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TV-Radio / Larry Stewart : Different Viewpoint Sounds Interesting for Change of Pace

March 08, 1985

Somebody got their wires crossed during Channel 11's telecast of last Sunday's USC-Texas basketball game at Austin, Tex., and instead of announcers Mike Walden and Jim Perry, Los Angeles viewers got the Texas announcers.

The problem was soon corrected, but it was kind of interesting to hear a different viewpoint for a few minutes.

That brings up a suggestion by a colleague that baseball teams occasionally swap announcers for an inning or two, either on radio or TV. That was a fairly common practice among some teams years ago. If it were revived, Dodger listeners, for example, would get a chance to hear such announcers as Harry Caray of the Cubs, Jerry Coleman and Dave Campbell of the Padres, Harry Kalas and Rich Ashburn of the Phillies, Duke Snider of the Expos, and so on.

But Dodger radio and TV officials say the idea isn't feasible. That's too bad because, as William Cowper once wrote, variety's the very spice of life.

Add Dodgers: An announcer switch certainly wouldn't work Saturday, when the Dodgers make their first radio appearance of the spring. The opponent is a team from Korea.

ESPN pulled off a real coup when it made a deal to carry Saturday's Big East tournament championship game, since the 4 p.m. contest figures to be a Georgetown-St. John's rematch.

When those two played on ESPN Feb. 27, it drew a Nielsen rating of 8.0, the highest ever for a cable telecast.

CBS will televise the Big Eight tournament final Saturday in this area at 11 a.m., and the Metro Conference final in other parts of the country. On Sunday, NBC will show the ACC final nationally at 10 a.m.

The Los Angeles Athletic Club's John Wooden Award will be presented on TV during halftime of the ACC final, even though the top contenders for the honor, Patrick Ewing of Georgetown and Chris Mullin of St. John's, are from the Big East. The award has been announced at the ACC final the past few seasons. NBC's Dick Enberg was instrumental in making that arrangement.

Ewing isn't a shoo-in for the award. Early returns show that Mullin, who is collecting most of the the Eastern votes, is a strong threat.

Wooden, because of his wife's illness, will be unable to present the award. Filling in will be North Carolina Coach Dean Smith. Representing the Athletic Club will be Duke Llewellyn.

ABC commentator Lynn Swann, who will work Sunday's Los Angeles Express-New Jersey Generals telecast, on Doug Flutie: "I think one thing we've learned is that he isn't a drop-back passer. He is a roll-out passer."

That's good or bad, depending on your point of view. For a receiver, Swann said, working with a roll-out quarterback is more difficult. "With a roll-out passer, you're working with only half a field, or maybe two-thirds, because he's going to one side or the other."

Another problem, according to Swann: "When you run downfield, you're never quite sure where the ball will be coming from until you turn around."

CBS basketball commentator Tom Heinsohn, talking about how Terry Cummings, who played with the Clippers at San Diego last season, has blossomed with the Milwaukee Bucks, said: "Cummings was tucked away in San Diego and kind of fell off the map."

That's not going to endear him to San Diegans.

Add Heinsohn: The Lakers won't appear on CBS again until the playoffs, but before then, someone needs to tell Heinsohn that Kareem's last name is Abdul-Jabbar, not Jabbar. It's a mistake a lot of people make, but one a network announcer shouldn't.

On WTBS last Sunday, the Houston Rockets were pulling away from the Philadelphia 76ers in the fourth quarter. Rick Barry, the play-by-play announcer, said that when he played for the Warriors, Coach Alex Hannum would say at that point of a game, "The hay's in the barn."

Said commentator Bill Russell: "My coach just used to light up a cigar."

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