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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Bay Area Station Couldn't 'Mask' Giant Problem

May 06, 1997|STEVE SPRINGER

Think it was tough on the San Francisco Giants blowing a six-run lead over the St. Louis Cardinals last week?

No tougher than it was on Jeff Block, general manager of KTVU, a Bay Area Fox network affiliate.

KTVU carries Giant telecasts. But on the night of the Giants' collapse against the Cardinals, the station was also obligated to carry the Jim Carrey movie, "The Mask."

The movie started with the Giants clinging to a 7-6 lead in the ninth inning.

What to do, what to show? How about both?

KTVU, although a minority partner in the ballclub, went to "The Mask." After all, last week was part of the crucial sweeps ratings period.

But the station compromised by continuing to show the game in the lower left corner of the screen without sound. The Giants eventually lost on a three-run homer by Ron Gant.

"We're unhappy," said Giant Executive Vice President Larry Baer of the split screen. "I would venture to say it's not going to happen again."

The viewers apparently were not unhappy. "The Mask" posted an overnight rating of 13.4, the game a 7.3.

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Trivia time: Since 1990, a member of the Atlanta Brave pitching staff has won the National League Cy Young Award every year except 1992. But the Braves could also be excused for staking a claim to that year. Why is that?

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Honored, not convinced: He may not win enough on the field, but Florida Marlin Manager Jim Leyland won enough votes from baseball's top executives to be picked as the best manager in the game.

Leyland was the solid choice in a Newsday survey of 46 top baseball executives even though he has a losing lifetime record and has never taken one of his teams to the World Series. Leyland earned 136 1/2 total points in Newsday's scoring system, easily outpolling second-place finisher Tony La Russa of the St. Louis Cardinals, who had 114 points.

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Responded Leyland: "My mom will be happy, but it doesn't mean that much to me. There are a lot of guys who have won stuff. To me, they are better than I am."

General Manager Lee Thomas of the Philadelphia Phillies doesn't agree.

"If you give [Leyland] the wherewithal to win, he could do it," Thomas said. "I don't think anyone could win with terrible players."

With the worst team in the National League East, Thomas ought to know.

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Clip and save: Larry Brown after signing a contract to coach the Philadelphia 76ers: "I hope I can be here for a long, long time."

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Trivia answer: The 1992 Cy Young winner was Greg Maddux, then pitching for the Chicago Cubs. Maddux became a Brave the next season and won the Cy Young each of the three subsequent years. Tom Glavine won the Cy Young as a Brave in 1991 and John Smoltz in 1996.

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And finally: Carolina Panther fans needed only two hours Sunday to buy the last 70,000 tickets for this season's 10 home games.

That comes out to about 583 tickets a minute.

In their final years in Los Angeles, it would have taken the Raiders about two years to sell that many.

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