The TV Repairman:
Let's hear it for Bud Collins and John McEnroe, NBC analysts at Wimbledon. No sooner did Boris Becker flash an example of European gamesmanship during his quarterfinal match with Christian Bergstrom the other day when Collins yelped, "There's no doubt, [the deciding point of a tie-breaker] should be played over."
Another clear violation by Becker, overlooked by the officials of "The Championships," drew an immediate "Becker should be defaulted" from McEnroe. Mac then told a story about how Boris always seems to lapse into a coughing fit just when a big point arrives in a match:
"I started coughing, mimicking him," said McEnroe, "and Boris looked over and said, 'John, I have a cold.' 'For four years?' I replied and we played on." Becker's other breach of tennis etiquette has been his constantly calling time as his opponent is about to serve.
NBC and HBO split the men's semifinals at Wimbledon today, the network wiping away its soaps with the first at 1 p.m., the premium cable checking in with the other at 5.
"Breakfast at Wimbledon" the next two days is at 9 a.m., the women's final tomorrow and the men Sunday.
* If there's anything more bush than the "Stadium Stand" home shopping show on ESPN after World Cup games, it has escaped notice. Listen to these bargains: Tote bag, $45; T-shirts, $19.70 (postage and handling included); watches, $52; a soccer ball signed by the American team members, $205.
* Obviously, Artie Donovan has played out his option with David Letterman. For there was "Fatso" doing color commentary last night on the World Food-Eating contest on "Jocks," a Comedy Central show.
One of Donovan's favorite stories concerns a food-eating contest he had against the fabled Bobo Newsome when he pitched for the Senators. "No contest," said Artie. "He couldn't even eat his whole turkey and I did while eating all the fix-ins at the same time. He got sick and just to rub it in I threw down about five hot dogs afterward."
* Derrell Coley (22-0) of Washington caught a break when his bout against Terrence Alli (52-9) next week on USA's "Tuesday Night Fights" will be for the USBF welterweight title. Coley was going for the crown against champion Anthony Jones originally, but Jones pulled out and, since he was at the end of his 90-day mandatory defense contract, the USBF decided to unfrock him. USA is replaying last weekend's Vinny Pazienza-Roberto Duran fight July 26.
* In order to scoop up a couple of bucks running an infomercial, Channel 13 will pick up the World Cup second-round game between Germany and Belgium tomorrow a half-hour late at 1:30 p.m. Watch, the goal already will have been scored.
* NBC is allotting a full hour to a baseball All-Star show Sunday (5 p.m.), Bob Costas detailing what an excellent season Ken Griffey is having and talking to the opposing managers, Cito Gaston and Jim Fregosi.
* The Tour de France begins Saturday (7:30 p.m.) on ESPN, which then sends along daily reports until the event concludes July 24.
* Sunday, Eye on Sports has live figure skating from the Olympic Sports Festival in St. Louis, together with boxing. . . . Home Team Sports has two sessions of the Olympic Sports Festival tomorrow (4 and 9 p.m.), then one Sunday (9 p.m.). . . . NBC's beach volleyball series (3:30 p.m. Sunday) is starting to get ratings and one of the reasons is Karch Kiraly, two-time Olympic gold medalist and a true role model for kids. . . . Speaking of ratings, more people watched the O. J. Simpson slow chase on the Los Angeles freeways than the highest rated Super Bowl and probably matches folks tuned into the moon landing 25 years ago, according to TV Guide.
* John Harkes and a lot of the folks running U.S. soccer have to be mortified that they didn't know Harkes would have to sit out a World Cup game if he gathered up two yellow cards in the first round. Everyone watching the tournament knew this from the outset as ESPN/ABC announcers stressed it a half-dozen times the first two days.
* "The Fabulous Sports Babe," a woman sportscaster from Seattle, will be hosting sports talk four hours daily (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) on ESPN Radio (272 affiliates) beginning next Monday.
* TBS will do 64 hours of the Goodwill Games from St. Petersburg between July 23 and Aug. 7 with ABC doing 17 weekend hours during that stretch. . . . Ernie Harwell has another baseball book out entitled, "Babe Ruth Signed My Shoe." . . . The Jon Miller-to-Chicago rumor is alive again (via Larry King's snappy column in USA Today) now that 75-year-old Harry Caray approaches retirement.
* Ratingzzzzzzz: The NBA final between the Knicks and Rockets had 30 percent fewer viewers than the previous year, but NBC cites the flight of Michael Jordan to baseball while pointing out the game's four-year average held up. TNT's telecasts were down slightly, too, which suggests the network and cable probably will be taking an extended bath on lengthy contracts just signed.
Nearly a million households are tuned into the World Cup on Spanish-speaking Univision, so add that to ESPN's average of almost 1.5 million homes per game.
* Fox Network's pre-game show for NFL-NFC telecasts this fall will run an hour, but its lineup of Terry Bradshaw, Jimmy Johnson, Howie Long and James Brown might have problems keeping up with Chris Berman & Friends on ESPN's "GameDay."
* I once sat through eight straight first-round games of the NCAA college-division basketball tournament (8:45 a.m. to 1:05 a.m.) and already that seems like a day at the beach next to TV coverage of the O. J. Simpson case, and it's still weeks before a probable trial even starts.