The TV Repairman:
The Goodwill Games are under way tomorrow in St. Petersburg, Russia, as gorgeous a city as exists on the planet (if you don't believe me, rent the movie "Russia House" with Sean Connery and Michele Pfeiffer) with TBS and ABC going wacky during the weekend.
The network will do swimming, boxing and volleyball tomorrow (1-2 p.m. and 4:30-6 p.m.) and track, boxing and hoops Sunday (1-3:30 p.m.), and the sponsoring Turner Network will have anything that moves during the next couple of weeks with four-hour shows in prime time (8:05 p.m.) with a repeat at 12:05 a.m.
According to stories out of Russia this week, locals having been working feverishly for weeks trying to make St. Pete look good after letting it go for several decades, and they have done a good job of sweeping the undesirables out to the hinterlands for the occasion.
* The LPGA gets its long-awaited shot at some exposure this weekend, ESPN's coverage yesterday and today leading into ABC shows the next two days at 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., respectively. One of the angles sure to get big play is the attempt by Beth Daniel to complete qualifying requirements for the toughest Hall of Fame of them all.
Beth already has the 30 tournament victories required -- 30, do you believe it? -- but now needs a second "major" to complete requirements. If she doesn't win a second biggie, she'd have to win five more tourneys. Why not make her swim the Atlantic Ocean?
Besides the Women's Open, ABC has the final round of the Senior British Open tomorrow at 10 a.m. and ESPN fills today with the British Open (11 a.m.), the women at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. and the PGA Senior Tour at 3 p.m.
Even if you enjoy golf, you have to be at the end of your rope watching the most listless commercials ever produced for a sport running over and over. The old dude talking it up for the Ping Zing is this corner's No. 1 nemesis.
* It will be Scott Garceau and Tom Matte in the Channel 2 booth and Keith Mills working the sidelines for the Baltimore Helmetheads CFL game against Shreveport at Memorial Stadium tomorrow (7:30). Even though you got a couple of bucks in the franchise and function as a vice president of something, try to limit use of the word "we," Tom.
* Reminder to all broadcasters: television is a visual medium. Yes, you won't get to the big bucks if you don't make a star/personality of yourself yammering on and on, but it's awfully annoying for a person sitting there watching to have to overcome so much mindless chatter.
ABC's soccer coverage didn't get the job done, the lead trio of Roger Twibell, Seamus Malin and Rick Davis talking far too much without saying anything. Davis, for instance, with Brazil and Italy staggering around after two hours of safety-first play, informed us, "Don't count Brazil out; it can score three goals in the time remaining [about two minutes]." I guess it didn't want to, right?
And poor Jim McKay, in the studio, kept asking questions, but rarely got answers from players and interested parties obviously in awe by being on the telly. Desmond Armstrong got decent reviews for his work, but certainly not for anything he said.
The overkill award of the week goes to any World Cup announcer who awarded cosmic significance to anything even resembling an upset victory. For instance, Bulgaria's win over Germany in the quarterfinals wasn't the grandest moment in the country's sports history, but the greatest moment in the nation's history.
Oh yeah, what about all the Olympic gold medals the country won in weightlifting before they started drug testing?
* It's getting so that the weather and the proximity to Wimbledon aren't the only things the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington has to overcome. Prize money of $650,000 is paltry these days (Stuttgart is offering more than $1 million this week), and next week's $1.7 million Canadian Open in Toronto is a tour hot spot as ESPN's daily coverage at noon or 1 p.m. suggests.
Home Team Sports will have the semifinals from D.C. tomorrow at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., then send along the final Sunday at 2 p.m.
* Being dragged through the streets by a team of wild horses wouldn't prompt me to reveal who won the Hulk Hogan-Ric Flair battle of the titans match. So check all the WCW rassling shows that frequent the tube for the next several days.
* Now that the World Cup is past, time to pick up on how the Tour de France has been progressing. Oops, too late. Perennial winner Miquel Indurain has the thing wrapped up with a huge time lead heading into Sunday's final stage, which ESPN will have on same-day tape at 3 p.m.
* The Baseball Network's regionalization plan, which will zTC ultimately see fans missing playoff games if the season progresses that far, did a 6.8 rating with its 14 games last Saturday night, and 7.9 with its 13 games Monday evening. Spokesmen for both TBN and ABC were all smiles (many forced) even though one of the game's staples, the Saturday afternoon game, was wiped out. Of course fans watch the home team, this is a revelation to the TV marketing people?
* If you planned to send $30 million to Atlanta to become a major sponsor of the 1996 Olympics, put your checkbook away. The Atlanta Organizing Committee is beyond its goal of $515 million in corporate sponsorships, which doesn't make TV money seem so big anymore, does it? Still, it will run the show.
* Hopefully, the wire services and the TV and radio networks won't make as though the contract squabble between coach Mike Keenan and the New York Rangers interests anyone beyond the Hudson River. . . . And along these lines, why is the media acting and reacting to almost everything ex-Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson says or does as he embarks on a one-year career as one of the Fox Network's voices on the NFL?
* HBO is said to be romancing Lawrence Taylor about becoming a commentator on its NFL ventures after the former great linebacker spent a career brushing off the media, which proves hero worship dies hard.
* Even the offer of playing four football games a year against ACC teams couldn't get Notre Dame into the ACC as a hoops participant only. . . . The CFL game on ESPN2 tomorrow (4 p.m.) is Toronto at Saskatchewan, which is located between Alberta and Manitoba on your globe.
* ESPN resumes its "Hot Summer Nights" series next Monday (8:30-10:30 p.m.), with Elle MacPherson the host of the weekly look at water sports competitions everywhere. The fact Elle is in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue incessantly had nothing to do with her getting the job, of course.
* Team USA goalie Tony Meola insists his signing with the New York Jets as a kicker is not a publicity stunt. But the day he shows up for training camp at Hofstra University, only another big bombing in downtown Manhattan will prevent at least 3,000 camera crews from being present.