Glitches, Matte bring down Ch. 2's decent CFL work


OK, so no one will confuse Channel 2's coverage of the Canadian Football League with the way ABC, NBC or Fox carries the NFL. There are simply too many wild camera shots and sound glitches, and too much Tom Matte, for that.

But those things aside, WMAR did a pretty good job on Saturday night's Baltimore-Toronto game, given resources that can't compare to a network's.

The station provided consistently good camera angles, informational slow-motion replays, particularly on cornerback Irvin Smith's fourth-quarter sideline interception, and up-to-the-minute sideline updates with reporter Keith Mills, who got injured quarterback Tracy Ham as soon as he returned to the field.

Scott Garceau's play-by-play, while not spectacular, was solid and professional, reminding viewers of differences between the American and Canadian games.

But there were more than a few maddening technical errors, the most serious of which was that the station missed three plays coming back from commercials. Garceau apologized for a fourth-quarter miss, but those things shouldn't happen more than once in a telecast, network or local.

Then there's Matte, whose ownership position with the club should be enough to make Channel 2 reconsider having him in the booth.

But the former Colts running back, who did two years of commentary on Maryland football radio broadcasts, adds little analysis, leaves thoughts unfinished, constantly talks over Garceau, and spouts streams of cliches.

A good Mark

Mark Malone is rapidly becoming one of ESPN's best reporters in a short time with the network.

Yesterday morning's "SportsCenter" reran and updated an impressive Malone feature from Wednesday on Gerald Owens, a Florida State graduate student.

Owens wants to play for the Seminoles, but is being stopped from doing so by the University of Florida, which contends he was a student there in the fall of 1988, which would mean he has no more eligibility.

Malone, a former Steelers quarterback and Pittsburgh sports reporter, anchored a moving story on Roberto Clemente last month during ESPN's coverage of the All-Star Game, and showed the tenacity of a "60 Minutes" reporter.

Street hoops

Give ESPN2 credit for taking its cameras to the National Summer Basketball Championships in New York this weekend, bringing the viewer the sights and sounds of playground basketball, where any serious hoops junkie will tell you the game is the most interesting.

Also give Dick Vitale a lot of credit for slamming the NBA for pricing itself out of reach of the average citizen in favor of the corporate community.

One wonders whether Cheryl Miller -- a champion trash-talker as a player at Southern California -- was serious when she decried the wolf-ticket selling going on in the NBA. Perhaps she should talk to her brother, Reggie, the Indiana Pacers guard who is the state of the art in talking smack (as the kids say).

Miller did get off a pretty funny line about the playground game: "There are two guys who never get picked on the playground team: the guy who spins the ball on his finger and the guy who's in the $100 shoes, sweatbands and sweat suit."

Looking ahead

Head for the hills, everyone: "Sports Forum" on WWLG (1360 AM) pledges a chat at 6 tonight with some of the greats of professional wrestling (insert your own joke here), with host Nestor Aparicio and Sun sports staffer Kevin Eck.

On a slightly higher plane, Robin Roberts plays host to another in a series of "In the Sports Light" interviews with prominent figures outside the sports realm. Tonight at 7:30, Roberts chats with New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, who played minor-league baseball, and Bill Cosby, who ran track at Temple.

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