Ravens fans left in dark by blackout rules


The official word, of course, will come today at 1 p.m., but it looks pretty clear that Sunday's Ravens-Cincinnati Bengals game will be blacked out in Baltimore.

That means the game won't be available on Baltimore television, and that blackout extends for a 75-mile radius, meaning you won't be able to get it in Washington or anyplace else within that circle.

A direct broadcast satellite dish won't help, since those signals will be blacked out as well, and your local barkeep will be in loads of trouble if he gets caught trying to pull the game in.

Even though the Ravens' game won't be televised here, the NFL's rule that only permits two afternoon games to be shown in a market when its team is at home will still apply, so Baltimoreans will get one game at 1 p.m. on Channel 11 and a 4 p.m. contest on Channel 45.

The games presented for your viewing pleasure will be the Ten nessee-Miami matchup (which would be a whole lot more interesting if it were the colleges) in the early time slot, and Green Bay and Philadelphia playing at 4 p.m.

So, local football fans will still get their gridiron fix, but not of their hometown team, and all because of archaic rules that, given the high price of tickets, appear to place an even greater distance between fans and the sport, by keeping them from watching the games.

A Classic sale

The outlet that carries more live sporting events than anyone else, ESPN, has bought the outlet that shows more tapes of already- played sporting events than anyone else, Classic Sports.

The deal, announced yesterday, will have to be reviewed by the proper authorities and may take a couple of months to complete, but will make the sports libraries of ESPN and ABC Sports available to Classic.

Get over it already

While we admire NBC's Bob Costas for his work and candor, we question the wisdom and timing of a rather intemperate 2 1/2 -page rant on baseball's wild-card playoff system in last week's Sporting News, in which he says that those who favor the wild card "are like the guy who thinks it would be a great idea to add a garage onto his house, even if he has to destroy the house to do it."

While his complaint that, by allowing the best second-place finisher in a division into the playoffs, baseball has destroyed any hope for a meaningful pennant race between two excellent clubs, has some merit, the problem is that Costas and others who share his view have made their points abundantly clear over the last three years that this system has been in place. To continue to do so, particularly with the ferocity that Costas does in the article, brings to mind the image of a youngster who continues to stamp his feet and complain when he is told he can't have his way.

We know you don't like the wild card, Bob. Please let it go.

The 'Inside' game

HBO's "Inside the NFL" returns for its 21st season tonight at 11 p.m., with re-airs tomorrow at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m.

Among the features planned for the show are a chat with Buffalo defensive lineman Bruce Smith, and a look at the career of former Chicago running back Walter Payton. Payton, nicknamed "Sweetness," said he "played the game mad. It was like when I put the uniform on, I was a totally different individual. Turn that madness into energy, that anger, and you just go from there."

Weekend ratings

The ratings for the top 10 most-watched sporting events on broadcast television in Baltimore last weekend:

Event, Day Ch., R/S

O's-Mets, Fri. 13, 14.0/26

Ravens-Jags, Sun. 11, 13.8/31

O's-Mets, Sat. 45, 9.0/25

Chi.-G.B., Mon. 2, 8.8/17

O's-Marlins, Mon. 54, 7.7/14

NFL pre-game, Sun. 11, 6.4/17

Dall.-Pitt., Sun. 45, 6.0/15

O's-Mets, Sun. HTS, 5.3/13

U.S. Open, Mon. 13, 4.6/11

NFL postgame, Sun. 45, 4.0/9

R-Rating. S-Share

Pub Date: 9/04/97

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