IT HAD TO come to this. As we skitter down the path to ever greater sportainment, the conventions of Hollywood insinuate themselves into our athletic events.
Yes, we're talking about a version of the "red carpet" programs we've come to love or loathe from the Oscars, Emmys or other awards shows. Once upon a time, it was just a matter of Army Archerd asking a few benign questions to the stars arriving for the Academy Awards. Then it evolved - devolved, really - into the Joan Rivers fashion attacks of recent years.
FSN's show Tuesday will be taped, covering the parade of players arriving at Detroit's Comerica Park, carried along, of course, in vehicles from the sponsoring auto manufacturer. The players will disembark from the cars (I'd mention what kind, but I'm not allowed to accept one, so why bother?) and head down a block-long red carpet. There they will be interviewed by FSN's Carolyn Hughes and Josh Lewin, who is still remembered fondly here for his clever work at WBAL Radio.
Just a suggestion: If Kenny Rogers does end up at the All-Star Game, maybe it'd be best to let him skip the red carpet thing.
Should that ol' camera hog Rogers participate in the All-Star Game after being hit with a 20-game suspension (which he's appealing) for his outburst against two cameramen? Fox's announcing team, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, weighed in on the matter of the Texas Rangers pitcher during a conference call Wednesday.
"[Rogers] shouldn't pitch in the game," McCarver said. "It would embarrass Kenny Rogers. It would embarrass the game."
"It seems to me it would be embarrassing for Kenny Rogers and baseball to have to run that highlight [of Rogers roughing up a cameraman]," Buck said. " ... It would detract from the game. ... I'm not going to be Dr. Phil and try to figure it out from a distance, but he needs to take some time and chill out."
As for the game itself Tuesday (8 p.m., WBFF/Channel 45, WTTG/Channel 5), it's much less a matter of chilling out since baseball decided to make the outcome mean something - home-field advantage in the World Series for the league that wins.
"Tony La Russa and Terry Francona [the All-Star managers] are really into how to win this game," Buck said. "You've got both of those managers who think they have a realistic chance of being in the World Series."
Fox will employ 23 cameras to televise the All-Star Game, including those dizzying perspective "diamond cams" implanted at the plate, the mound and first base. ... The game is being televised in high definition. (Frager Household Update: We still don't have an HD television.) ...
ESPN carries the Home Run Derby on Monday at 8 p.m. The format has been tweaked, with players representing various countries, but this has become a tired exercise, helped not at all by the presence of Chris Berman.
SportsCentury's profile of Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling debuts Wednesday at 8 p.m. on ESPN Classic. ... Even though the rain-delayed (and delayed and delayed) Pepsi 400 didn't end until 2 a.m., NBC's rating for the NASCAR race - that is, during the actual racing from about 10 p.m. - was up 6 percent from last year's event on Fox. Baltimoreans must have turned in early. Here, the Pepsi 400 got a 3.1 rating (measuring the percentage of all households watching) compared with the 5.5 national mark. ...
Maryland jockey Ryan Fogelsonger is among the subjects of MTV's True Life: I Want the Perfect Body II, which will air today at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., tomorrow at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m. The show will chronicle Fogelsonger's efforts to add 8 pounds to his 104-pound frame. Maybe it wouldn't have made for great TV, but Fogelsonger could have hung out with me for a couple of days and probably put on at least 10.
Contact Ray Frager at firstname.lastname@example.org.