Airwaves: Wild week for sports awaits 

Remember the song by the Four Seasons, “Oh, What A Night,” where lead singer Frankie Valli was at his best? The song was prominently showcased in the Broadway play “The Jersey Boys.” Well, the same title can be applied to what is happening this week in the world of sports and the world of sports TV. The easiest way is to explain this is in chronological order.

Last night, the Final Four got down to the final two. CBS did its usual bang-up job, but today is where the fun really begins!

For starters, the hated Boston Red Sox take on my beloved N.Y. Yankees at Fenway Park at 5 p.m. on ESPN2. This should be a playoff atmosphere with a lot of Red Sox fans half in the bag.

Monday is a huge day. First, at 11 a.m. is the event every gossip hound in the country has been waiting for, the Tiger Woods news conference. This is slated to be a “real” news conference, not the “speed news conference” of a few weeks ago. Every channel will cover each minute of it or at least part of it.

The Giants start their season on ESPN2 today at 4 p.m. in Houston. Obviously, it will also be on Lee Hammer’s KNBR (680 AM). The A’s host the Mariners at 7 p.m., but no one will listen or watch. Tipoff for the finals in the NCAA men’s national championship is at 6:21 p.m. on CBS. Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg will call the action. This will be CBS at its finest. I can’t imagine living in the Eastern time zone where the game will begin at 9:21 p.m. UGH!

On Tuesday, the women will play their national title game from San Antonio. Once again, the “Monster from Bristol” will bring the telecast to our homes. This game begins at 5:30 p.m.

The real fun starts on Thursday when the Masters coverage begins at 1 p.m. on ESPN. We will all take a peak and see how Tiger is doing and what the ESPN crews are saying about him. Friday, the coverage also begins at 1 p.m.. Hopefully, the former Stanford star is playing well and he is on display for the Saturday rounds which will be televised by CBS. I can’t wait to hear Nick Faldo’s take on the whole Tiger situation.

Last comment: I hope Nike uses its new Tiger commercial during the Masters. It will be intriguing to see what angle they take. Like Rusty from the Soprano’s sang, oops I mean Frankie Valli, “Oh, What a Week.”


Expanding the NCAA Tourney would be terrible


Tell me the NCAA can’t be stupid enough to increase the basketball tournament from 65 to 96 teams. Talk about diluting a great product. Dumb, Dumb and Dumber! Bye, Bye NIT. Bye, Bye any interest in conference championships. First-round match up next year, Cal State Bay Area vs. Duke. Thrilling!

  • I am delighted for Northern California native Steve Lavin on his becoming the new basketball coach at St. John’s. Lavin is a good guy and was doing a great job as a hoops analyst for ESPN. St. John’s is a wonderful hoops job.
  • A few months ago, I predicted that HBO’s “Joe Buck Live” would not last. Well, HBO dumped the show after three telecasts. It was awful, and as good a play-by-play man as Buck is, he is equally as bad as a show host. Do what you do! The brass at Fox must agree with me, as this week they announced a new four-year deal with Buck to remain as their lead baseball and NFL play-by-play man. He deserves it and fits very well with his two partners, Tim McCarver in baseball and Troy Aikman in football.
  • HBO has made a terrific move by convincing the New York Jets to be mic’d for sound in this years version of “Hard Knocks.” They will get their money’s worth, because colorful head coach Rex Ryan will be the star. This is an interesting show that really takes you behind the scenes of an NFL team. The show kicks off on Aug. 11. There will be five one-hour episodes. It is the sixth season of this well thought out and edited reality sports program.
  • The Raiders, with or without the guy from Philly, were shut out of national preseason TV released by the NFL this week. They are probably better off. The Niners will play the Minnesota Vikings, with or without Sir Brett, on NBC, on Aug. 22. Yawn, Yawn!

 

Newsmakers


Dick Enberg: “I’m not dying. Don’t put RIP on me yet,” the man who coined the “Oh My” phrase said. Enberg, who has called his last NCAA Tournament for CBS, will become the new voice of the San Diego Padres this year. He will do a reduced NFL package for CBS this fall. This man is a true gentleman who has presented numerous sporting events in all sports to us for decades.

David Hill: “I am a little intrigued with golf, and basketball is making a resurgence,” the boss-man from Fox said. Hill is extremely innovative and very smart. He loves big sporting events like the BCS games and the Super Bowl. Watch him closely in the next few years. I expect him to get in on the bidding for these two sports.

By the Numbers


$8.75 Cost of a 20-ounce beer at AT&T Park, highest in MLB

$8.00 Cost of a 20-ounce beer at Tropicana Field (Tampa Bay), second highest

$7.25 Cost of a 12-ounce beer at Fenway Park, biggest rip off in MLB


ONE TO WATCH

It’s only fitting that the baseball season kicks off tonight with the longtime rival New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox taking center stage from Fenway Park. Vallejo native CC Sabathia will take the hill for the boys from the Bronx. ESPN2 will carry the action at 5 p.m.


On Target

Comcast SportsNet. Happy birthday to its very entertaining panel show. The show features a who’s who in Bay Area sports on a daily basis. It is hard to believe it is already a year old. Congratulations to Ted Griggs and the entire crew. The highlights of this past year are too many to list, but I really enjoyed the Jed York interview as well as the Clint Eastwood segment.

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Doug Graham

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