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Bid for 300th Win by Sutton Fits Right Into NBC’s Plans

Viewers get a break: All along, NBC had planned to televise Saturday’s Angels-Kansas City Royals game at Anaheim Stadium as the second half of a doubleheader. It’s just a nice coincidence that Don Sutton will be going after win No. 300 in that game.

Another nice touch is that Vin Scully, who witnessed most of the 230 games Sutton won as a Dodger, will work the telecast, which in Los Angeles follows a New York Yankees-Baltimore Orioles game.

If Sutton doesn’t get No. 300 Saturday, L.A. viewers probably will still get to see him reach the milestone. Sutton’s next turn is scheduled for a week from today at Kansas City in a game to be televised by Channel 5.

After that, Sutton figures to pitch Wednesday, June 25, at Texas. That game is the only one of the six-game trip to Kansas City and Texas not scheduled for television, but Channel 5 probably would add it to the schedule if Sutton is still going for No. 300.

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Nicklaus’ big weekend: Jack Nicklaus, one way or another, will be heard from during ABC’s coverage of the U.S. Open.

If Nicklaus isn’t the story, he will be reporting the story.

In April, Nicklaus signed a five-year contract with ABC to work the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA tournaments as a special commentator.

Nicklaus was scheduled to appear on ABC’s 15-minute highlights show Thursday night and is scheduled to be a part of tonight’s half-hour show, beginning at 11:30.

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How much ABC will use Nicklaus during the final two rounds this weekend will depend on how he’s playing. Obviously, he won’t be available if he’s in contention. “We’re going to play it by ear,” producer Chuck Howard said.

ABC’s 18-hole coverage will begin at 11 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday, and continue until 3:30. ESPN, using ABC’s equipment and announcers, will cover today’s second round in two parts, at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. In between, at 11, there will be a World Cup soccer game.

Add Open: Included in the ABC crew working the tournament will be Judy Rankin, one of three roving reporters. She had the same job at last year’s Open.

Rankin, the LPGA’s leading money winner in 1976 and ’77, was first hired by ABC to work the 1984 women’s Open, then was brought in to work the ’85 men’s Open as a last-minute substitute.

Fuzzy Zoeller, sidelined by a bad back, was hired by ABC to work the tournament, but his back improved and he decided to compete instead. So, Rankin got the call.

Her own back problems--a bad disk progressively getting worse--led to her availability leading up to the ’84 women’s Open. She wasn’t competing at the time, nor has she since.

She had surgery last July, however, and says she will be ready to rejoin the tour later this year or early next year. “I’m feeling so much healthier since the surgery,” she said from Southampton, N.Y.

Rankin, 41, said she was advised against the surgery for years because, she was told, it would be too much of an ordeal for what it would accomplish. “Then I found a doctor in Tucson who would do it,” she said. “I was in the hospital for only four days, and eight days later I flew home to Midland (Tex.) by myself.

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“I’m so glad I had it done.”

Now, before returning to the game, she is staying close as a part-time broadcaster. “At least I don’t have to worry about making the cut,” she said.

Fight night: HBO’s coverage of tonight’s World Boxing Council lightweight title bout between Hector (Macho) Camacho and Edwin Rosario in New York will begin at 7 p.m.

Among the features of the prefight coverage will be a story on previous lightweight title bouts in New York. There have been 29 in the last 50 years.

Because HBO does not have commercials, it is able to cover the corners between rounds, which, for this fight, presents a problem. Rosario doesn’t speak English. To help remedy that, HBO will have a translator in his corner.

Recommended viewing: The humorous side of sports will be the topic of NBC’s “SportsWorld” on Channel 4 Sunday at 3:30 p.m., and on other West Coast affiliates at 1 p.m. Bob Costas is the host.

As part of the show, sportscaster-comedian Roy Firestone will do his Howard Cosell and Keith Jackson imitations and also will play a role as the fictitious Biff Burns, a cliche-prone announcer on the Toledo Mud Hens’ network.

Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First?” routine will be included in the show, Ahmad Rashad will take a look at sports “flakes,” and Bud Collins will do a piece on memorable quotes. Lyle Alzado and Tom Lasorda are among the guests.

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New Breeders’ Cup pact: NBC originally signed a contract to televise the Breeders’ Cup in 1984, ’85 and ’86, with an option to pick up the event in ’87 and ’88. The rights fee reportedly was $1 million a year.

NBC this week announced a new contract, which locks up coverage through 1989 but at a reduced rate. The first two Breeders’ Cups drew only so-so ratings.

This year’s Breeders’ Cup races will be run Nov. 1 at Santa Anita.

Attention Howard Cosell: Oscar Robertson, ABC radio commentator on the NBA championship series, let this one slip after the Boston Celtics’ series-clinching victory Sunday: “Kevin McHale made Ralph Sampson look like a monkey.”

ABC baseball commentator Jim Palmer told Inside Sports that while riding with Cosell to the stadium for his first-ever broadcasting assignment in 1978, Cosell asked him if he was nervous, and he said he was. “Howard said: ‘Jim, just remember one thing. Everyone who ever worked with me became a star.’ ”

Say what Dept.: Maybe sports isn’t KABC radio newscaster Bill Jenkins’ bag. He described the Dodgers’ 1-0 victory over Cincinnati last Tuesday night this way: “The Dodgers won when Duncan hit the ball.” Actually, the Dodgers won when Mariano Duncan scored from second on a controversial call.

Notes The six-game NBA championship series between Boston and Houston drew an average national Nielsen rating of 14.1, the highest ever. Last year’s Laker-Celtic finals drew a 13.5. The previous high was a 13.7 for Boston-Milwaukee in 1974. . . . Game 6 last Sunday drew a 14.2 national rating, while Game 5 on June 5 drew a 16.9, the third-highest ever for an NBA telecast. . . . ABC reportedly is interested in using Rod Carew as a baseball commentator. . . . Contracts: Vin Scully has signed with NBC through 1989, and Bob Costas has signed through the 1988 Summer Olympics. . . . KMPC’s versatile Joel Meyers has been signed as a full-time pro football announcer by the Mutual Broadcasting System. His commentator will be former Ram Jack Snow. Mutual’s other team is Tony Roberts and Jack Ham.

Prime Ticket will break away from its all-sports format and televise four Forum concerts on a tape-delayed basis on Saturday nights this summer. The first will be a June 26 Surf City USA concert, featuring Jan and Dean, the Ventures and other groups, which Prime Ticket will televise July 5. Others include a July 17 Great Britain concert, featuring Donovan, which Prime Ticket will televise on July 26; an Aug. 9 Jazz Spectacular to be televised Aug. 16, and a Sept. 12 Johnny Cash concert to be televised Sept. 20. . . . Also, Prime Ticket will televise Team Cup Volleyball from the Forum this summer. The season will run two weeks, July 22 through Aug. 6, and the teams are made up of four men and two women. . . . KFOX-fm’s “Sports Forum,” with hosts Fred Wallin and Bill MacDonald, is now being broadcast at 7 p.m. on Sundays instead of 4 p.m. The weekday shows remain at 7 a.m.


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