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It’s Open Season on Steve Garvey, but He Has Been Open

Steve Garvey has always been a favorite of the electronic media. He’s smooth and eloquent, comfortable in front of cameras and microphones, and is always accommodating.

When he heard that Channel 39 in San Diego was breaking a story that two women were claiming he was responsible for their pregnancies and that he had married a third, he did what he thought was the right thing.

Instead of saying, “No comment,” he chose to meet the situation head on. He went down to the station and was interviewed.

And he didn’t duck subsequent interview requests.

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He was with Larry King on CNN last Monday, and he was on Channel 7’s “AM Los Angeles” Tuesday. He also did a separate interview with Channel 7’s Jim Hill.

But he probably won’t be doing any more interviews in the near future, said John Boggs, executive vice president of the Garvey Marketing Group in La Jolla.

“He has nothing more to say,” Boggs said. “This is a very personal matter that has been made public only because Steve is who he is.”

You really can’t blame Garvey for saying enough is enough.

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He had a tough go-around on the Larry King show. Although it wasn’t mentioned on the show, King has dated Garvey’s former wife, Cyndy, which raises the question: Was he an objective interviewer?

Most of the questions were fair, but several were not.

King, to his credit, got right to the point, asking, “What is your overall reaction to the embarrassment of all this?”

Garvey said it was an unfortunate situation, one that he was sorry about and also said it was unfortunate it had become public.

King: “How do you assess damage? How has Steve Garvey been hurt? We know about the jokes and the radio station in San Diego that is putting out bumper stickers that read, ‘I got to first base with Steve Garvey.’ And, ‘Honk if you’re carrying Steve Garvey’s baby.’ . . . Aren’t you embarrassed? How do you feel?”

Garvey: “Of course I am embarrassed, obviously. Unfortunately, you sometimes get lumped with other situations that are happening now with people who were married when they had these problems. Again, I was single at the time. Again, there were miscommunications.”

He did admit to errors in judgment, and talked of how difficult it is for him to end relationships. “I just hate to hurt somebody,” he said.

King later asked Garvey if he thought he should seek counseling to help him in this area.

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“Believe me, this has been a good education,” Garvey said. “I don’t think I’ll have to see someone after this.”

King hit pretty hard when he asked: “What do you say, or have you explained this to your two daughters (from his marriage to Cyndy)?”

Garvey said: “They are the two people I’m most sorry to and feel for the most. I have tried to explain my feelings to them and that their father will do what is right. And again I have to tell them their dad is fallible. Again, over the years people have said you’re the all-American boy, squeaky clean. No, I say I just try hard. . . . I do strike out sometimes.”

King: “Did they understand?”

Garvey: “They’re still relatively young, but as time goes by and they have relationships of their own, I hope they will understand.”

Only once did Garvey decline to comment, when King asked if an upcoming book by Cyndy was a concern.

At the end, King, after establishing that Garvey is Catholic, asked: “So do you feel like a sinner?”

Garvey: “Again, we do make mistakes, and in circumstances like this, obviously there were some mistakes made (according to) the doctrine of the Catholic religion. I expect to take criticism for them, but I expect to learn from them and not make them again.”

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Hitting even harder than King were the callers who were put on the air.

A woman from San Diego asked if while he was engaged to Rebecka Mendenhall, had he told her that another woman had accused him of making her pregnant.

Garvey said he had not.

A woman from Lakewood said: “I’m so upset with his self-righteous attitude. He says in interview after interview, if, if, if they are my children. He was sleeping with Miss Mendenhall. His self-righteousness makes me sick. He always talks about himself in the third person, and I wish he would cut the word again out of his vocabulary.”

Replied Garvey, after the woman hung up: “She must be a Giant fan.”

Then, returning to his serious mode, Garvey explained that, as to admitting he is the father, he has been advised, for legal reasons, not to make a statement one way or the other.

A caller from Treasure Island, Fla., asked if his new wife, Candace Thomas, is pregnant.

“That way, he could have triplets,” the caller said. “And run on a ticket with Ted Kennedy.”

Garvey said his wife, whom he earlier had called “my MVP” and “my pillar of strength,” is not pregnant.

Said King: “This is going to be a rough year; 1989 is not going to be Steve Garvey’s year.”

But at least he has had the courage to go on television and admit his mistakes. He deserves some credit for that.

TV-Radio Notes

Part I of Bud Greenspan’s excellent film on the 1988 Winter Olympics, “Calgary ’88: 16 Days of Glory,” will be shown for the first time next Wednesday at 9 p.m. on the Disney Channel. Part II will be shown in May. One of the four in-depth stories in part I is the Battle of the Brians, in which Brian Boitano beats out Brian Orser for the gold medal in men’s figure skating. Greenspan tells the story in a marvelous fashion, offering footage and comments never before seen. Boitano, in an interview, says that during Orser’s routine, he remained alone, huddled in a bathroom stall. And when teammate Chris Bowman, a practical joker, came to tell him he had won, Boitano was sure he was kidding.

After viewing the film at a screening in Los Angeles last week, Boitano said to Greenspan: “I’m surprised more people haven’t discovered your way of doing things. Everyone is treated equally, whether you’re a figure skater or a ski jumper.” Said Greenspan: “I spend 100% of my time on 90% of what is good.” . . . The Battle of the Brians story is the final one in Part I. The first focuses on Canadian speed skater Gaetan Boucher, who won two gold medals in 1984 but finished ninth at Calgary; the second features cross-country skier Gunde Svan of Sweden, and the third is on ski jumper Matti Nykanen of Finland.

College basketball, of course, dominates the weekend fare, but there’s also prime-time, tape-delayed coverage of women’s singles finals at the World Figure Skating Championships in Paris Saturday night at 8 on CBS. Next weekend CBS will show the pairs finals. . . . The National Hockey League is expected to announce that next season’s All-Star game will be played the weekend before the Super Bowl and that NBC will televise it. This could signal the beginning of a relationship between NBC and the NHL.

Showtime made a terrible decision last weekend when it didn’t show the Evander Holyfield-Michael Dokes fight live in the West. What could very easily end up as the fight of the year was shown on a three-hour delay here. Bad, bad, bad. . . . Channel 2 made a good decision when it picked up tonight’s UCLA-Iowa State game. The station will show it live at 6:30. ESPN won’t show the game until 12:30 a.m.

Versatile Joel Meyers has signed a new two-year contract with KMPC. The new deal will give Meyers freedom to do even more outside work than he does now. An excellent all-around play-by-play announcer who also works for Mutual Radio, Z Channel and others, Meyers is in high demand. . . . Meyers and partner Joe Torre will tune up their baseball announcing cords this weekend when Z Channel televises two Angel exhibitions at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday from Palm Springs. . . . Z Channel offers a good hockey game Saturday at 4:30 p.m., Montreal at Pittsburgh.

Prime Ticket and the Pacific 10 have entered into a six-year agreement whereby Prime Ticket each year will carry 47 events, including 12 football games. . . . Part of a new six-year deal ESPN has made with the Big Ten calls for weekly football telecasts at 9:30 a.m. on Saturdays during the season. . . . Al Davis will be interviewed by Pete Axthelm on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” program Sunday night at 8. . . . The USA network will once more show the Hector (Macho) Camacho-Ray (Boom Boom) Mancini fight Saturday at 1 p.m. . . . ESPN’s Al Bernstein has been named best boxing commentator by the Boxing Writers’ Assn. of America. . . . Coverage of this year’s Iditarod sled dog race will be on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” a week from Saturday.


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