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THE GOOD AND BAD OF BASEBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA
Published July 17, 1995
While the production of The Baseball Network's "Baseball Night in America" -- which premiered Saturday night and comes back for Edition No. 2 tonight -- received a coveted "B+" from Rudy Martzke, other aspects of the TBN deal continued to garner criticism this weekend. In San Francisco, Bruce Jenkins picks up on ESPN's Chris Berman's outrage at regionalizion of divisional playoff games and the fact that some LCS games will overlap. Jenkins backs Berman's idea to have ESPN carry all non-prime time playoff games (SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 7/16). In Baltimore, Milton Kent bemoans the lack of Saturday afternoon games (Baltimore SUN, 7/17). And in Miami, Barry Jackson notes that even ABC's Al Michaels is "very disturbed" by the concept of regionalized playoff games (MIAMI HERALD, 7/14). THE ART OF THE DEAL: The fact that ABC wants to hold MLB to its negotiating exclusivity, despite announcing that it has no intentions to bid on baseball, "shows how bitter the divorce between ABC, NBC and MLB has become," according to Rudy Martzke. But MLB's new TV negotiator, Barry Frank, is seen as one who can "mollify" the TBN nets and get them to join bidding with CBS and Fox. Frank: "Whatever anybody has said before, I'm starting with a clean slate. Nothing's out of the question." Frank also left open the possibility of division playoffs on cable -- "good news for prospective bidders ESPN and Turner." Martzke writes that CBS and Fox could share network coverage (USA TODAY, 7/17).