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CBS cameras not to blame at Vet, but ESPN guilty of awards hype


It's time for your friendly neighborhood media watcher to do a little pre-holiday spleen venting:

There's an apparent sentiment, off last week's unfortunate incident at the Army-Navy football game, that a CBS cameraman is somehow to blame for a group of Army cadets taking a fall after leaning on a not-so-secure railing at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium.

With all appropriate worry for the serious injury that occurred, where is it written that a cameraman's presence requires otherwise intelligent people to take leave of their senses and shamelessly mug?

Besides, shouldn't we expect a little more from people who are supposedly future leaders of America's military? If that was a collection of the best and the brightest, then we all have reason to worry.

ESPN breathlessly announced yesterday that it will air an "ESPY Nomination Show" next week from the ESPN Zone to unveil the nominees for its February awards show.

Sounds like the winner for "Most Self-Important, Self-Congratulatory and Unnecessary Awards Show of the Year" already in the clubhouse.

Meanwhile, ESPN will present a passel of meaningful college football awards at 8 tonight from Disney World in Florida.

Among the trophies to be handed out are the Maxwell Award (best all-around player), Biletnikoff Award (best wide receiver), the Doak Walker Award (top running back), the Lou Groza Award (best place-kicker), the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, Scholar Athlete of the Year, and the Defensive Player of the Year. Also, the coaches' All-America team will be announced.

On the subject of college football, here are three words:

Lee Corso. Why?

And while we're at it, here are three more:

Chris Fowler. Why?

At the end of the year, are any of the NFL "information" guys, like ESPN's Chris Mortensen or John Clayton or CBS' Mike Lombardi, going to get in front of the camera and remind us of the numbers of times they got it wrong as often and as loudly as they do when they get it right?

Probably not.

Can the Maryland men's basketball team possibly need to be on television so badly as to start a game, like the Dec. 19 Princeton game at the Baltimore Arena, at 9: 30 p.m.?

There will hardly be any kids under 12 in the stands and too many more awake at home when the game ends. Someone, from athletic director Debbie Yow to coach Gary Williams, should have just told ESPN no.

xTC Of course, we should also note that Monday's Terps-De Paul game turned out to be the highest-rated non-Orioles program aired in Baltimore on Home Team Sports in the channel's 14-year history.

Here's hoping that when Channel 13 gets around to planning next year's Ravens post-game shows for after home contests that they include some money for important information, like traffic, rather than not-so-important stuff like tailgating.

We always hear the instances in which television sticks its mighty hand into the goings-on of sports. Well, ABC may have had a golden opportunity to help make things right, and apparently passed.

Rumors in the state of Florida had it that ABC, which will televise the Bowl Championship Series, really didn't want the 9-2 Florida Gators in the BCS mix. Yet when the pairings were announced Sunday, the Gators were in the Orange Bowl, while Kansas State, one play away from the Fiesta Bowl, was shunted from the four-bowl process.

Now that Don King and Time Warner have formed an unholy union for the purpose of creating a Evander Holyfield-Lennox Lewis fight, let's hope they don't produce any more spawn.

Week's ratings

Here are the ratings for the 10 most-watched sports programs on Baltimore broadcast television for the past week (R-Rating; S-Share):

Event............ Day Ch........ R/S

Ravens-Oilers.... Sun. 13....... 15.9/29

Packers-Bucs..... Mon. 2........ 10.2/16

"Mon. Blast"..... Mon. 2......... 7.9/12

Md.-Stanford..... Sun. 2......... 6.6/16

Army-Navy........ Sat. 13........ 6.4/19

Pats-Steelers.... Sun. 13........ 5.4/13

Md.-Wake......... Thu. 54........ 5.0/7

"Rav. Report".... Sat. 13........ 4.6/8

Big 12 Champ..... Sat. 2......... 4.4/9

Mich. St.-Conn... Sat. 13........ 4.0/10

Pub Date: 12/10/98

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