Viewers: Bear with McCarver, Buck and CBS -- if only to spite Howard Cosell


The TV Repairman: CBS does the first of its 16 baseball games tomorrow (Tigers at White Sox, 1 p.m., Channel 11), promising the announcing team of Jack Buck and Tim McCarver will be better than last year.

It's not often a network goes around bad-mouthing its talent, which, in this case, appears unjustified. The two easy-to-take veterans worked just fine together.

Howard Cosell, in his latest diatribe, "What's Wrong With Sports," says McCarver is "unbearable" as an announcer, which, considering the source, is a ringing endorsement. So, OK, he's a tad wordy.

* ESPN has the NFL draft from noon to 6:30 p.m. Sunday with everyone but Judge Crater lined up to expert the selections. Undoubtedly, one of the stars of the show will be Mel Kiper's hair.

To get you in the grid mood, USA has a WLAF double dip tomorrow, the Raleigh-Durham Tobacconists vs. the Frankfurt Buns at 2 p.m. and the Barcelona Toreadors colliding with the San Antonio Alamos at 8.

* No word yet on when HBO, the rights holder, will show a replay of tonight's Evander Holyfield-George Foreman pay-per-view bout in Atlantic City. Hint: It could be as early as next weekend.

Think the push isn't on for TVKO, which is looking to have a fight monthly? It says it spent $10 million while promoting tonight's card.

* Masters coverage by CBS had something for everyone in the announcing department last weekend, including:

Brit Ben Wright's homerism on behalf of winner Ian Woosnam (nice reference to Jumbo Osaki, Ben) . . . Ornery Tom Weiskopf putting his foot in his yap several times . . . Gary McCord easing the tension with a chuckle or two . . . Ken Venturi giving you a chance to check out the baseball game elsewhere . . . Jim Nantz doing the best he could to lighten up the cathedral-like atmosphere in Augusta National's green jacket room . . . and the funeral home background music filling every nook and cranny.

Golfer Mark McComber, who was in the hunt right until the end, probably painted the scene best when he said, "You tell me this place isn't just made for drama."

* While on the links, an interesting duel shaping up this weekend has the Senior Tour golfers in their championship going against the regular PGA Tour in the Heritage Classic. Fortunately for the younger guys, they're not going head-to-head. The geezers got a flying start with first- and second-round coverage yesterday and today on USA Network.

* They liken ex-catcher Bob Montgomery to Dizzy Dean in Boston for such Red Sox cable TV gems as, "Four times Jack Clark has gone to the plate and four times he drug that lumber back to the dugout."

* The Chicago publisher who produced the program for the first night game in Wrigley Field and the yearbook closing old Comiskey Park last fall has 50,000 programs for the opening of the new Comiskey ready to go at $8 a pop. Write Sherman Media, 320 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 305, Chicago, IL 60601.

Which begs the question, when is some video outfit going to capitalize on the collecting craze and jump into the special events business?

* If you're not up to here with the Mark Spitz saga already, be advised Bud Greenspan is working on a documentary on the swimmer's magnificent show at the 1972 Olympics for NBC. Meanwhile, Mark figures to embarrass himself anew next week in another made-for-TV (ABC) race against a real butterfly ace, Matt Biondi.

* Considering the debt the state is running, viewers can look for Annapolis to lay a hefty sales tax on their monthly cable bill now that the U.S. Supreme Court has given its go-ahead.

* Rumors persist that Bill Parcells could end up working for NBC analyzing pro football. So why would a good coach want to swap jobs and be a lousy announcer?

* Indiana coach Bobby Knight's Adidas commercial wherein he suggests additional scholarship revenue can be gained by "charging news media people for attending games" is cute. Maybe a better idea would be to have Knight contribute his income from sneaker and clothing contracts to the cause.

* Bullets announcer Charlie Slowes is going to pick up some work this summer filling in on Mets' radio . . . ESPN has kicked off an update show covering women's tennis to run Thursdays at 2:30 p.m. . . . The Twins will have 34 of their home games on pay-per-view at $8 per this summer. Uh, who's charging whom here?

* Maryland was fortunate to escape the Independence Bowl with the money promised considering bankrupt Mizlou Sports stiffed the organizers $150,000 . . . Request Television, alias pay-par-view, will have three fights in June: Virgil Hill vs. Tommy Hearns, June 3, $30; Edwin Rosario vs. Loreto Garza, June 14, $20; Mike Tyson vs. Razor Ruddock in Desert Storm II, June 28, $35.

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