With Scully and Torborg, Less Is More

One good thing about the World Series will be the announcing team--the CBS radio duo of Vin Scully and Jeff Torborg, that is.

They are tremendous.

This will be only their third World Series together as broadcasters, but they are longtime friends.

Said Torborg, a former Dodger catcher: “I was due to come up to the big club in 1964, but before spring training my wife Susie and I went to Hawaii on our honeymoon and we just happened to be staying at the same hotel Vin and his wife were staying.


“I introduced myself and told him I grew up in New Jersey listening to him and how much I admired him. We ended up spending a lot of time together and have been friends ever since.”

Said Scully: “I remember it well. The Royal Hawaiian in Honolulu. Jeff is a class act.”

Said Torborg: “Vin is not only a brilliant broadcaster, he’s also a wonderful person.”

No Los Angeles station has the Series--KNX dropped baseball last year--but at least San Diego’s XTRA 690 will have it.

Since ESPN radio takes over from CBS radio after this season, this could be Scully’s last World Series on

the national radio package. It has been rumored that Jon Miller will be the lead announcer for ESPN radio.

But John A. Walsh, ESPN’s executive editor, called Scully this week to say that no decision regarding announcers has been made and that Scully certainly would be considered.

“That was a very nice thing he did,” Scully said. “I was touched.”

The Dodgers will be getting a new owner, Rupert Murdoch, if the transaction is approved, but Scully isn’t going anywhere.

Scully, having completed his 47th season with the Dodgers, is under contract to continue announcing games on radio and television, and says he’ll honor it.

“If I retired, I’d be bored,” Scully said. “I love golf, but not every day.

“My health is good, I feel good, I don’t think I’m slipping. I feel like I can go on forever. There’s nothing that would make me even think about retiring.”


The NBC TV crew, headed by producer David Neal, a graduate of Taft High in Woodland Hills and USC, has done a lot of good things and not all the innovations are bad, but more does not always mean better.

More announcers, more chatter, more cameras, more graphics, more replays, more sound effects, more close-ups, more crowd shots, more promos and more commercials all make one yearn for the simpler days of Scully and Joe Garagiola and director Harry Coyle.

Said Garagiola: “I just don’t see any reason for all those close-ups, and those gadgets don’t really tell the viewers anything. They’re making the game more complicated than it is.

“I remember what Curt Gowdy used to say in production meetings when someone would talk about what story lines to follow. He’d say, ‘Why don’t we follow the ball?’ ”

Not bad advice. . . .

And now MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann has been added to the pregame shows. . . .

Bob Costas, Joe Morgan and Bob Uecker talk a lot without saying a whole lot, which makes them come across as bland. They also come across as apologists for the umpires.

During a conference call with reporters Thursday morning, they were talking about different strike zones for different umpires when Morgan interjected, “There is a strike zone, according to the rules.” Exactly. It’s something umpires seem to have forgotten and it’s a point that should have been made on the air. . . .

Although most of the postseason games have been good ones, NBC can’t be too pleased about a matchup of Cleveland and Florida.

World Series ratings have been on a gradual decline since the Dodgers and New York Yankees averaged an all-time high of 32.8 in 1978, and this year’s Series probably won’t help that trend. . . .

One bright spot for NBC has been bulldog reporter Jim Gray, who pops up everywhere, always asking the right questions. He even hung in tough after the Florida Marlins’ clinching, conducting interviews while being drenched with champagne.


Classic Sports Network has chosen the seven greatest World Series games of all time and will show them in a series called “Ultimate World Series” beginning today at 4 p.m. with Game 1 of the ’88 Series. Game 2 of the 1973 Series follows at 6 p.m. Then Game 3 of 1975, Game 4 of 1978 and Game 5 of 1972 will be shown Monday, beginning at 3 p.m. Game 6 of 1975 and Game 7 of 1991 will be shown a week from today at 4 and 6:30 p.m. Gary Carter and Garagiola host the series. . . . One of the better shows on Classic Sports Network is “Greatest Sports Legends,” a series that lasted 20 years, 1973-92, and profiled 206 of the biggest names in sports. It’s a perfect fit for Classic Sports Network and deserving of better time slots. Don Drysdale is profiled today at 7 a.m. . . . Fox Sports News examines the role of religion in sports in a two-part special report tonight and Monday.

Last weekend’s UCLA game at Oregon on FX got only a 1.8 rating, meaning the game was watched in only 1.8% of the 1.7 million Southland homes that get FX. At least Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. game against Oregon State is on Channel 9. . . . The USC-Notre Dame game Saturday at 12:30 p.m. will be on Channel 4, if anyone cares. . . . Fox Sports West 2 has the Clippers and Lakers tonight at 5:30 from St. Louis because Fox Sports West has the Kings. However, the Kings’ home game against Edmonton on Sunday at 5 p.m. will be on West 2. It’s the first of five King games that will be on West 2. “These games would otherwise not be televised,” said Kitty Cohen, Fox Sports West general manager. . . . Tom Ramsey will continue announcing college games for Fox Sports Net, the parent network of Fox Sports West and West 2, even though he is leaving Fox Sports West as an advertising sales account executive. Ramsey has accepted a job as head of corporate sales for the Denver Broncos. . . . Major League Soccer signed a six-year deal with ABC and ESPN that will pay at least $5 million next year.


For no L.A. radio station to be carrying postseason games is an embarrassment for baseball. Also, the coverage by San Diego’s XTRA has been spotty. XTRA did not carry the American League championship series, so people driving home were out of luck. And baseball wonders why its popularity is declining.


What Los Angeles Is Watching

A sampling of L.A. Nielsen ratings for sports programs Oct. 11-13.



Event Ch. Rating Share Baseball: AL, Baltimore at Cleveland 11 8.1 21 Baseball: NL, Atlanta at Florida 4 4.9 10 College Football: USC at Arizona State 7 5.6 16 College Football: Notre Dame at Pittsburgh 2 1.6 5 Golf: Michelob Championship 2 1.6 5




Event Ch. Rating Share Pro Football: St. Louis at San Francisco 11 11.5 27 Baseball: AL, Baltimore at Cleveland 11 10.8 22 Pro Football: Green Bay at Chicago 4 9.5 27 Baseball: NL, Atlanta at Florida 4 9.0 20 Pro Football: Miami at New York Jets 4 8.4 24 Golf: Michelob Championship 2 2.1 5 Soccer: MLS playoffs, Columbus-D.C. United 34 1.6 4




Event Ch. Rating Share Pro Football: Dallas at Washington 7 17.8 27 Baseball: AL, Baltimore at Cleveland 11 11.1 18


Note: Each rating point represents 50,092 L.A. households.