SBD/7/Sports Media

REFLECTIONS ON THE NATIONAL PASTIME

     In today's N.Y. POST, Phil Mushnick takes network execs to
task for not having "the foresight or the courage to put
[baseball's] perpetuity above a quarterly earnings report or a
sweeps-period ratings book."  Mushnick says ABC and NBC "have
found religion" in declaring that MLB "is in deep, deep trouble"
-- after they helped "choke the life out of the game by angling
for every short-sighted edge."  MUSHNICK'S LIST OF NETWORK
CRIMES: "starting World Series games at a quarter to nine on a
Tuesday night in October"; adding "more and more commercial time
after half innings"; not adjusting primetime schedules during "so
that the World Series not end after midnight"; not saving "the
Saturday Game of the Week -- a 40-year American staple";
regionalizing the playoffs, "thus systematically precluding
what's left of baseball's fans from seeing all playoff games;"
and, not demanding "that the game engage a legitimate
commissioner."  Mushnick says the "only TV person" who has seen
baseball "jerked and juggled purely as prime-time TV programming
and counter-programming" is Bob Costas, but he "is a
sportscaster, not a deal maker" (N.Y. POST, 7/7).
     HERE'S A PLAN:  Richard Sandomir offers his outline for
MLB's next TV deal:  "Revive the Game of the Week"; "Reduce
regular-season regionalization"; "Shuffle the wild cards";
"Promote as never before"; and, "Get an agreement with the
players union to guarantee the availability of 50 top players to
appear in TV commercials."  Sandomir also writes that TBN VP of
Broadcasting Dave Alworth did not resign yesterday, but "was
forced out by Ken Schanzer," the network's president (N.Y. TIMES,
7/7).  The TAMPA TRIBUNE says TBN "fired" Alworth -- "a
predictable move after baseball and TBN gave back their
engagement rings" (Doug Carlson, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 7/7).
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