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The Inside Track | SOUND AND VISION

Buccaneers or Dodgers? Malcolm's in a Muddle

August 02, 2003|Mike Penner

The dog days of summer are upon us. This we know by the stifling heat, the sluggish weekend traffic and the crawling pace of Malcolm Glazer's yawn-again, off-again attempt to buy the Dodgers.

Throughout the media, the floating of rumors and the immediate refuting of them has become a pastime:

Glazer has agreed in principle to buy the Dodgers!

No, he hasn't!

Glazer will keep the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and let his son run the Dodgers!

No, he won't!

Once in possession of the Dodgers, Glazer will sell the Buccaneers for the Los Angeles NFL rights!

Are you kidding me?

If that's the choice Glazer has to make -- the Buccaneers or the Dodgers -- is it any wonder negotiations continue to drag? Check out the merchandise this weekend: The Buccaneers open the NFL exhibition season against the New York Jets in Tokyo in a game that will be aired on a delayed basis today at 5 p.m. on ESPN. Meanwhile, the Dodgers limp through Atlanta for a Saturday 1 p.m. game on Channel 11 and a Sunday 10 a.m. game on TBS.

A quick consumer comparison:

CURRENT REPUTATION WITHIN THE INDUSTRY -- Buccaneers: Reigning champions of professional football. Dodgers: Can't outscore a rainout.

RELIGIOUS AFFILIATIONS -- Buccaneers: Members of the First Church of the National Football League, at whose altar all bettors, fantasy-league owners and beer-sedated couch potatoes kneel every autumn Sunday. Dodgers: Big Dodger In The Sky can't buy a three-run home run.

MOST RECENT POSTSEASON VICTORY -- Buccaneers: Jan. 26, 2003. Dodgers: Oct. 20, 1988.

MEMORABLE RECENT SEASON -- Buccaneers: In 2002-2003, the Buccaneers went 12-4 and won their first Super Bowl. Dodgers: In 1991, Rickey Henderson led the American League in stolen bases and scored 105 runs while Robin Ventura drove in 100 runs and won his first Gold Glove. Henderson was 32 and with Oakland at the time; Ventura was 24 and with the Chicago White Sox.

PITCHING -- Buccaneers: Brad Johnson made the Pro Bowl last season. Dodgers: This is one reason to stay tuned to the Dodgers. The other would be Vin Scully.

HITTING -- Buccaneers: Raiders still smarting from whipping Buccaneers gave them in the Super Bowl. Dodgers: Traders smart enough not to dump anything more valuable than Ventura and Jeromy Burnitz on them.

NEXT STOP -- Buccaneers: On the road to the Super Bowl. Dodgers: On Ventura Highway.

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Also available for viewing in the days ahead:

TODAY

* PGA Buick Open

(Channel 2, noon)

TNT's 2003 weekday British Open coverage was down 33% from ESPN's in 2002. Monday night's "Battle at the Bridges" was down 10% from 2002, dropping from a 5.1 rating to 4.6 -- a five-year low for the annual made-for-TV event. Evidently, the Tiger Woods phenomenon is wearing thin on more places than the fairway.

* MLS All-Stars vs. Chivas

(Channel 7, 12:30 p.m.)

And all roads lead to ... Carson? This weekend, the Cal State Dominguez Hills campus will be crawling with football players trying to make the San Diego Chargers' roster, tennis players practicing for next week's JPMorgan Chase Open and soccer players participating in an exhibition match pitting the All-Stars of Major League Soccer against Mexican club team Chivas. And this match is going to prove what exactly? Final score from the 2002 World Cup: U.S. 2, Mexico 0. Last time it counted.

* "Around the Horn"

(ESPN, 4 p.m.)

In case you thought ESPN could sink no lower after its two-hour "behind the scenes" infomercial for "SportsCenter," here it is: A "special" weekend edition of "Around the Horn," during which the cast will discuss the upcoming NFL season and conduct its own fantasy league draft -- thus combining the two most annoying entertainment options in modern civilization -- "Around the Horn" and somebody else's fantasy draft. Amazing restraint on ESPN's part. They could have gone for it all and had Max Kellerman ask them about their golf games.

* Toronto Blue Jays at Angels

(Fox Sports Net, 7 p.m.)

Scott Schoeneweis has been traded to the Chicago White Sox. Kevin Appier has been released. If the Angels were determined to break up the team that won the 2002 World Series so soon, couldn't they have started with the Rally Monkey?

SUNDAY

* Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (ESPN, 11 a.m.)

Marcus Allen and Hank Stram are inducted at Canton on the same day. In related news, Al Davis' Hall of Fame bust announced it is suing the NFL in order to move to Los Angeles.

* NASCAR Winston Cup Brickyard 400

(Channel 4, 11:30 a.m.)

NASCAR joke making the rounds:

"How many cameras does it take for NBC to cover the Brickyard 400?"

"Seventy-nine, including Squash-Cam, Wall-Cams and Eye-Full Tower-Cam."

Except, it isn't a joke. NBC, getting somewhat carried away with this stock-car stuff, will use 79 cameras at the Brickyard 400, placing tiny cameras inside the walls at Turns 2 and 4 and a robotic camera atop the scoring pylon nearly 100 feet in the air. And then there's "Squash-Cam," which, according to a news release, is a small camera "buried in the grass just inside Turn 1. The camera often shows a car moving over or extremely close to the camera lens to give the audience the feeling of being 'squashed.' "

Hasn't ESPN been using similar technology, around the clock, for years?

MONDAY

* NFL Hall of Fame Game

(Channel 7, 5 p.m.)

The lead story on ABC Sports' Web site details Lisa Guerrero's "sideline debut on Monday." Beneath that is a link to ESPN.com's "10 Burning Questions for Lisa Guerrero," which includes "What will you wear on opening night at the Hall of Fame Game?" followed by "And the lipstick?"

And so many at ABC had wanted Howard Cosell to rest in peace.

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