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September 15, 1998|LARRY STEWART

What: "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel"

Where: HBO

When: Tonight at 9:30.

The Andrea Jaeger story is a great one, and it's one of four segments on the latest edition of HBO's award-winning sports magazine show.

You may recall The Times' Bill Plaschke writing about it two years ago and doing a follow-up column a year later. To refresh your memory, Jaeger, at 14 was the youngest female tennis pro. She used to scream at linespeople. She called Chris Evert "a cheat." She was ranked as high as No. 2 in the mid-1980s. By the time she was 20, she was washed up. It was time to retire. Then in 1989, she started the Kids Stuff Foundation in Aspen, Colo., to help terminally ill children. These days, she gives all her time and money to the foundation.

It's a story that deserves national attention, and it's nice to see HBO and reporter Frank Deford providing it.

Tennis' Mary Carillo is on the "Real Sports" staff, but her assignment for this show was not Jaeger but John Madden. The Madden segment, a good one, leads things off.

Minnesota Viking rookie wide receiver Randy Moss is the subject of the second segment. Bryant Gumbel, who usually serves as the show's host, interviews Moss and gets the controversial youngster to open up. He talks about the racism he was subjected to in high school in West Virginia and his attack on a fellow student at a bowling alley that landed him in jail. Witnesses said Moss kicked his victim in the head one to four times.

Viking teammate Cris Carter has taken Moss under his wing and tells Gumbel he can only hope Moss is able stay out of trouble.

The show's last segment is "Baseball's Orphans," and it is about major league players before 1947, who get no pensions. Jim Lampley is the reporter.

The Madden segment, of course, has plenty of Madden quips. On why he retired from coaching: "I retired to spend more time with my family, take a sabbatical, travel. But I found spending time with your family is overrated. My kids didn't want to play with me, they got friends, stuff to do. Same with my wife. I was home, just me and the dog, Boss."

Madden also talks about why he doesn't fly. It's not that he's afraid to fly, it's that he's claustrophobic. "I am not claustrophobic if I can control it," he says. "I am claustrophobic when I can't control it. People say, 'How can you be claustrophobic on an airplane and not a bus?' Because when you are up there 30,000 feet and you want to get out, the first step is a big one."

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