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Manny Ramirez's return covered from every angle

Prime Ticket adds a camera for Friday's broadcast. And Dodgers-Padres is a game of the week Saturday.


It's time for the Manny Show(s).

Fox's Prime Ticket will have enhanced features on tonight's broadcast of Manny Ramirez's return in San Diego and why not?

The network has added an extra right-field camera for more and better shots of Ramirez. See Manny bend over to smell the grass. See Manny wipe his face. See Manny shake his hair.

Plus there will be a special road edition of the "Dodgers Live" pregame and postgame 30-minute shows.

And the Dodgers-Padres Saturday game is one of three regional games of the week for Fox (Channel 11 locally). The network will break in on its other Saturday telecasts -- Mets at Phillies and Tigers at Twins -- to show Ramirez's first at-bat Saturday, though that won't actually be his first at-bat since his suspension. But it will probably seem that way to the national audience.

Fox Sports President Ed Goren said, "We think many baseball fans will be interested to see how he's received by the fans in San Diego. It could forecast how fans will react in other National League parks the Dodgers visit the rest of this season."

Breakfast, etc., at Wimbledon

Wimbledon television coverage has been a mess this week, a tape-delayed, two-network hodgepodge of time-traveled matches (is it live, or not, on NBC or ESPN2, blacked out sometimes).

This is too bad, because the tournament has developed memorably, just not precisely on time, especially for West Coast television audiences.

For example, Thursday ESPN2 showed the compelling three-set masterpiece won by Serena Williams over Elena Dementieva and then NBC had Venus Williams' 51-minute smashing of top-ranked Dinara Safina and then it rebroadcast Serena and Dementieva, that telecast ending at 4:30 here.

And that was better than earlier in the week when West Coast viewers had to wait three hours to see matches on NBC that East Coast viewers had live and where cable TV guides kept telling us Wimbledon was on ESPN2 when it wasn't.

It's all about the contracts, but really, if NBC doesn't want to commit to live coverage everywhere, why does it want the event?

Sigh of relief, then for Saturday and Sunday, when the women's and men's finals are on live on Channel 4 at 6 a.m. Pacific. This is the 30th anniversary of "Breakfast at Wimbledon," when NBC, ironically, had the idea to show the finals live even if they began at dawn on the West Coast. It was a good idea then. It would be a good idea now and not only on the weekend.

Farewell. Period.

Did anybody notice "Best Damn Sports Show Period" ended its eight-year run on Fox Sports on Tuesday? Didn't think so. But who can ever forget Tom Arnold as a host. Oh, you can? But you do remember when Shaquille O'Neal wore a blond wig and did scenes from famous movies like "Casablanca"? Who can forget that? And future ESPN stars like John Kruk and Michael Irvin got their TV start on the show. RIP BDSSP.

Fox Sports spokesman Lou D'Ermilio said, " 'Best Damn Sports Show Period' has had a great run. It was unorthodox from day one as it challenged contemporaries to dust off their formats and do more than run highlights, and that will be its legacy."

Good today

MLB Network will have a "midseason roundtable" with Bob Costas, Harold Reynolds, Matt Vasgersian and Tom Verducci at 2 p.m. to discuss interleague play, small-market teams and the impact of performance-enhancing drugs on the Hall of Fame voting.

Good on Saturday

The Tour de France kicks off at 6:30 a.m. on Versus with the opening time trial in Monaco. One would expect Lance Armstrong might like to make a strong opening statement in the first of 21 stages of the race he once won seven straight times. Plus, who doesn't like watching scenery from Monaco?

Channel 4 will have live coverage of the AVP Coney Island Open beach volleyball women's final at 1:30 (men's on Sunday at 11 a.m.). Chris Marlowe and Paul Sunderland will have the call. The two first called volleyball matches together in 1985 and are together again for the first time in a decade. The two met playing beach volleyball in Santa Monica in the 1970s.

Good on Sunday

Everybody televises everything these days. The MLB All-Star game selection show is at 10 a.m. on TBS. The Tour de France continues on Versus at 5:30 a.m. with the stage from Monaco to Brignoles. On Prime Ticket at 6:30, Diana Taurasi and Phoenix play the Sparks.


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