Tim McCarver and Sean McDonough, CBS announcers who will be in town for the All-Star Game telecast Tuesday (8 p.m.), had several interesting things to say about the game, the setting, the season and the network's final year of baseball coverage the other day. So, without further adieu:
McD: "One of the things I find intriguing about Camden Yards being the site is several cities are either in the process of or thinking about building new ballparks; and Camden proves that you can retain all the traditional elements of the fine old parks combined with the modern conveniences."
McC: "I'm in favor of the new playoff system starting next year. It hasn't hurt the other sports certainly, and I think it has been inevitable the last five years. I do have a little trouble with a division champ winning 105 games, say, and a second-place finisher having only 85 wins and the top team having the advantage of only one extra home game."
McD: "Since the result of the game doesn't really mean that much, I think the best thing we can do is tell stories. Stories about guys who don't get the publicity guys in the big media centers do. Players there for the first time, too."
McC: "I think it's sort of ridiculous that they went to a 28-man roster in 1969, and since then we've had several expansions yet the rosters haven't been enlarged.
"The extra spots would give you the opportunity to invite players who belong there. For instance, Eddie Murray. I think it's an injustice Eddie not going back to Baltimore where it all started for him."
(Odds are Tim probably didn't clear this statement with the Mets first baseman.)
McD: "When CBS stopped doing games every Saturday, folks at NBC and elsewhere took shots at us for destroying a chunk of Americana. Now NBC goes to mid-week and prime time next year and argues that the Saturday ratings just aren't there. The timing of the comments seems suspiciously convenient."
McC: "We [network] made some mistakes the first year. But we've done a lot of work to get where we are, and it's all going to be called in at the end of the season. That's the nature of this business, though."
* Wall-to-wall baseball on the telly actually started last night when TNT ran "Pride of the Yankees," "The Babe Ruth Story," and "Angels in the Outfield," from sundown to sunup. It's hard to believe William Bendix didn't get an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of the Bambino. Riveting.
Tomorrow's CBS game is a goody, division leaders San Francisco and Philadelphia squaring off at 3 p.m. to three-quarters of the country. It's on Channel 9 while Channel 11 is saddled with the Tigers and Royals. The pre-game show at 2:30 will have a tribute to Roy Campanella and Don Drysdale.
Monday, All-Star Game eve, everyone gets into the act. While ESPN is showing the old-timers game and home-run hitting contest, Channel 2 will have its people covering every possible angle of the festivities downtown and Channel 13 will send along three hours of excellent documentaries: "Not In Our League" and "When It Was A Game." Not to be outdone, HTS has a Double-A all-star game out of Memphis.
* Meanwhile, about 16 hours are being devoted to the U.S. Senior Golf Championship this weekend by ESPN (yesterday and today, 1-5 p.m.) and CBS (3:30 tomorrow, 3 Sunday).
Thing is, just as many people are apt to be watching the Isuzu Celebrity tournament on NBC. Strangely, the Peacock apparently passed on the PGA Tour stop in Williamsburg, Va., plus an LPGA tournament to show jocks and Hollywood types in a bogey festival.
* Ball fans hereabouts watching the Padres hand Anthony Young and the Mets a 2-0 setback Wednesday afternoon on WWOR probably felt ill seeing all the empty up-close seats at Shea Stadium.
The Mets give every indication of having tucked it in for this season, evidence coming early in the game. After their leadoff hitter in the first inning, Joe Orsulak, walked on four pitches, Howard Johnson offered at the first two errant serves, tapping into a fielder's choice.
"That's bad baseball," announcer Tim McCarver groaned, a term he's used perhaps a million times during Met telecasts this season.
* The only problem with horse racing's push to come up with a more enticing package of races for network consumption is the more popular sports are doing the same thing to hold onto what they have.
Similar to baseball's deal starting next season, wherein the game no longer will be commanding a rights fee, collegiate sports are heading in that direction with pay-per-view packages entering the picture. As time goes by, the networks will be less and less inclined to pick up the tab for sports.
* While locally-produced sports shows have long struggled for decent audiences because of less-than-desirable scheduling times, the "Boog and the Birds" show Sundays at noon on Channel 13 has been going great guns almost since its inception.
Consistent ratings of 3 with an occasional 4 thrown in is excellent going against movies on the other Baltimore channels.
* Great line from John McEnroe during the telecast of the Wimbledon final. They were talking about his fledgling days at the Big W in the late 1970s and, to give indication of how raw he was, "SuperBrat" said, "I thought the English press was funny, too."
Overall, Chris Evert did a nice job commenting, but her assessment that the Steffi Graf-Jana Novotna final "raised women's play to a new level" sort of fell flat in the face of Novotna pulling one of the all-time fades at the end.
* Metro Teleproductions of Silver Spring is taping the syndicated show "Ed Randall Talking Baseball" Tuesday at the Baltimore Convention Center and encourages fans to drop by for shows at 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. * Roller hockey, seen afternoons on ESPN, looks like great fun to play, but there it ends. The horrible, shrieking announcer together with stupid features and side talk is strike three after the mostly disorganized action.
* The heat wave combined with the All-Star Game recalls a similar situation when Busch Stadium II opened in St. Louis years ago. Casey Stengel was asked what he thought of the downtown ballpark hard by the famed Arch and he replied, "It holds the heat very well."
* Those Mighty Ducks of Anaheim haven't even set out on their first extended losing streak and, already, Prime Ticket (cable) of Los Angeles has them penciled in for 165 showings during a five-year period.
* Robbie Knievel and Eddie Kidd attempt to fly their motorcycles a record 200 feet over cars tonight (9) on pay-per-view, both carrying helmetcams. Just in case, an ambulancecam is standing by.