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BASEBALL NETWORK KICKS OFF REGIONAL PLAYOFF COVERAGE
Published October 4, 1995
The Baseball Network premiered their regional coverage of the divisional playoffs last night. Scores were kept updated, however replays were shown only of the big plays in each game. During a critical point of the Indians/Red Sox telecast, TBN split screens to record the final out in Yankee Stadium. Afterward Bob Costas apologized to viewers for the untimely cut. Costas was more subdued in his criticism of baseball's new playoff format, but did say at one time, "it doesn't make any sense" (THE DAILY). In Boston, Jack Craig writes TBN's "claim that it would break new ground on delivering out-of-town action proved overblown ... but that was neither surprising or disappointing." He does note that "TBN's capacity to swing from game to game is a nice advantage" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/4). In San Francisco, NBC affiliate KRON decided to go with local news coverage of the O.J. Simpson verdict rather than show the Dodgers-Reds in its entirety. KRON GM Al Holzer believes "virtually every station up and down the West Coast went with O.J., not baseball" (C.W. Nevius, S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/4). SCRAMBLED OR NOT? Patrons in two Boston bars contacted by the BOSTON HERALD noted they shoed the entire Braves game, even though TBN officials said the signal would be scrambled. But NBC Spokesperson Ed Markey said the Atlanta affiliate sold its signal to a distributor that can unscramble it for dish owners via a DirectTV package." NBC News reportedly considered replacing last night's telecast with a special on O.J. Simpson, but were "advised only a Presidential assassination could knock off a contract event" (Jim Baker, BOSTON HERALD, 10/4). The S.F. CHRONICLE also reports confusion as to the descrambling policy. While several Bay Area bars were unable to pull down satellite signals for games other than Dodgers-Reds, some bars had clear signals (Bruce Jenkins, S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/4). BASEBALL NIGHT IN CANADA: In Toronto, GLOBE & MAIL sports editor David Langford calls the regionalized format "a mess." Langford notes viewer anger over CBC's decision on which provinces will see what game. But the "major problem" on the horizon for CBC is that the network will not carry a MLB playoff Game 4 on Saturday night, showing Hockey Night in Canada instead (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/4). In Toronto, technical problems interrupted the Yankees/Mariners game on CBC-TV. Some Canadian cable companies dropped the simulcast with NBC and put U.S. signals back in their normal position. CBC TV Sports Senior Exec Producer Don Peppin: "This is a Baseball Network production and we have to go through them. And everything they have done has been last minute" (Ken McKee, TORONTO STAR, 10/4).