College game shows boost in quality


The TV Repairman:

Fans watching the College World Series on ESPN the past week have probably noticed the quality of play has been at a higher level than usual and exciting. Fred Lynn, the analyst and former ballplayer, explains why:

"They caught a break this year with the [major-league] draft being so early. Normally, it's in the middle of the series and kids come here thinking they can improve their ranking quite a bit if they have a good showing in the early games. The pressure's on.

"With the draft out of the way, it seems everyone showed up here more relaxed and better able to concentrate on the job at hand."

CBS will send along the title game tomorrow (1-4:30 p.m.) with Orioles farmhand Paul Carey aboard as an analyst. Carey, hors de combat due to injury, had a spectacular CWS while at Stanford, whacking an extra-inning grand slam off LSU's Ben McDonald in the 1987 semifinals.

* Boxing returns to the network for the first time since, what, Carmen Basilio's time, when Eye of Sports (CBS) sends along the Junior Jones-Orlando Fernandez matchup from Atlantic City Sunday (1 p.m.). These guys are only junior featherweights (122 limit), so you have to watch closely. More fisticuffs will be included on the June 26 show.

* Clint Smith was a forward on the team the last time the New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup in 1940. He recalls that when the Broadway Blues prevailed, it wasn't that big a deal in the newspapers the next day: "The big headline was 'DiMag ends holdout.' In smaller type it was 'Rangers win Stanley Cup.' "

* ESPN carries an interesting Arena Football League matchup tonight (at 8), the Las Vegas Sting visiting the Milwaukee Mustangs. Lou Saban coaches the Sting (job No. 367) and his quarterback way back in the early days of the AFL, Babe Parilli, is the Mustangs mentor.

* Gee, ain't that a great and innovative idea, CBS filling its NFL void on Sunday afternoon with movies (based on romance novels, no less)? At least it saves Channel 11 the trouble of digging into the archives for old "Barney Miller" and "M*A*S*H" episodes.

* NBC commentator Bill Walton's contention that "TV commercials and the marketing of basketball are glorifying trash-talking, taunting and violence" is so valid the NBA should designate him as a committee of one to straighten it out.

* Less than a month (July 7) before the Channel 2 cameras roll into place and the Baltimore (CFL) Colts start their journey to immortality by taking on the Toronto Argonauts. It'll be first of six regular-season games on WMAR, three of them from Memorial Stadium.

* Folks can start ordering "The Official History of Baseball" cassettes from Orion Video next week and the two-tape set ($25) will be in video stores later this month. Its producer, Phoenix Communications, has been doing yeoman work on baseball for years. It should serve nicely until Ken Burns' 18-hour epic "Baseball" hits the tube later this year.

* It looks as if young Kenny Albert, former Skipjacks announcer and now working Washington Caps games on HTS, will be joining Fox as one of its NFL play-by-play guys.

* Wild horses couldn't drag the results of last fall's Ironman Triathlon out of me because that would spoil your enjoyment of the event being shown on NBC Sunday (1 p.m.).

* It's feast or famine for you Formula One fans, ABC hitting you with the Detroit Grand Prix and ESPN checking in with the Canadian Grand Prix Sunday. Thing is, they're on at the same time: 2 p.m.

* An hour before the Belmont Stakes makes it to ABC tomorrow (4:30 p.m.), ESPN will be on hand providing coverage of earlier races.

* Watching Rangers goalie Mike Richter thwart Pavel Bure of Vancouver on a penalty shot Tuesday night was nearly as gripping as watching a pitcher try to finish off a no-hitter . . . and there weren't several timeouts included to drag it out.

* Don Cherry , who does commentary for Hockey Night in Canada on CBC says, "The hardest job my wife has is to not keep smiling when she drops me off at the airport."

* There's no replacement bout for the cancelled Riddick Bowe-Buster Mathis Jr. bout slated for tomorrow night on HBO. Bowe hurt his back while training in California.

* CBS golf producer/director Frank Chirkinian almost apologized for embarrasing unknown participant Jeff Wagner during a telecast of the Kemper Open last week. "We may have been a little insensitive," he told USA Today, "but we made a hero out of the kid the next day." Right, Frank, you are to be praised.

* Didn't Dan Quayle , unannounced candidate for the Presidency in 1996, flub a golden opportunity by not showing up courtside for the New York Knicks-Indiana Pacers series, a la twerpy Spike Lee?

* The finish of NBA playoff games are so tedious with three or four timeouts and a torrent of commercials turning the last 10 seconds into 10 minutes, sometimes even loss of picture and audio would prove a relief.

* Please, Federal Communications Commission, add the expression "all that and more," uttered by sportscasters and news anchor incessantly to the seven banned words.

* The NCAA lacrosse championship game will be shown on CBS a week from tomorrow, which should give you sufficient time to forget who won if you work at it.

* The big noise at the recent French Open (NBC) wasn't the fact that Steffi Graf got beat by Mary Pierce in the semifinals but that it broke the streak of Fraulein Forehand (thanks, Bud Collins) making it to 20 consecutive finals. . . . NBC did D-Day in reverse earlier this week, heading for London where it does Wimbledon. HBO will be sending along daily shows beginning June 20.

* ESPN reached 120 countries with its Stanley Cup coverage, many where ice is strictly a rumor, including Great Britain. . . . The baseball game on ESPN Sunday (8 p.m.) is Cards-Phillies, both stumblers to this point.

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