Fans analyze Thomas’ debut

This weekend’s top-recommended TV viewing options, because there’s a very good chance this will be the last we see of the Angels for a while. . . .

Angels vs. Red Sox (Game 2 today, 5:30 p.m., TBS; Game 3 Sunday, noon, TBS): The Angels managed only four singles against Red Sox starter Josh Beckett, Angels starter John Lackey was rocked for nine hits and four runs in six innings, but no one wearing a baseball uniform Wednesday got the kind of reviews Frank Thomas received after his see-no-evil say-not-much-of-anything debut as a playoff studio (ahem) “analyst.” A few e-mailed comments from viewers:

From Oliver Tucker: “Just a suggestion: The Big Hurt = The Big Queasy.”

From Stan Aronowitz: “Frank Thomas can now replace Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax as the all-time worst baseball ‘analyst.’ ”


From Owen in SLO: “I was in a bar and the game was MUTED and I could tell that Thomas was uncomfortable and probably didn’t have anything interesting to say.”

From Joel Schechter: “It isn’t so much Frank Thomas that is difficult for me to watch in the TBS studio, but when the hell did Cal Ripken turn into Uncle Fester?!?”

Another viewer, John Karadell, wrote, “I’m a Red Sox fanatic and I was disappointed in TBS’ coverage. You covered just about everything but you forgot about them twice coming back late from commercials, one time missing a ground out to third. (What if they would’ve missed a HR?!!!) And how about the muffled crowd noise? It sounded like the game was being played at the public library. I never thought I’d say this but I actually was longing for Fox.”

Thursday was a quiet day for the Angels and the Red Sox, an off-day before Game 2. It was so quiet you could almost hear Frank Thomas say something.


The other three divisional-round playoff series, brought to us by TBS, whether we like it or not. . . .

New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians (Game 2 today, 2 p.m.; Game 3 Sunday, 3:30 p.m.): TBS’ response to the in-studio crisis is to enlist Detroit Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson as “guest analyst” today. Sneak preview: Ernie Johnson: “What is your favorite color, Frank? Um, Frank? You there, Frank? Over to you, Curtis.”

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Chicago Cubs (Game 3 Saturday, 3 p.m.; Game 4 Sunday, 10 a.m., if necessary): I received e-mails from several viewers complaining that Wednesday’s games were not televised in high definition, despite TBS advertising all games would be available in HD. Misty Skedgell, a TBS spokesperson, told me Thursday that the network made “HD available to all affiliates. It’s up to the cable operators to decide whether or not they carry it.”

Some cable operators lack the bandwidth for HD telecasts. Others might simply decline the HD option for these games. According to Skedgell, DirecTV and Time Warner are carrying the HD telecasts in the Los Angeles area, Dish Network and Charter are not.


Philadelphia Phillies vs. Colorado Rockies (Game 3 Saturday, 6:30 p.m.; Game 4 Sunday, 7 p.m., if necessary): This week, a colleague e-mailed me to muse, “It might be interesting to see who gets bigger ratings in Denver, the Rockies or the Broncos, this weekend.” The way this series is going, the Rockies will be done and waiting for the NLCS long before the Broncos next play.

College football game of the week . . .

Florida at Louisiana State (Saturday, 5 p.m., Channel 2): Auburn knocked a lot of the luster out of this one but not all of it. Pre-Upset Saturday, this would have been a matchup of No. 2 LSU and No. 4 Florida. Then Auburn over Florida happened, and Colorado over No. 3 Oklahoma happened, and Washington-Scares-the-Daylights-Out-of-No. 1 USC happened. Post-reshuffling, this marquee now reads “No. 9 Florida at No. 1 LSU.” The Gators cannot afford another defeat, so we will see how fast they can drive downfield with Trojan Nation weighing down the Florida bandwagon.

College football routs of the week . . .


USC over Stanford

(Saturday, 4 p.m, Versus)

The Trojans have seen the Washington game film. We have read Pete Carroll’s quotes about Stanford Coach Jim Harbaugh’s quotes about Carroll. The Trojans are favored by 40 1/2 points. That seems a little light.

UCLA over Notre Dame


(Saturday, 5 p.m., Channel 7)

How did ABC get stuck with this dog?

Just kidding, Bruins fans. A break in the schedule is a break in the schedule is a break in the schedule, and the Bruins can use a soft Saturday before venturing down the rest of the Pac-10 gauntlet. UCLA is favored by 20 1/2 points, yet the over/under is 48. You mean somebody out there expects Notre Dame to score?

Are we not fans? We have TiVo . . .


Oklahoma at Texas (Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7) and Georgia at Tennessee (Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2), and Iowa at Penn State (Saturday, 12:30 p.m, ESPN2): Three games, one TV screen, time to bring on the tape machine. Oklahoma-Texas was dinged by Upset Saturday, but the dual desperation to remain in the BCS mix should amp up the intensity to hear-the-hits-from-here territory.

NFL game to watch . . .

San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (Sunday, 1:15 p.m., Channel 2): Whatever happened to the Chargers? CBS airs an in-depth investigative report.

Pucks . . .


Ducks at Columbus Blue Jackets (Today, Prime, 4 p.m) and Ducks at Pittsburgh Penguins (Saturday, Prime, 4:30 p.m.) and St. Louis Blues at Kings (Saturday, FSNW, 7:30 p.m.): The Ducks and Kings are holding a “Name the Rivalry” contest, with the winner to be announced on Prime on Nov. 13. One early contender: “Watch Us in November Because One of Us Never Plays In May.”

Punt . . .

Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday, 10 a.m., Channel 2): This is what happens to us when the Raiders have an open date in the schedule.