesday at 10 p.m., and this is one time host Bob Costas actually might have trouble getting to say much. Among his guests is Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, and comedian Chris Rock joins the panel discussion.

ray.frager@baltsun.com