More tales of The Baseball Network. ABC lost the 1994 World Series; this was supposed to be NBC’s year. Instead, they split the spoils. Who got the better of the deal? Let’s see. The networks each get 6 percent of the advertising revenues; baseball gets 88 percent. Call it a draw.

By Gus Bode

In the wild-card round, ABC will air Games 3, 4 and 5, all potential elimination games. Fans of all sports are into elimination games. Look no further than the NCAA basketball tournament or the NFL playoffs.

The following Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 10-11, ABC will carry the first two games of the LCS, which it can promote on its immensely popular Monday Night Football telecast. Of course, ABC has to pre-empt its blockbuster comedies those nights, but will do so only one other time; for Game 4 of the World Series Oct. 25. ABC also gets Games 1 and 5 of the World Series.

NBC did protect its powerhouse Thursday prime-time lineup, and the odds are that it will televise the pennant-clinching games because it has Games 3-6 in the LCS and 2, 3 and 6 of the Series. But unless NBC gets Game 7 of the World Series, which still is to be determined, I think ABC has the edge.


Two improbable foesJohn Daly and Costantino Roccahelped lift ABC’s final-round British Open ratings 24 percent higher than the Sunday overnights last year.

As Daly and Rocca alternately charged and stumbled into the four-hole playoff, ABC had to rely on the gritty British Broadcasting Corp. feed. The leaden sky and St. Andrews terrain also made it tough to follow the shots, but viewers weren’t cheated. Among the top moments:Jack Nicklaus’ animated commentary on Daly, who plays with abandonto Nicklaus’ dismay. Nicklaus, who raised the term course management to new heights, started scolding as Daly went to No. 16 with a three-shot lead. A flustered Nicklaus repeatedly questioned Daly’s strategy, arguing that if Daly just played par golf on the last three holes, he would win because the challengers would fall back. He shouted at Daly to put the driver away on Nos. 16 and 17 and later criticized him for playing a wedge. The historic vignettes, especially those of Bobby Jones, narrated by Jack Whitaker, subbing for Jim McKay. Closeups of the anguish and disbelief on the faces of Daly and his wife as Rocca sank the 65-foot putt to tie for the lead in regulation after a horrible chip. On Saturday, how about the pictures of Michael Campbell’s shot caroming off the bunker wall to the pin? Reminded me of the time I almost downed a goose.

The Boss is moaning about attendance and money again, so can a renewed threat to move out of the Bronx be far behind? On ESPN Radio Sunday night, George Steinbrenner was asked about acquiring a high-priced starting pitcher to keep pace with the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles. His response:We’ve got the second-highest payroll in baseball. Boston’s is $20 million less than ours. Baltimore’s is significantly less and they’re drawing like crazy. Our attendance is down 200,000. We’re not only not going to show a profit this year, we’re going to lose millions.

On Oct. 1, 1993, when ESPN2 was launched, co-host Keith Olbermann intoned:Good evening and welcome to the end of our careers. Well, the Deuce centerpiece show that was supposed to appeal to Generation XSportsNightis over. Now hosted by Suzy Kolber and Stuart Scott, the five-night-a-week wrap-up and feature show will close Saturday. It will be replaced by sports specific shows in the vein of NHL Tonight.