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ESPN Remains in Postseason Picture

October 20, 2000|LARRY STEWART

To its credit, you'd never know that ESPN is done with postseason baseball now that Fox has it locked up through 2006.

ESPN is devoting 5 1/2 hours today to promoting the World Series, which begins Saturday.

ESPN opens with a Jeremy Schaap-hosted "Up Close" at 2:30 p.m., live from Yankee Stadium, and concludes at 7 p.m. with a one-hour "Subway Series" special.

Programming in between includes an "Up Close With Roy Firestone" at 5 p.m., a look at Game 6 of the 1975 Series and the Carlton Fisk home run at 5:30, and a "SportsCentury" profile of Don Larsen at 6.

ESPN is still involved on the radio side. The ESPN Radio announcers for the Series will be Jon Miller and former utility infielder Dave Campbell, a mainstay with ESPN since 1990 who started in broadcasting in San Diego. Charley Steiner will serve as reporter and pre- and postgame host.

The radio broadcasts will be carried by KXTA (1150) and XTRA (690), somewhat of an overkill considering the piecemeal coverage up to this point.


Everyone seems to have a take on the Series. Fox's Keith Olbermann, who is from New York, described it in terms anyone from L.A. can understand: "It's like USC and UCLA playing seven games in football."

From Jim Rome: "Contrary to what many think, this is going to play outside of New York. What's not to like about this? When two teams hate each other as much as these two do, I want to see it. . . . We can watch from the safety of our living rooms. It will be like watching the Gulf War on CNN with a little baseball thrown in for color."

Rome also said, "Here's what is wrong with the Subway Series. Baseball aside, the next two weeks are also going to be living hell as we are forced to endure the following--8 million renditions of "New York, New York," endless Mayor Guiliani references . . . and a billion references to New York cabdrivers. I'm guessing we'll hear "Big Apple" about 9 billion times."


The World Series isn't the only major event this weekend. The Presidents Cup is underway--it's on TNT today and NBC will devote 12 hours to the matches Saturday and Sunday. NBC is giving it the same kind of coverage it gives the Ryder Cup.

The Presidents Cup may someday reach the stature of the Ryder Cup, but it has a ways to go. One indication came during an NBC conference call this week. Johnny Miller several times referred to the U.S. opponent as "the Europeans" until somebody corrected him. "I mean the Internationals," he said.

This is the fourth Presidents Cup. The first three were televised by CBS.

Another golf competition of note: Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN, Fred Couples and Phil Mickelson square off in a "Shell's Wonderful World of Golf" match, taped at Gaillardia Country Club in Oklahoma City. For one segment, Couples and Mickelson carry their caddies' bags as they compete in a three-hole shootout. At one point, Couples tells Mickelson, "You're talking to your man too much. Leave him alone."


There was a day when $49.95 for a Mike Tyson pay-per-view fight was expected. But the only reason Showtime Event Television (SET) and the promoters of tonight's Tyson-Andrew Golota fight in Auburn Hills, Mich., can ask that much is the gruesome factor. Someone may get killed.

Golota isn't called the "Foul Pole" for nothing.

"No one knows what is going to happen in the ring," said Jay Larkin, SET's president and executive producer. "We are concerned, but prepared for anything. Whatever occurs, everyone will be talking about it."

While on the subject of toughness, a new set of "Toughman" shows begin next Friday at 9 p.m. on FX, starting off with "Toughman 911," featuring team competition between policemen and firemen.


Insiders said Paul Hackett had a blowup at Fox Sports Net last week while taping "USC Sports Magazine" when he thought the questioning by Tom Kelly, of all people, was getting a little tough. But a FSN spokesman said Hackett was only a little agitated, and it was mainly because he was asked to stick around to tape a second segment when he had an appointment to be elsewhere. . . . On the lighter side, UCLA's Jason Kapono is featured tonight on "Fox Sports Regional Report." Reporter Suzy Shuster visited the basketball player at Phil Trani's restaurant in Long Beach, where Kapono works as a chef.

Vin Scully will be honored as sportscaster of the century at the eighth Caritas Award Gala on Saturday night at the Century Plaza. Kevin Costner and Robert Wagner will also take part in the benefit for the neonatal intensive care unit at Saint John's Health Center. Information: 310 829-8593.

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