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REFLECTIONS ON THE NATIONAL PASTIME
Published July 7, 1995
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).