SBD/17/Sports Media

THE GOOD AND BAD OF BASEBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA

     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).
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