SBD/2/Sports Media


     Officials at MLB "are preparing to descramble the pictures
for all four divisional series," according to Jack Craig in
Sunday's BOSTON GLOBE.  Craig adds, "It is hush-hush, though,
because to publicize the smart PR gesture would be an admission
of a mistake owners made in organizing The Baseball Network."
Because of MLB's "hesitancy," there is no guarantee Tuesday's
games will be available.  "It will be there when it gets there, a
baseball official said in describing the descrambling" (BOSTON
GLOBE, 10/1).  However, the BOSTON HERALD's Jim Baker notes
network officials deny the report.  NBC spokesperson Ed Markey:
"I checked and the signal will be scrambled" (BOSTON HERALD,
     TBN NOTES:  Phil Mushnick accuses NBC Sports President Dick
Ebersol of a "flip-flop" in saying the playoff plan was devised
by MLB, not the networks (N.Y. POST, 10/2).  USA TODAY reports ad
time for the World Series and the playoffs is not sold out, with
about 20-25% of slots available.  While TBN is selling the
playoffs at $160,000 per 30-second spot and the World Series for
$260,000, media buyers say they are actually getting closer to
$90-100,000 and $160-200,000 respectively (Dottie Enrico, USA
TODAY, 10/2).
     MORE MEDIA BASHING:  In Toronto, Rob Longley notes that many
will get their first exposure to TBN this week -- "not that The
Baseball Network is going to make it easy for viewers to all of a
sudden like it" (TORONTO SUN, 10/2).  In San Francisco, Gwen
Knapp writes, "In October, baseball as entertainment becomes
virtually idiot-proof, tough to foul up.  But that hasn't stopped
The Baseball Network from trying" (S.F. EXAMINER, 10/1).  In
Miami, Barry Jackson notes the potential of games ending after
11pm switching to local news before their conclusion.  Jackson:
"Pretty pathetic" (MIAMI HERALD, 10/1).  In St. Louis, Dan Caesar
writes, "The ugly monster known as The Baseball Network is about
to be slain.  But it will go down with a furious, fire-breathing
last hurrah" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/30).
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