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TV-RADIO / LARRY STEWART

Series Schedule Just as Simple as ABC . . . No, NBC . . . No . . .

October 20, 1995|LARRY STEWART

This may come as a shock, but every World Series game will be televised across the country.

Figuring out which network is carrying which game is the tricky part.

The World Series opens Saturday on ABC, then switches to NBC for two games, then goes back to ABC for Games 4 and 5, provided there is a Game 5.

If the Series continues, NBC has Game 6 and ABC Game 7.

As Bob Costas says, it's a wacky business.

Costas, who is handling World Series play-by-play for the first time, and his NBC partners, Bob Uecker and Joe Morgan, will go to the ABC games a few hours before the first pitch, gather some material, then return to their hotel to watch the game on television.

ABC announcers Al Michaels, Tim McCarver and Jim Palmer said they will do the same for the NBC games.

"It's important for us to know what was talked about on the previous telecast," Costas said.

Michaels, who will be working his seventh World Series for ABC, recalled a story in 1985 that spilled over from NBC to ABC.

"Costas and Tony Kubek were announcing the American League championship series between Kansas City and Toronto and the big story was that Bret Saberhagen's wife was due to give birth any day," Michaels said. "Well, the baby was late, so we continued the maternity watch during the Series."

*

This World Series probably will be it for ABC and NBC, at least for a while. It has been reported that Fox and CBS are close to a four-year deal in which they would alternate the World Series each year.

So this could be the last World Series for Costas, unless NBC somehow gets back into the mix.

"I'm not going to say, 'Woe is me,' " Costas said. "I'm going to get to do three World Series games, which is three more than Ernie Banks ever played in."

*

Baseball is a mess. Everyone knows that. The television format, a bad idea formulated by Chicago White Sox co-owner Eddie Einhorn and approved by his baseball counterparts as well as NBC and ABC, is only one of the problems.

Complaining is easy. Solutions are needed, and Michaels said Thursday that he has the perfect candidate to attack the problems.

"I've given a lot of thought to this and feel very strongly that Dan Burk is the man," Michaels said.

Burk was the CEO of Capital Cities until it merged with Disney, and he also owns a successful double-A team in Portland, Me., the Sea Dogs.

"He has all the qualities to make an excellent commissioner," Michaels said. "He loves baseball, he knows television, which is very important, and he's been successful in everything he's tried."

Michaels said he is not pushing Burk because of friendship. Michaels said he hasn't even discussed the possibility with Burk.

"I don't know what his reaction will be," Michaels said.

*

Baseball is not the only sport playing musical chairs.

Notre Dame football bounces around pretty well among the networks. NBC does the home games and ABC usually does the road games.

Since Saturday's 11:30 a.m. game against USC is at South Bend, Ind., the game will be carried by NBC.

So Tom Hammond will be the announcer, right?

Wrong. Hammond did the first three NBC Notre Dame telecasts, two with Bob Trumpy and one with the tandem of Paul Maguire and Phil Simms.

But in the wacky world of sports television, it's now Charlie Jones and Randy Cross.

Jones is thrilled about it. As a freshman at USC, he was among the 100,571 at the Coliseum who watched USC and Notre Dame battle to a 14-14 tie in 1948.

This is Jones' 50th year as a play-by-play announcer. He started doing play-by-play for a radio station in his home town of Ft. Smith, Ark., at the age of 15. He will be 65 on Nov. 9.

His contemporaries in the business include Curt Gowdy, Lindsey Nelson, Chris Schenkel and Ray Scott. The difference is, Jones is still going strong and talking about making it to the Winter Olympics in 2002, when he'll be 72.

That would be 57 years as an announcer. Considering the instability of the business, that is remarkable.

TV-Radio Notes

This is quite a weekend--the Cleveland Indians in a World Series, USC favored in South Bend and a Ram-San Francisco 49er game in which the Rams have the better record. . . . The 49er-Ram game in St. Louis will be on Fox Sunday at 10 a.m., with Pat Summerall and John Madden calling the action. It was in St. Louis, on Oct. 4, 1981, that Summerall and Madden first worked together. Madden worked four games for CBS with Vin Scully, while Hank Stram was paired with Summerall before the Summerall-Madden match was made. . . . Fox will show an interview with Mike Tyson, who will fight Buster Mathis Jr. on Fox on Nov. 4, during halftime of the Ram-49er game. The interview, conducted by James Brown via satellite, will be taped Sunday morning.

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